Music, Art and Culture:A Roundup of All the Exciting Festivals Taking Place Across India This Summer

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Photo of Music, Art and Culture:A Roundup of All the Exciting Festivals Taking Place Across India This Summer by thewanderjoy

Summer is just around the corner, and many of you may have already started planning your next trip. Usually, summer means that we head to the cooler climes of the hills, undertake a treks, or visit the beach destinations for a relaxing holiday. However, besides these obvious options, there are many ways to add value to your travel experience. You can witness the beauty of the local culture and traditions of India, by attending various cultural festivals across the country that will give you a sneak peek into the lives, customs and traditions of the local people.

The below mentioned list is segregated by month and region, for ease of information access and help in planning

Month: May

Region: North

Saga Dawa

Photo of Music, Art and Culture:A Roundup of All the Exciting Festivals Taking Place Across India This Summer 1/27 by thewanderjoy
(C) rove.me

What: This is a Tibetan religious festival, which is celebrated to mark the birth, death, and enlightenment of Lord Buddha

When: May 26, 2021.

Where: Across Ladakh in the various monasteries

Reasons to Attend: This is a colorful festival, which takes place in many monasteries in this region. If you’re present in Ladakh during this time, make sure to visit any of the monasteries, Shey, Thiksey, Hemis or the others and participate in the festivities of the day.

Dhungri Mela

Photo of Music, Art and Culture:A Roundup of All the Exciting Festivals Taking Place Across India This Summer 2/27 by thewanderjoy
(C): thelivemirror.com

What: A three-day long celebration on the occasion of the birthday of Goddess Hadimba

When: May 14 – 16, 2021

Where: Manali

Reasons to Attend: To savour the local culture and tradition of Manali. The highlight of the cultural performances being the Kullu Natti dance performance. The fair during the three days draws local people and worshippers from across the state. Shopping stalls, carnival rides, singing, dancing are all reasons to attend the Dhungri Mela.

Electric Mahadev Festival

Photo of Music, Art and Culture:A Roundup of All the Exciting Festivals Taking Place Across India This Summer 3/27 by thewanderjoy
(C): Electric Mahadev Festival Facebook page

What: A three day celebration of psychedelic music, art and events

When: May 14 – 16, 2021

Where: Manali

Reasons to Attend: If you are a fan of psychedelic and trance music and art, this one is for you. Flea markets come up selling ethnic souvenirs. Yoga and meditation workshops are also included in this festival. Quite like the Tomorrowland of India, the energy and vibe of the festival is something that should be explored.

Region: South

Yercaud Summer Festival

Photo of Music, Art and Culture:A Roundup of All the Exciting Festivals Taking Place Across India This Summer 4/27 by thewanderjoy
(C) : insightsindia.com

What: Week long festival conducted to promote tourism in Yercaud.

When: Second week of May. (Exact dates to be announced soon)

Where: Yercaud, Salem district, Tamilnadu

Reasons to Attend: To experience the beauty of this hill station and participate in boat races, flower shows, various cultural programs, dog shows etc.

Ooty Summer Festival

Photo of Music, Art and Culture:A Roundup of All the Exciting Festivals Taking Place Across India This Summer 5/27 by thewanderjoy
(C) : thelivemirror.com

What: Five daylong festival conducted to promote tourism in Ooty

When: Second week of May. (Exact dates to be announced soon)

Where: Ooty, Tamilnadu

Reasons to Attend: One of the most beautiful and popular hill stations of India, Ooty needs no introduction. The Ooty Summer Festival includes Flower Shoes, Vegetables and Fruits shows, showcasing the botanical extravaganza of this popular hill station

Region: East

Moatsu Festival

Photo of Music, Art and Culture:A Roundup of All the Exciting Festivals Taking Place Across India This Summer 6/27 by thewanderjoy
(C): swantour.com

What: Harvest festival, exclusively celebrated by the Ao tribe of Nagaland

When: First week of May (Exact dates not yet finalised)

Where: Mokokchung District of Nagaland

Reasons to Attend: This festival marks the end of planting season for the Ao tribe in Nagaland. The people celebrate it with merry making and sharing things. Dance and music performances are held to mark the occasion. The main event, Sangpagtu is one in which the locals deck up in all their finery and sing and dance around a bonfire.

Rabindranath Tagore Jayanti or Rabindra Jayanti

Photo of Music, Art and Culture:A Roundup of All the Exciting Festivals Taking Place Across India This Summer 7/27 by thewanderjoy
(C): pinterest.com

What: A cultural showcase of the life and works of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore on the occasion of his birth anniversary.

Where: Shantiniketan, West Bengal

When: 9th May, 2021

Reasons to Attend: If you’ve always wanted to visit the birthplace of India’s first Nobel Laureate and Kobiguru Rabindranath Tagore, then this is possibly the best time. The campus of the Vishwabharati University comes alive with a plethora of cultural and entertainment events, including music, dance, drama, and poetry on the life and works of the poet. And this is an opportune time to visit the weekend tribal haat at Shonajhuri close to Shantiniketan to get a peek into the tribal life and customs of the indigenous people.

Saga Dawa

Photo of Music, Art and Culture:A Roundup of All the Exciting Festivals Taking Place Across India This Summer 8/27 by thewanderjoy
(C) : travelwhistle.com

What: This is a Tibetan religious festival, which is celebrated to mark the birth, death, and enlightenment of Lord Buddha

When: May 26, 2021.

Where: Gangtok, and rest of Sikkim

Reasons to Attend: This is a colorful festival, which takes place in many monasteries in this region. Apart from the iconic masked monk dance of Rumtek Monastery, this festival is famous for the grand monk procession. During this procession, a large group of monks walk from Tsuklakhang Palace Monastery through the streets of the town carrying holy books of their religion. During this procession, you can also witness musical performances.

International Flower Festival

Photo of Music, Art and Culture:A Roundup of All the Exciting Festivals Taking Place Across India This Summer 9/27 by thewanderjoy
(C): giftalove.com

What: A flower show and festival organised to create awareness about the rich natural heritage of Sikkim.

Where: Governor’s Residence of Gangtok

When: Normally held from May 1 – 31. Dates for 2021 not yet announced.

Reasons to Attend: A fabulous display of the floral and botanical beauty of the regions. On display are special species of gladioli, roses, orchids, alpine plant, trees, creepers, climbers and ferns. Many delicacies made from these plants are also for sale like jams and jellies

Region: West

Mount Abu Summer Festival

Photo of Music, Art and Culture:A Roundup of All the Exciting Festivals Taking Place Across India This Summer 10/27 by thewanderjoy
(C): travelogyindia.com

What: An event showcasing Mount Abu as a tourist destination

When: May 14 - 16, 2021

Where: Mount Abu, Rajasthan

Reasons to Attend: The only hill station in Rajasthan, this summer festival marks the end of the tourism season. Ballad singing and folk-dance performances are held. Also other events like a boat race on Nakki lake, a music show etc. are also organised.

Month: June

Region: North

Yuru Kabgyat

Photo of Music, Art and Culture:A Roundup of All the Exciting Festivals Taking Place Across India This Summer 11/27 by thewanderjoy
(C): tourmyindia.com

What: The annual festival of Lamayuru monastery in Ladakh

When: June 7 – 8, 2021

Where: Lamayuru Monastery, Ladakh

Reasons to Attend: The main attractions of the two day festival are the masked monk dance, rituals, musical performances, and others. This Buddhist festival is celebrated as a tribute to Padmasambhava and Yama. A dance drama is conducted to explain mythological stories to the public.

Sindhu Darshan Festival

Photo of Music, Art and Culture:A Roundup of All the Exciting Festivals Taking Place Across India This Summer 12/27 by thewanderjoy
(C): zenithholidays.com

What: Three day festival celebrated on the banks of the Sindhu (Indus) river in Ladakh

When: June 12 -14, 2021

Where: Sindhu Ghat, Leh, Ladakh

Reasons to Attend: The natives believe that the Sindhu river is the main reason for harmony among different people in the region. This is a three-day festival during which, you can find many folk cultural performances, Buddhist rituals, and others. During this festival, the soldiers of the land are honored and prayed for.

Hemis Gompa Festival

Photo of Music, Art and Culture:A Roundup of All the Exciting Festivals Taking Place Across India This Summer 13/27 by thewanderjoy
(C): travel360benelux.com

What: This festival marks the birth of Guru Padmasambhava, the Boddhisatva.

When: June 20-21, 2021

Where: Hemis Monastery of Ladakh

Reasons to Attend: Also called the Hemis Tsechu, this is one of the famous festivals of Ladakh. The monk dance of the monastery is the emblematic celebration of this festival. Apart from this, the festival is celebrated with other dance forms, processions, rituals and displays of heritage items of the monastery to the public.

Shimla Summer Festival

Photo of Music, Art and Culture:A Roundup of All the Exciting Festivals Taking Place Across India This Summer 14/27 by thewanderjoy
(C): apherald.com

What: Festival to celebrate the beauty of Shimla and to honor nature.

