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. Soak up some sun and fill your memory with radiant memories. 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)
Three days of music, art and food, this festival takes place in the magnificent Alsisar Mahal, which might just make you feel like you're in a dream. There are performances by international and local artists who dominate the underground scene, so be prepared for nights of dancing, singing, chilling and stargazing.
Pic Credit- outlooktraveller
2. Winter festival at Mount Abu (29th-31st December)
The festival features traditional dances, concerts, fairs and fireworks display. Exquisite exhibitions set up by various specialists make it an awesome show. Attractions at the festival include folk dances such as Daph, Ghoomar and Gair, kite flying, cricket, gilli danda, Sufi Kathak and much more. Fascination of the celebration is the skimming of expansive number of lights on the Nakki Lake. This specific practice is known as Deep daan. The very sight of various lit 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 January, which continues for three consecutive days, the festival is inaugurated at the Jaipur Polo Ground. The finale is held on the last day of celebration and the prize distribution too is held on the same day in the Umaid Bhawan Palace’s royal turf. This festival is celebrated on 14th of January every year. The skies never seemed so colorful!
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 want a tete-a-tete with their favorite author or media personality? Featuring live music sessions and interactive workshops, the Festival provides a space to dare, dream and imagine. A treat for the geek inside you!
5. Camel Festival (22nd - 24th January,2016) – Bikaner
The event mainly includes spectacular camel performances like camel dances, camel races, neck shaking camel rides etc. Enjoy the spectacular displays of camels dressed in vibrant bridles, traditional necklace and heavy anklets showing off wonderful footwork to the lovely tunes on desert sands. The fascinating Fire Dance adds glamour to the festivities. Bikaner Camel Festival is open to the public and anyone can come and be a part of this colourful celebration.
6. Vintage car rally (Dates to be disclosed)
India’s pink city Jaipur hosts the vintage car rally show in the month of January. The most popular vintage cars are showcased at the rally, which include cars like 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 get ready to romance with 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. The Haveli’s, lavish mansions and courtyard scattered throughout the countryside built during the 18th and 19th centuries are painted beautifully depicting Indian culture and history. Tourists can watch and feel the real rural environment & go back with an unforgettable impression of friendliness of the people and comprehensive agricultural revolution in the villages. The 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 in exotic Indian festivals, wait till you see the fiesta at Jaisalmer. A three-day long extravaganza of dances, music, handicraft fairs and interesting competitions- including really unusual ones like a 'Mr. Desert' pageant, a 'turban-tying' contest and a 'best moustache' contest- the Jaisalmer Desert Festival is organized by the Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation. Besides the food, the music and the cultural performances, there are camel rides, processions, camel polo, and even a camel tug-of-war. All of it is held against the backdrop of the awesome Jaisalmer fort. Fireworks display at night light up the area, and the fort is illuminated too.
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 promise an unforgettable experience.
Pic credit - SlideShare
10. Elephant Festival (March)
Come March, and the Pink City breaks into an exultant celebration of life, a pre-Holi bash which centers around the Elephant. When it comes to Rajput royalty, the elephant wins hands down. The Elephant Festival is held at its official venue, Rambagh Polo Ground in Jaipur, and 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. Only female elephants take part in this festival.
Pic credit- abbottstravel.com
11. Gangaur festival (March-April)
This festival is dedicated to Gauri, a manifestation of Goddess Parvati; consort of Lord Shiva, which commences on the first day of Chaitra, the day following Holi and lasts for 18days. Gangaur Festival is the most important local festival of Rajasthan and is observed throughout the state with great fervour. The festival is celebrated by girls and married women throughout Rajasthan. This is also an auspicious day for young people to select their life partners. Colourful processions with the town band playing, horses and elaborate palanquins make it a fascinating spectacle.
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. 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. It’s ideal to do the booking 3 days in advance. You can get 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. It is best known for its tiger population & they can be easily spotted in the park. Best time to visit is between 1st October to 30th June.
Pic credit - exoticindiandestination.com
Other wildlife national parks in the state are: