It is said that if you want to see real India you must experience celebrations of festivals in India. Soon the snow will start to melt uncovering the vibrant colors of the country. The March month is set for the spring season and soon summers will be knocking on the door. The temperature in the spring season in India is neither too cold nor too hot, making it perfect for travelers. Additionally, flamboyant festivals of different cultures and religions await your participation. These seven grandeur festivals in the month of March 2019 welcome you to India.
1. International Yoga Festival
Yoga and India are synonyms to each other. International Yoga Festival 2019 is all set to welcome guests from over 30 countries. This serene vicinity of the holy town is perfect for learning Yoga. Away from chaotic Indian cities, Rishikesh is in the mountains of mighty Himalayas. There are numerous ashrams in and around the town where this festival of Yoga is celebrated.
This festival started in the year 1999 in Parmarth Niketan Ashram in Rishikesh. Initially, meditation classes were conducted under the guidance of Pujya Shri Swami Veda Bharat Ji. And Yoga asanas were taught by Yogacharya Shri Bharat Bhushan Ji in the ashram near the banks of river Ganges. Now, it is organized every year from 1st to 7th March.
Rishikesh – The religious town is situated in the foothills of Himalaya Mountains on the banks of river Ganges. It is in the Uttarakhand State of India.
- Learn the secrets of Yoga from internationally acclaimed trainers and experts. Rejuvenate your body and soul in the peaceful environment in a weeklong event in the paradise.
- Ganga Arti on the bank of river Ganges is definitely no miss event here. After the day of Yoga lessons, discussions are held many saints and Indian religious leaders.
- You can learn how to cook Indian Vegetarian food along with the Yoga sessions.
Festival Food – The unique cultural hub is visited by tourists from around the globe. And thus, there are many Cafes in the town offering global cuisines. On the other hand there is always the vegetarian Indian food available for all.
Date and Time – The festival is organized annually from 1st March to 7th March. This is the set of the spring season in India and climate is favorable for visiting.
Things to do around Rishikesh – The town have a lot to offer for adventure enthusiasts. Here is a recommended list of things to do while in Rishikesh
- River Rafting
- Cliff jumping
- Ayurvedic Massage and therapies
- Exploring Cafes
- Hot air ballooning
2. Parippally Gajamela
India has always been known for its love for elephants. These majestic animals were used in wars once. Elephants are the symbol of wealth and prosperity in Hindu culture.
Gaj means Elephant and Mela mean festival in Hindi.
Parippally Gajamela is celebrated in Paripally Kodimootil Sree Bhadrakaali temple in Kollam district of India. This is located in the southern state Kerala of India near the Arabian Sea shore. It is known as a pageant for elephants.
In earlier times rich people of Kerala would flaunt their wealth by decorating their elephants in a unique procession. It is also said that the entire procession is dedicated to Goddess Bhadrakaali. Today, around a hundred elephants are decorated flamboyantly and taken in a procession on the tenth day of the annual festival.
Paripally Kodimootil Sree Bhadrakaali – This temple is in Kollam District of Kerala in South India. The principal deity in this temple is Devi Bhadrakaali.
The annual event is attended by thousands of devotees from neighboring cities and even abroad. Thus, giving a chance for the visitors to experience real India
Apart from the decorated Elephants procession as the main attraction, a long queue of women hold lit oil lamps in decorated platters to worship Goddess Bhadrakaali
Local artists perform on percussion
Festival Food – Kerala is famous for its sea cuisine and its natural beauty. You can enjoy local food around. Additionally, vegetarian food is also provided by the temple administration.
Date and Time – The annual 10-day festival is celebrated on the 4th of March. The tropical climate of Kerala remains the same throughout the year.
Nearby attractions – There are many other tourist destinations around the festival site. Here is a list of few attractions near Parippally Gajmela
- Padmanabha temple
- Kovalam Beach
- Palace Museum of Kuthira Malika
- Kowdiar Palace
3. Goa Carnival
Goa Carnival is the showcase of Portuguese and Catholic culture in India. It attracts tourists from around the world. The event is marked with bright parades in major cities of Goa. People enjoy music, dance, drinks, and great food. This small time gala is now attended by thousands of people.
The carnival was started in the 18th century by Portuguese. But after the end of Portuguese rule, it was forgotten. But, Timoteo Fernandes brought back the traditional festival in 1965. Today, it has become Goa’s most celebrated event. However, it is celebrated with traditional values like street performances.
Goa – The small state is very famous for its rich Portuguese culture and beautiful beaches. It is in western India
- Colorful masked street performers create the environment similar to the Carnival in Rio, though at a much smaller scale
- The festival is celebrated in the streets of Panjim, Margao, Vasco, and Mapusa
- The parades are a reflection of the unique, rich culture of Goa, influenced by the Catholic traditions
- The festival starts with Food and Culture Festival and commences with Red and Black Ball dance
Festival Food – Cuisine of Goa is different from rest of India in many ways. You will find dishes which are not available anywhere in India. It has been influenced by the Portuguese cuisine but kept its local flavor intact. And being a popular tourist destination, you will find many restaurants serving dishes from various countries.
Date of Goa Carnival 2019 – This year the event is being organized from 2nd March to 5th March. This is spring season in the state of Goa.
Things to do in Goa Carnival
- Goa is world famous for lively beaches. Wherever you are in Goa you are never too far from the enhancing beach
- Four centuries of Portuguese rule had an impact on the architectural style in Goa. You will find beautifully built Churches and Cathedrals in the state
- Goa is also famous for its nightlife. The most happening discs and pubs are definitely a yes for party lovers
4. Eternal Mewar Holika Dahan
Holi is a two-day festival celebrated in India. Mewar or Udaipur is often cited as the Venice of the East for its splendid beauty. Mewar dynasty holds a significant place in Indian history and the traditions are a showcase of Royal life of the Maharajas. On the first day of the festival, bonfire signifying burning of evil is made and on the second day, people play with colors. Maharaja of Udaipur himself lights the bonfire in City Palace of Udaipur.
Holi has been celebrated in India since the ancient ages. The tradition of a burning bonfire in the Palace of Udaipur is also considered many centuries old. The regal band, beautifully decorated elephants and horses take part in the procession. It takes the visitors back to the era of Royal Rajput traditions.
Udaipur – It is also known as the City of Lakes. Udaipur is situated in the state of Rajasthan, India.
- It is one of a kind experience to witness the traditional Holika Dahan in City Palace of Udaipur
- Maharajah of Udaipur graces the occasion and lights the bonfire himself
- Magnificent performance by the royal band and decorated elephants add to the enchanting environment
- The day is followed by the festival of colors. On this day everyone put colors on each other forgetting their differences, irrespective of religion, race or region
Festival Food – The magnificent feasts on the eve of Holi involves traditional sweets and spicy snacks. For nonvegetarian food lovers, having Rajput cuisine is a delight. On the other hand, there are many other continental dishes served in restaurants in Udaipur during the Holi Festival.
Best time to visit – The festival is celebrated every year in the month of March. The spring season in Udaipur is pleasant and welcoming.
What to do while in Udaipur for Mewar Holi Dahan?
There are many tourist attractions in and around Udaipur. The city of lakes offers some panoramic views from Lake Pichola. The monuments of Jagmandir and City Palace are a must visit destination. Historic Chittorgarh fort and Kumbhalgarh fort could be visited in a day. Another beautiful destination near Udaipur is Ranakpur Jain temples.
5. Jaipur Elephant Festival or Dhulandi Festival
Jaipur is one of a significant destination in Golden Triangle tourist circuit in India. Just like every part of India, the two days festival of Holi is celebrated enthusiastically in the pink city too. Jaipur Elephant Festival is celebrated on the eve of Holi festival. The various cultural programs are organized by the government which includes local tribesmen and dance forms. On the next day, the Dhulandi or the day of playing colors is celebrated.
The sacred animal is decorated and paraded on the eve of the festival. Apart from elephants, camels and horses are also part of the event. Many cultural events are organized where artists dress in traditional attire and wear ornaments.
Jaipur – Is also known as Pink City for its beautiful pink colored markets and buildings. It is the administrative capital of Rajasthan state in India.
- The sacred animal is considered the symbol of Lord Ganesha. Thus, it is worshipped. Beautifully decorated elephants are the main attraction of the event
- Rare local art forms and artists could be spotted performing in the Festival. These include dancers, street performers etc
- The day is marked with colors, party, and delicious food. The celebration starts early in the day. People visit their friends and relatives to greet each other in the night
- Traditional Rajasthan Sweet ‘Gujhiya’ is made of wheat flour, filled with mashed sweet. These could be bought from any sweet shop or restaurant
- Traditional Food Daal, Baati and Choorma are loved by all age group people
- There are many restaurants in Jaipur serving Indian and continental dishes
Best time to visit – The festival is celebrated in the month of March every year according to Lunar Calendar. Spring season in Jaipur is pleasant; days are moderate while nights could be gratifying cold.
Things to do in Jaipur
- Amer Fort is a World Heritage Site. Visiting the fort will give you an idea of the lavish lifestyles of the rulers of Jaipur
- City Palace is situated in the heart of the Jaipur. A portion of the palace is still habituated by the Royal Family of Jaipur. On the other hand, a portion is open for tourists as Museum
- Jantar Mantar again is a World Heritage Site. It holds the world’s largest sundial which is in working condition till today
- Nightlife in Jaipur is remarkably delightful. Attending the Holi Party in Jaipur is an experience of a lifetime
6. Basanta Utsav
Basanta is a Hindi word for the spring season. And as the name suggests this is the celebration of the season in addition to Holi festival. It is celebrated in Viswa Bharati University of Shantiniketan town. Shantiniketan is a peaceful town in Birbhum district of West Bengal state in India. Students and teachers wear yellow traditional clothes and apply different colors to each other. The whole sparkling scenario mesmerizes the visitors. In addition, various cultural programs of the native state Bengal are performed.
Rabindranath Tagore founded the University for Arts and culture in Shantiniketan. To add charm to the enchanting festival Holi, he introduced the new way to celebrate the festival. Also known as ‘Dol Utsav’, this has become the symbol of Bengal pride. Today, the grand celebration is not confined to the University but has extended to streets of the serene town.
Visva Bharati University, Shantiniketan – This composed University town is situated in the Birbhum District. It was expanded by Shri Rabindranath Tagore with a vision to provide learning opportunities in a natural environment.
- The town immerses deep in the spirit of Basanta or spring with rejoicing souls and blooming flowers
- The festival of Holi adds more colors to the yellow theme of the annual fest
- Energetic performances by students are embossed in the minds of visitors forever
- Dry and wet colors are sprayed, splashed and put on each other on the occasion of Basanta Utsav
Festival Food – Cuisine of West Bengal could be well described as a perfect match of meals, snacks, and sweets. At Shantiniketan, you will find the authentic taste of Bengal state. Rice, fish, and lentils form the main course of the meal. On the other hand, Bengali sweets made from milk would keep you craving for more and more.
Date and Time – This year the festival will be celebrated on 20-21 March. This spring season in Bengal provides with much of the natural beauty. Temperatures during this festival are moderately welcoming.
- Deer Park is approximately 3 kilometers away from the Festival venue. Once eroding jungle is now home to wild deer
- At Amar Kutir you can learn the process of weaving beautiful Kantha Sarees. It displays local arts and crafts. You can also buy leather products, bamboo crafts, and batik from here
- Khoai Mela is a weekly bazaar where artisans from nearby places set up their stalls. It provides with excellent opportunities to see local life
- Chattim Tala is the place where Rabindranath Tagore used to teach his students under the shades of Chhatim trees. Now the peaceful place organizes meditation sessions for all
7. Lathmar Holi
Entire March in India is packed with Holi festival and other spring celebrations. But, the most famous celebrations are held in Barsana and Nandgaon towns of Mathura. The Lathmar Holi celebrations are filled with Holi colors, celebrations and piquant delicacies. Here women spray men with bamboo sticks who charge on them to put colors, while men save themselves with shields. Every street in the town is alive with these friendly celebrations.
It is said that Lord Krishna came to Barsana to tease Radha. He was playfully beaten by Radha and her friends. Thus, the tradition of playfully beating men with bamboo sticks came into existence. And now it is one of the most fun-filled Holi celebration venues in India. It is equally fun to watch the celebrations as a spectator too.
Barsana and Nandgaon – This historic town is in Mathura district in India. This place is the birthplace of Goddess Radha.
- Playful battlefields of energetic men and women playing Holi is an experience of a lifetime for any traveler
- The food in Mathura is another reason to attend the Holi Festival. The array of food from sweets to spicy snacks are a treat for everyone
- There are many ancient temples in and around the Barsana town. These are beautifully built and if you are inclined towards spirituality then these are a must visit destinations for you
Festival Food – The food at the festival is a treat of sweets and spices. Most people eat home cooked food on the day but there are many restaurants serving vegetarian Indian food.
Best Time to visit – The festival is celebrated every year in the month of March. The temperature starts to rise in the month but days and nights are pleasantly welcoming for tourists.
- Shreeji Temple is considered to be over 5000 years old. It is built on a hilltop with red sandstone
- Built by a Rajput king, the temple of Radha Kushalbihari Ji is a beautiful temple with intrinsic designs and heartwarming idols
- Vishram Ghat is surrounded by many beautiful temples. The place was once visited by Lord Krishna. Evening Arti on the shore is attended by hundreds of people every day.
Suggested Package: Barsana and Nandgaon Holi Festival Package