When: June 2 – 7, 2021 (Most likely)

Where: Shimla, Himachal Pradesh

Reasons to Attend: This festival usually lasts for five days. You can find numerous cultural performances and attractions like dog shows, folk performances, musical events, handicraft exhibitions, food festivals, adventure activities, flower shows and much more. This festival is also the harvest festival of the region. It is celebrated at The Ridge of Shimla where you can find numerous stalls and exhibition houses.

Ganga Dussehra

Photo of Music, Art and Culture:A Roundup of All the Exciting Festivals Taking Place Across India This Summer 15/27 by thewanderjoy
(C): allevents.in

What: A festival dedicated to River Ganges.

When: June 20, 2021

Where: Varanasi, Haridwar, Prayagraj, Rishikesh, and Garhmukteshwar

Reasons to Attend: This day marks the event when Goddess Ganges descended to earth to flourish it. Taking bath in River Ganges is considered very sacred during this festival. This is also a good opportunity to witness the pomp and grandeur of the Ganga aartis, and witness life along the most sacred river in India.

Region: South

Champakulam Boat Race

Photo of Music, Art and Culture:A Roundup of All the Exciting Festivals Taking Place Across India This Summer 16/27 by thewanderjoy
(C) keralapicnicspot.com

What: This is the first boat race of the season in Kerala’s backwaters

When: June 26, 2021

Location: Champakulam, Alappuzha District, Kerala

Reasons to Attend: As the name indicates, it takes place on Champakulam’s Pamba River. The main attraction of this race is the starting ceremony, a procession in which water floats, parasol boats, and others will be left to sail with performance artists dancing, singing, and performing other activities on the boats. After the procession, the first boat race begins in Kerala.

Kottiyoor Utsavam

Photo of Music, Art and Culture:A Roundup of All the Exciting Festivals Taking Place Across India This Summer 17/27 by thewanderjoy
(C): tripsavvy.com

What: A 28 day long temple festival celebrated in Ikkare Kottiyoor and Akkare Kottiyoor temples.

When: May 25 – June 20, 2021

Where: Kottiyoor Temple, Kerala

Reasons to Attend: This is a 28-days long temple festival, which are located on either side of the banks of Bavali River. The Akkare temple is open only during this festival. This festival is celebrated with numerous rituals, celebrations, and events. Fairs are conducted during the special days of the festival.

Ochira Kali

Photo of Music, Art and Culture:A Roundup of All the Exciting Festivals Taking Place Across India This Summer 18/27 by thewanderjoy
(C): thelivemirror.com

What: This is a mock fight festival, which recreates the historic war that took place between the Ambalapuzha and Kayamkulam regions, during the medieval times

When: June 15 – 16, 2021

Where: Kollam district of Kerala

Reasons to Attend: The festival takes place in a waterlogged region where the locals take part in mock combat using sticks and other medieval weapon replica. You can also hear ceremonial war music in the air, throughout the festival.

Region: West

Sao Joao Festival

Photo of Music, Art and Culture:A Roundup of All the Exciting Festivals Taking Place Across India This Summer 19/27 by thewanderjoy
(C): flickr.com

What: This is the celebration of the feast of St. John, the Baptist.

When: June 24, 2021

Where: Goa

Reasons to Attend: This is an interesting feast, where you can find unique activities like men jumping into wells to find alcohol bottles. Apart from this, you can find other activities like dance and music performances, boat races, and others. Many mass prayers are conducted, during which people pray for a safe and good monsoon ahead. This festival is celebrated as the Village Festival of Music and Dance in many villages of Goa.

Month: July

Region: North

Phyang Tsedup Festival

Photo of Music, Art and Culture:A Roundup of All the Exciting Festivals Taking Place Across India This Summer 20/27 by thewanderjoy
(C): ju-lehadventure.com

What: The festival celebrating the victory of good over evil at the Phyang Monastery.

When: July 7 - 8, 2021

Where: Phyang Monastery, Ladakh

Reasons to Attend: The festival commemorates the teachings of Lord Buddha by mask dances and dramas, also known as “Chams”. The victory of the good over evil is celebrated during the festival and concluded on the second day with the destruction of the Storma. On the second day of the festival, the ritual offerings of the first day will be burnt in a bonfire and it is concluded with a procession.

Ladakh Polo Festival

Photo of Music, Art and Culture:A Roundup of All the Exciting Festivals Taking Place Across India This Summer 21/27 by thewanderjoy
(C): flickr.com

What: Week-long polo tournament organized by Indus Chushot Polo Club and the Govt. Tourism Dept.

When: July 11 -17, 2021

Where: Chushot, Tehsil Leh, Ladakh

Reasons to Attend: This festival was started in the 1400s by a Baltistan princess. This game was introduced to keep the culture of Ladakh alive. Apart from the game, you can enjoy folk dance and instrumental music. Tourists can take part in archery contests, traditional feast, handicraft exhibition, and others. You can find numerous stalls around the region to buy items like Pashmina shawls, pattu fabric, Thangka painting, prayer wheels, and others. This is also the time to watch people in their local attire.

Takthok Tsechu Festival

Photo of Music, Art and Culture:A Roundup of All the Exciting Festivals Taking Place Across India This Summer 22/27 by thewanderjoy
(C): flickr.com

What: Festival celebrated at the Takthok monastery

When: July 19 – 20, 2021

Where: Takthok Monastery, Ladakh

Reasons to Attend: The monastery was founded around the mid-16th century. Its location is said to be on a mountainside around a cave in which Padmasambhava meditated in the 8th century. The ceremony for the Takthot Tsechu Festival is attended by a large number of tourists and locals. The masked Cham dances are performed by the monks and the rituals are carried out for a full two days.

Minjar Festival

Photo of Music, Art and Culture:A Roundup of All the Exciting Festivals Taking Place Across India This Summer 23/27 by thewanderjoy
(C): tourdefarm.in

What: A weeklong festival and fair celebrated in Chamba

When: July 1 – 7, 2021

Where: Chamba, Himachal Pradesh

Reasons to Attend: People take a holy dip in the river and take part in a procession in which the main deities of the temple are taken on a palanquin and immersed into the river for a holy dip. The best of all is the fair that takes place for seven days. Handicrafts and other local items are sold in the fair, alongside the various rides.

Region: South

Njangattiri Aanayoottu

Photo of Music, Art and Culture:A Roundup of All the Exciting Festivals Taking Place Across India This Summer 24/27 by thewanderjoy
(C): hellotravel.com

What: The traditional elephant feeding rituals

Date: July 23, 2021

Location: Njangattiri Bhagavathi temple, Palakkad, Kerala

Reasons to Attend: The temple elephants participate in religious rituals, processions, and celebrations. This is the day is focused on celebrating elephants of the land. The temple elephants are brought into the temple premises where they are fed sugarcane, jaggery, coconut, and other local delicacies. People gather around to watch the elephant eat and pray to the animal.

Bastille Day

Photo of Music, Art and Culture:A Roundup of All the Exciting Festivals Taking Place Across India This Summer 25/27 by thewanderjoy
(C): youtube.com

What: This festival is the National Day celebration of France

When: July 14, 2021

Where: Pondicherry

Reasons to Attend: Having been celebrated for over 400 years ever since Pondicherry was a French colony. This day is celebrated with a parade, public feasts, and fireworks. A French styled military parade also is taken out, and the national flag of France is hoisted alongside the Indian Tricolor.

Region : East

Dree Festival

Photo of Music, Art and Culture:A Roundup of All the Exciting Festivals Taking Place Across India This Summer 26/27 by thewanderjoy
(C): ibtimes.co.in

What: The tribal festival of the Apatani tribe of Arunachal Pradesh

When: July 4 – 5, 2021

Location: Ziro, Arunachal Pradesh

Reasons to Attend: An agriculture festival that includes riturals offering prayers to the gods for protecting the crop. During the festival, local tribal dance and music performances are held. Also, a Mr. Dree competition is organised where menfolk of the tribe showcase their strength, stamina, agility and intelligence.

Behdienkhlam Festival

Photo of Music, Art and Culture:A Roundup of All the Exciting Festivals Taking Place Across India This Summer 27/27 by thewanderjoy
(C): adotrip.com

What: A tribal festival conducted to drive away plague causing evil spirits in Meghalaya

When: July 11, 2021

Location: Meghalaya – Jaintia hills and Jowai

Reasons to Attend: The term behdien means driving away and khlam means plague. This is a festival conducted to drive away the evil spirits that cause cholera. This festival marks the end of the sowing season too. The three day long festival includes a chariot procession (‘Rot’), where in tall bamboo structures decorated with paper is taken in a procession and immersed in a sacred pool. The villagers then compete in a Dad-Lawakor, a type of soccer game with a wooden ball. It is common belief that the winner of the game will have a prosperous harvest.

With a plethora of options to choose from, here is an opportunity to make your summer holidays way more exciting and experiential, than you otherwise would.

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