Get ready & book your spots to witness the energetic, warm and vibrant festivals of the desert this winter! Already overwhelmed with royalty of palaces and ruins holding history and mystery? You got more in store!
With winters comes the warmth of the desert festivals and so dear friends, soak up some sun and make some radiant memories. Every winter, the cheerful & loving people of Rajasthan come forward to showcase their traditions & lifestyle with great zest and zeal.
Check out the list of festivals and get your bags ready!
1. Magnetic Fields, Alsisar, Rajasthan (18th - 20th December)
With three days soaked in music, art , and food, the Magnetic Fields festival, takes place in the magnificent Alsisar Mahal which might just make you feel that you're living your dream. Dominating the underground scene, this festival brings together International and local artists who are sure to set your pulse racing under the moonlit sky coupled with lots of dancing, singing, chilling, and stargazing.
Pic Credit- outlooktraveller
2. Winter festival at Mount Abu (29th-31st December)
Popular for bringing together traditional dances, concerts, fairs, and fireworks under one roof, the winter festival at Mount Abu is a getaway that you surely don't want to miss. With exquisite exhibitions set up by various specialists to satiate the shopaholic in you, this festival entertains its guests with folk dances such as Daph, Ghoomar and Gair, and other events such as kite flying, cricket, gilli danda, Sufi Kathak and much more making it a wholesome experience that you are sure to remember.
If this information was not already enough, the highlight of the festival remains sauntering through the expansive number of lights that deck up the Nakki Lake. With people practicing Deep daan at this time of the year, the stunning sight of various lights gliding in the waterway is a treat to the eyes.
Pic credit- abutimes
3. International Kite flying competition (Sakrant) (14th January,2016) - Jaipur
Celebrated in the month of January, the International kite flying competition beginning from the 14th of the month, runs for three consecutive days which is inaugurated at the Jaipur Polo Ground. Under the famous Rajasthan winter Sun, the skies never seem so colorful which makes this festival an absolute treat for the onlookers!
4. Jaipur Literature Festival (21st- 25th January, 2016)
A melting pot of ideas, the largest FREE literary festival on earth, The ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival is one of the most prominent literary festivals of India and in the whole of Asia. Who doesn’t like a tete-a-tete with their favourite authors or media personalities? Featuring live music sessions and interactive workshops, this festival provides a space to dare, dream, and imagine. This festival is surely a treat for the geek inside you!
5. Camel Festival (22nd - 24th January,2016) – Bikaner
Held yearly at Bikaner, the Camel festival is a celebration of the ship of the desert, that includes spectacular performances that include camel dances, camel races, neck shaking camel rides and much more. While you enjoy the spectacular display of camels dressed in vibrant bridles, traditional necklaces, and heavy anklets showing off wonderful footwork to the lovely tunes on desert sands, the fascinating fire dance adds the perfect glamour to the festivities.
6. Vintage car rally (Dates vary yearly)
Every year, India’s pink city, Jaipur, hosts the vintage car rally show in the month of January. With the most popular vintage cars showcased at the rally, that include the Humber of 1903, the Fiat 501 of the year 1923, the Mercedes Benz 170V of 1936, the Morris 8 of 1938, the 1923 Austin and the Erskine of 1923, car lovers from across the country get a close look at these hot wheels.
7. Sekhawati Festival (12th - 14th February, 2016)
Shekhawati Region, a land of Rajputs, is an amalgamation of Indian art, culture, and rural farm life along the vast semi-desert countryside of Rajasthan. With Haveli’s, lavish mansions, and courtyard scattered throughout the countryside, these gems built during the 18th and 19th centuries are painted beautifully, depicting the Indian culture and history. At Sekhawati, one can watch and feel the real rural environment & go back with an unforgettable warmth of the people and comprehensive agricultural revolution in the villages. This colourful festival is organized at a number of places in Rajasthan like Nawalgarh, Sikar, Jhunjhunu, and Churu.
