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Updated by Rajashri Venkatesh on May 21, 2014
Headline for Fairs and Festivals of India
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Fairs and Festivals of India

Colorful and lively, the fairs and festivals of India are major attractions of the country. Reflecting the vibrant culture of the country, these events occupy a prime place in the Indian tourism industry, as many people visit the country in order to participate in them.

Bikaner Festival

The Bikaner Camel Festival starts off with a magnificent procession of brightly adorned camels against the beautiful backdrop of the Junagarh Fort. The festival then proceeds to the sandy spread of the Polo Ground, which is followed by interesting events. Camels and owners both are dressed in their finest clothes and accessories and enjoy the festival. The festival also features the famous camel dance which is fun to watch as the camels follow instructions by their owners. This is also a place where you can enjoy some delicious, traditional food, such as the famous Bikaner Bhujiya (a savoury snack) and tea and sweets made from camel milk. The interesting highlights of the festival are:Camel racesCamel milkingFur cutting designThe best breed competitionCamel bandsTraditional folk dance and music

Khajuraho Dance Festival, Bundelkhand, Madhya Pradesh

Khajuraho, well known for its enchanting temples, provides the venue for the Khajuraho festival of classical dance every year, usually from 25 February to 2 March. The best exponents perform in an open-air auditorium, usually in front of the Chitragupta Temple dedicated to Surya (the Sun God) and the Vishwanatha Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. Local craftsmen display their crafts at an open market.

Desert Festival, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan

The Desert Festival is a three-day extravaganza of colour, music and festivity, held at the golden city of Jaisalmer. Gair and Fire dancers swaying to traditional tunes, camel polo and camel dance, display of the most glorious moustaches, a turban tying competition and a Mr. Desert Contest are the highlights of the fun and frolic. Folk performers such as snake charmers, puppeteers and acrobats add to the vibrancy of the occasion.

Garden Festival, Delhi

A spectacular flower show held in Delhi, every February, where varieties of flowers and exotic plants are on display. Organised by Delhi Tourism, this annual event showcases thousands of varieties of flowers. Flower enthusiasts and horticulturists find have a field day. Apart from this, painting competitions for children, art camp for budding artists and thematic cultural shows to entertain the visitors are also held.

Surajkund Crafts Mela, Haryana

In order to promote the traditional Indian Handicrafts, a delightful handloom and handicrafts fair is held annually at Surajkund, on the outskirts of Delhi. Over 400 skilled artisans from all over the country display the rich crafts tradition of India in a typical rural setting. Cultural programmes and rural cuisine are also part of this colourful fair, held from 1 to 15 February.

Taj Mahotsav, Agra, Uttar Pradesh

A 10-day event, the Taj Mahotsav is a culturally vibrant platform that brings together the finest Indian crafts and cultural nuances. Starting on 18 February each year in Shilpgram, the Taj Mahotsav is a much awaited event. It is a festive introduction to India and Uttar Pradesh. India's extensive arts, crafts and culture are on display. Folk music, shayari (poetry) and classical dance performances as well as elephant and camel rides, games and a food festival, all form a part of the festivities.

Elephant Festival, Jaipur, Rajasthan

The Elephant Festival is held every year a day before Holi. The festival begins with a procession of elephants, camels, and horses, painted and tastefully attired with ornaments and embroidered velvet, followed by lively folk dancers. The elephants greet the visitors, offer garlands to the guests and walk past the ramp before a jury of experts and tourists who select the Best-decorated Elephant. Elephant races and elephant polo matches are special features. The tug of war between elephants and men is probably the most exhilarating highlight of the festival.

International Flower Festival, Sikkim

A rare show of exotic varieties of flowers, orchids and other plants, native to Sikkim, is held every summer from March to May. The tiny state of Sikkim has around 600 species of orchids, 240 species of trees and ferns, 150 varieties of gladioli, 46 types of rhododendrons along with a variety of magnolias and many other foliage plants. The main displays in the flower show are orchids, gladioli, roses, cacti, alpine plants, creepers, climbers, ferns, herbs, etc. Experts hold seminars and lectures. A food festival with Sikkimese delicacies is organised. River rafting and Yak Safaris are added attractions.

Konark Dance Festival, Orissa

The sun temple in Konark is famed as a world heritage site. This is the venue of a joyous festival of classical dance and music which is held annually in December. A host of celebrated dancers from all over the country perform in the open air auditorium. The festival is a celebration of the much appreciated Odissi, Bharat Natyam, Manipuri, Kathak and Chau dance, a lavish feast for the eyes and ears. A crafts mela, with a variety of handicrafts and cuisine, is also organised during the festival. The festival is jointly organised by Orissa Tourism and Odissi Research Centre.

The Boat Race

Aranmula Boat Race, often known as Kerala Boat Festival is one of the glorious occasions of Kerala and is the unique feature of the backwaters of Kerala. Much famous all over the world, it has become the icon of Kerala and attracts of thousands of tourists to the state. A dramatic spectacle on the Pamba River in the Kuttanad region at Aranmula, the water water carnival and snake boat race is the one of the most joyous even held in the week of the great harvest festival of Onam. Undoubtedly, it is Kerala's most important celebration and the stately snake boats of Aranmula called 'Palliyodams' form part of an age-old temple ritual.

Float Festival, madurai, Tamil Nadu

At dawn, the processional idols of Meenakshi and Sudareshwarar start out from the main temple in great pomp. The deities are carried in golden palanquins escorted by elephants, horses, musicians and thousands of devotees. After reaching the Teppakolam, about three kilometres away, the deities are placed in a prepared 'mandapam' on the banks of the lake, where the devotees are allowed to worship them.