Welcome to the glorious land of kings (Maharajas). Rajasthan is a treasure trove of history, culture, art and architecture. Fairs and festivals of Rajasthan India showcase the rich and colourful culture of Rajasthan. Rajasthan is a place where joy knows no boundary. Fairs and festivals of Rajasthan add colours to the desert land of Rajasthan. Travel to Rajasthan during festive occasions to savour the real flavours of the state. Fairs and festivals of Rajasthan bring the desert into life and fill colours of joy. These fairs and festivals provide a platform to folk dancers and singers to showcase their talent.
These dazzling fairs and festivals in Rajasthan offer a chance to travellers to have a glimpse into the art, culture, customs and history of the state. Some of the popular Rajasthan fairs and festivals are Camel Festival, Desert Festival, Pushkar Fair and Urs Fair. Other festivals include Angaur Festival, Nagaur Festival, Kite Festival, Teej, Marwar Festival, Summer Festival, Baneshwar Fair and Sheetla Mata Fair. Travel to Rajasthan and participate in the jubilant activities.
Some of the major highlights of Rajasthan fairs and festivals are puppet shows, camel races, folk music and dance performances, cock and bull fighting, camel trouping and trading of camels or other cattle. All fairs and festivals of Rajasthan are celebrated with zeal and enthusiasm. Explore the colourful handicrafts of the state. You can buy handicrafts for your loved ones. See cultural dances and the impressive display of fireworks. Tour to Rajasthan during the fair or festival guarantees to provide delightful time.
Diwali, the most prominent Hindu festival of India, is celebrated with a lot of pomp and show. During this festival of lights, houses are decorated with clay lamps, candles, and Ashok leaves. People wear new clothes, participate in family puja, burst crackers, and share sweets with friends, families, and neighbors.
Significance: The festival marks the return of Lord Rama, along with his wife Sita and brother Lakshmana, after a long exile of 14 years.
Key attractions: Homes decorated with fancy lights, candles and clay lamps, bustling shops and markets, and fireworks and crackers
When: The darkest new moon night of Kartik month of the Hindu lunisolar calendar, which corresponds to mid-October – mid-November as per the Gregorian Calendar
Where: All over the country
Also known as the festival of colors, holi is one of the famous festivals of India, celebrated with a lot of fervor across the country. On the eve of Holi, people make huge Holika bonfires and sing and dance around it. On the day of Holi, people gather in open areas and apply dry and wet colors of multiple hues to each other, with some carrying water guns and colored water filled balloons.
Significance: It signifies the victory of good (Prince Prahlad) over evil (Holika) and the arrival of spring.
Key attractions: Holika bonfire, playing with colors, and bhang thandai
When: Full moon (Purnima) of the Phalgun month of the Hindu lunisolar calendar, which corresponds to the month of March of the Gregorian calendar
Where: Almost all over the country; most vibrant celebrations can be seen in North Indian states
Dussehra, also referred to as Vijayadashami, is also among the most famous festivals of India. It is celebrated in different forms countrywide. Ramlila(enactment of scenes from Ramayana) is held everywhere for 10 days. It’s culminated with “Ravan Dahan” – the burning of huge effigies of Ravana, Meghnath and kumbhakaran which is a real spectacle to see.
Significance: It celebrates the death of the demon king Ravana at the hands of Lord Rama.
Key attractions: Hustle bustle of the decorated markets, Ram-leela acts, and the big event of the burning of effigies of Ravana, Meghnad, and Kumbhakaran
When: 10th day of the month of Ashwin according to the Hindu lunisolar calendar, which corresponds to September or October of the Gregorian calendar
Where: Pan India
Raksha Bandhan Festival
One of the famous festivals of India, Rakhi is celebrated among Hindu. Signifying the brother-sister bonding, during Rakhi, the sister performs Aarti (prayer), applies tilak, and ties rakhi (a sacred thread) on the brother’s wrist wishing his well being. The brother, in return, vows to protect the sister. Another festival which has strong similarity to Rakhi is Bhaidooj which comes just after Diwali.
Significance: It symbolizes the strong bonding of a brother and sister.
Key attractions: The ritual of Rakhi and the brightly decked up markets showcasing a colourful variety of rakhis and sweets
When: The full moon day of Shravana month of the Hindu lunisolar calendar, which corresponds to August of the Gregorian calendar
Where: Particularly in North, Central and West India
The International Kite Festival, Jaipur is one of the most- attended festivals in Rajasthan. The most colorful festival of Rajasthan provides unlimited fun and frolic. This festival is celebrated on 14th of January every year, the day of Makar Sankranti. The popularity of the International Kite Festival in Jaipur is such that it attracts kite fliers from far off corners of the country. The thrill and excitement lingers in the air and everyone is enchanted. Join the joyous mood of Jaipur and celebrate the pleasure of flying kites.
The International Kite Festival of Jaipur has grown into a magnificent event. It experiences a huge participation. The festival is inaugurated at the Jaipur Polo Ground. The festival is divided into two sections, one is the Kite War and the other is the Friendly Kite Flying Session. The Kite festival is inaugurated at the Jaipur Polo Ground. The last day of celebration and the prize distribution too is held after three days, in the Umaid Bhawan Palace’s royal premises.
Kites of every shade of indigo, ochre, red, blue, yellow, green, fushcia, indigo, ochre, pink, orange against the blue January sky is a dazzling sight. From dawn to dusk, people of all ages fly kites rejoicing in the spirit of the day. Crowded rooftops, fun-loving rivalry to outdo each other, and delicious feast are the hall-marks of the day. People are seen indulging in the appetizing flavors of sweets prepared specially for the day.
Desert Festival, Jaisalmer
During the winters, an annual event organized in the Golden City of Rajasthan – Jaisalmer makes the desert come alive with bright and vibrant colours. This three days festival held every year in the month of February showcases the rich Rajasthani folk culture. The entire city of Jaisalmer is bustling with colours, music and dance, Rajasthani men and women dressed beautifully in hued costumes sing and dance on the haunting ballads of valour, romance and tragedy. The Desert Festival is a great extravaganza with various competitions and contest happening such as turban tying competition, longest moustaches competition, entertaining puppet shows, folk dance competition and renowned musicians participate in various folk musical recitals. Camels also are one of the main highlight of this event as they take part in camel polo, camel dance and some other contests. This joyful festival of traditional Rajasthani culture and performing art and craft comes to an end with a captivating sound and light show amidst the sand dunes on a moonlit night.
Nagaur Fair, Nagaur
Second largest fair of India - Nagaur Fair is celebrated for eight days every year in the month of January – February in the Rajput town of Rajasthan – Nagaur. The fair is mainly known for its animal trading and displays thousands of animals which are magnificently decorated with colourful accessories to attract traders gathered from various places here. The fair is famous as Cattle Fair as it boasts of trading about 70,000 bullocks, cows, camels, and horses. The owners of the animals also dress with colourful turbans and long moustaches and are very enthusiastic about selling their animals at the best possible price. Besides the trade of animals some other attractions of the fair include Mirchi bazaar (largest red chilly market of India), wooden items and camel leather accessories. Visitors enjoy the exciting sports activities being held here such as tug of war, camel races, bullock races, cock fights and many more. The evenings with campfire and puppet shows is a delightful experience that gives the feel of the desert stillness and enchanting ambience with folk music of Jodhpur.
Pushkar Fair, Pushkar
The famed Pushkar fair is one of the largest camel fairs in the world. The fair takes place for five days every year in the holy city of Rajasthan – Pushkar on the banks of the Pushkar Lake. The main activity of this fair is the trading of livestock such as camels, horses and cattle between villagers who come from different parts of the state. Pushkar Fair has become one of the major tourist attractions of India and many tourists attend this annual fair with great joy. Some of the enthralling competitions such as matka phod, longest moustache, turban tying and balancing on camel contests are part of the fair. During this fair thousand of devotees throng the lake around Kartik Purnima in October-November to take a holy dip in the lake to wash away their sins. The fair jostle into life in Pushkar and the small town of Rajasthan becomes an extraordinary place of colour, music and movement.
Summer Festival, Mt. Abu
The only hill station of Rajasthan – Mt. Abu celebrates the Summer Festival every year in the month of June. This three day festival held amidst steep rocks, serene lake and pleasant climate of Mount Abu is a wonderful opportunity to have a sneak in the tribal life and culture of Rajasthan. The event has some spectacular folk music and dance shows, sporting boat race on the Nakki Lake and Sham-e-Qawwali adds a variety to the festival. At the end of the festival sparkling fireworks are showcased that makes the festival memorable one.
Marwar Festival, Jodhpur
The Sun city of Rajasthan - Jodhpur organises Marwar Festival also known as Maand Festival in the month of Ashwin (September – October) which is held for two days. The festival is dedicated to the folk heroes of Rajasthan and a display captivating folk music and dance of the Marwar region, which revolves around the lifestyle of the former rulers of Rajasthan and this act, is known as Maand. Camel tattoo show and camel polo are some other attractions of the festival. Umaid Bhavan Palace, Mandore and Mehrangarh Fort makes up as perfect host to the festival.
Camel Festival, Bikaner
Camel the ship of the Desert holds a very important place in the heart and lives of Rajasthani people. To recognize the importance of this useful animal, Camel Festival is celebrated with great joy in Bikaner every year in the month of January. This grand celebration brings Bikaner city to life as the event opens with beautiful & colourful procession of ornamented and accessorized camels that walks gracefully. The magnificent and massive Junagarh Fort serves as the perfect backdrop to the festival. Many activities takes place after the opening procession such as tug-of-war, camel dance competitions, puppet show, the best breed of camel contest and many more enjoyable actions are seen. The best part of the festival is the wonderful and amazing Camel Dance show in which the brilliantly trained camels dance in synchronisation to the drumbeats and music played for them and leaves everyone almost speechless.
Gangaur Festival, Jaipur
Gangaur is one of the most significant festivals for women of Rajasthan and is celebrated for eighteen long days. The festival is held in honour of goddess Gauri, who is believed to be the goddess of marital happiness. This festival is celebrated all over Rajasthan by both married and unmarried ladies. The goddess Gauri images are beautifully ornamented and decorated and offerings are made to please her and in turn get blessed with good husbands and health, wealth and long life for their husbands. There is a huge procession taken out of goddess by the ladies of Rajasthan dressed brightly in beautiful attires and sing songs of departure of Gauri to her husband's house.
Teej Festival, Jaipur
Teej is a unique festival celebrated all over Rajasthan and some parts of North India, but the real fun and joy of this festival can be seen in Jaipur. Teej is dedicated to goddess Parvati and takes place on the onset of monsoon somewhere in the month of July - August. Jaipur celebrates the festival with lots of enthusiasm, women and young girls dress up with colourful clothes and accessorises with bangles and jewellery with mostly green colour as it symbolises freshness. Decorated swings are hung from trees in various gardens and lawns all over on which women and girls enjoy themselves and sing songs to welcome monsoon.
Mewar Festival, Udaipur
Mewar Festival welcomes the onset of the spring season and coincides with Gangaur Festival. Celebrated in Udaipur annually in the month of March – April, it is a three day event which holds an important place for women. There is a huge procession taken out in which women are the main participants, they carry the idols of Gangaur and Isar through different parts of the city singing and dancing. At Lake Pichola procession concludes and the idols are shifted into boats at the ghat. Devotional songs, dance performances and a number of other programs are organized that highlight the Rajasthani culture during Mewar festival. This three-day festival ends with a beautiful display of fireworks.
Urs Festival, Ajmer
Urs Festival is one of the most important and significant festivals of the Muslim community of India as it marks the death anniversary of the Sufi saint, Khwaja Moin-ud-din-Chisti. This festival is celebrated at the lakeside city of Ajmer in Rajasthan where the holy Dargah Sharif is situated which houses the mortal remains of the saint. The festival takes place on the first six days of the seventh month of the Islamic calendar, known as Rajab. Devotees from all over the country gather at the Ajmer Dargah Sharif to pay their respects to the Khwaja. They also give rich offerings that include sandalwood paste, roses, perfumes, jasmine flowers, incense, etc.