8. Jaisalmer Desert Festival (12th - 14th February, 2016)
If you thought Bikaner's camel festival was the ultimate exotic Indian festivals that you came across, then wait till you see the fiesta at Jaisalmer. A three-day long extravaganza of dances, music, handicraft fairs, and unusual competitions such as the 'Mr. Desert' pageant, 'turban-tying' contest, and 'best moustache' contest, the Jaisalmer Desert Festival organized by the Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation levels no stone unturned to charm you.
Besides the food, the music, and the cultural performances that the festival boasts of, camel rides, processions, camel polo, and even a camel tug-of-war will leave you mesmerized. And if you thought this was it, then you would be happy to now that all of these activities are held against the grand backdrop of the Jaisalmer fort. In addition, display of fireworks at night light up the fort, giving you a taste of royalty.
9. World Sacred Spirit Festival (22nd- 27th February,2016)
The historical breathtaking Ahhichatragarh Fort in Nagaur and the magnificent Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur welcomes you with open arms to a sacred musical journey for an entertaining and spiritual experience. The World Sacred Spirit Festival in Rajasthan brings together amazing artists from across India and around the world in a stunning royal setting. The 2016 edition of the festival will once again be held at Nagaur Fort (22nd - 24th February) before moving to the massive Mehrangarh Fort perched above the city of Jodhpur (26th & 27th February). Days and nights of magical music, dance, and poetry promises you an unforgettable experience.
Pic credit - SlideShare
10. Elephant Festival (March)
Come March, the Pink City breaks into an exultant celebration of life with a pre-holi bash which centers around the Elephant. When it comes to Rajput royalty, the elephant wins hands down. Held at its official venue, Rambagh Polo Ground, in Jaipur, the Elephant Festival attracts thousands of eager tourists from across India and overseas.
Elephant polo is the most noticeable feature of this festival, where the players wear saffron and red turbans, sit on the elephants, and try to score goals with long sticks and a plastic football. Just an extra piece of information, the elephants taking part at the festival are only female.
Female power all the way!! ;D
Pic credit- abbottstravel.com
11. Gangaur festival (March-April)
Dedicated to Gauri, a manifestation of Goddess Parvati; consort of Lord Shiva, the famous festival of gangaur commences on the first day of Chaitra, the day following Holi and lasts for 18 days.
Observed throughout the state with great fervour, the festival of Gangaur is the most important local festival of Rajasthan that is celebrated with great zeal by girls and married women throughout the state. With colourful processions going around the town with bands playing, marching horses, and elaborate palanquins taking over the streets, this festival is a fascinating spectacle to witness.
Need some more incentive??
12. JJS – Jaipur Jewellery Show (19TH – 22ND JANUARY)
The Jaipur jewellery show is an important event in the world of gems and jewellery, where the latest and the finest collections are exhibited at the show.
13. Zipline Tour at Mehrangarh fort (JANUARY – DECEMBER)
You can zip through the open sky between ridge tops or between two fixed points at Mehrangarh fort. This adrenalin rush filled adventure consists of 6 separate ziplines which fly around the fort, providing extraordinary and unique views. For all the adventure enthusiasts out there who would not like to miss this enthralling experience, it’s ideal to do the booking 3 days in advance. The trip gets you a bird’s eye view of the Chokelao garden and Rani Ser Lake.
Pic credit- natgeotraveller.in
14. Keoladeo National Park – Bharatpur
The Keoladeo National Park formerly known as the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is a famous avifauna sanctuary that plays host to thousands of birds especially during the winter season. It has been often referred to as 'Ornithologist's Paradise', as it attract thousands of indigenous as well as migratory birds annually, which also includes the world-renowned Siberian cranes, given its favourable environmental conditions and easy availability of food.
15. Ranthambore National Park- Sawai Madhopur
The Ranthambore National Park is one of the largest and most important national parks in the country and is best known for its tiger population which can be easily spotted in the park. Best time to visit remains between 1st October to 30th June.
Pic credit - exoticindiandestination.com
Other wildlife national parks in the state are: