Spring is in the air ! As we feel the changing of the seasons and welcome the season of a million colorful and wonderfully scented flowering shrubs in the month of March, India begins the celebrations of some of the most fun packed festivals. Different states celebrating their respective festivals with the utmost fervor and zeal; colorful, high-spirited, and fun-filled. Planning to visit India next month? Here’s a chance for you to witness the colorful, jubilant celebrations celebrated all over the country.
1.International Yoga Festival
Organized annually by Parmarth Niketan, in the beginning of the month of March, Rishikesh becomes the yearly venue for the International Yoga Festival. An event that is attended by hundreds of yoga lovers from all over the globe. Rishikesh, in the state of Uttarakhand is considered to be the birth place of Yoga and is grounded in the authentic origin of yogic practices. The festival has grown to become one of the largest yoga gatherings in the world and offers over 70 hours of Yoga classes, discussions and lectures from world class Yoga teachers and India’s leading spiritual leaders
Dates: March 1st – 7th, 2017.
Venue: Parmarth Niketan Ashram, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand.
2. Chapchar Kut Festival
With long drawn traditions from the history of Mizoram, the Chapchar Kut festival has a deep cultural significance for its people. Celebrated for more than a week, the people of Mizoram sway and dance to traditional music tunes, celebrating the harvest season. Chapchar is the process of drying bamboos that are cut under the sunlight so that they can be burnt later. ‘Kut’ refers to festival and thus, the name Chapchar Kut ensued. In their traditional attires, that feature beads and parrot feathers the females perform various traditional dances, while the men sit on the ground and beat the bamboo sticks against each other. The beating of drums and cymbals, colors, feasts, dances mark the various components of the festival.
Dates: March 3rd , 2017.
Venue: Aizawl, the capital of Mizoram in Northeast India.
3. Lath Maar Holi
Celebrated as a recreation, imprinting the famous legend, Lath Maar Holi takes place few days before the actual Holi festival. It is believed that Lord Krishna, who hailed from the Nandgaon village, visited his beloved Radha’s village, Barsana, on this day and playfully teased her and her friends. Taking offense at this, the women of Barsana chased him away. Keeping sync with the story, the men from Nandgaon visit the town of Barsana each year, and are greeted with sticks or lathis by the women there. The women hurl sticks at the men, who try to shield themselves as much as they can. The event is attended by thousands, who gather to witness the fest. Traditional songs for Radha and Lord Krishna are sung during the festivities.
Dates: March 5th to 8th, 2017.
Venue: Barsana and Nandgaon, Mathura.
4. Mewar Holika Dahan
On eve of Holi festival, to ward of the evil spirits and mark peace and prosperity people light bonfires, a ritual that is known as Holika Dahan. The Maharaja of Udaipur (Mewar Kingdom) and his family spell class and elegance, celebrating the festival with full fervor and pomp. Keeping their heritage and traditions alive, in traditional attires the royal family embarks on a stunning palace procession followed by the people, with beautifully decorated horses, and traditional music. The proceedings marked by royal etiquette leads to the Holika, a pyre made of dried leaves and twigs, representing demonic forces. The Holika is lit on fire by the present Maharaja of Udaipur (custodian of the Mewar dynasty- 76th Maharaja) symbolizing the victory of good over evil. The festival also includes cultural performances, folk dances and classical music concerts, reciting of mythological stories, exhibitions and walking tours.
Dates: March 12, 2017.
Venue: City Palace, Udaipur, Rajasthan.
Marked by the religious fever and devotion, Holi symbolizes loud music, traditional dances and of-course the smearing of bright colors on each other. Referred as the ‘Festival of Colors’ holi is celebrated with the utmost gaiety and fervor in the entire Indian sub-continent. People exuberantly throw colored powder and water at each other, sing and sway to the tunes of rocking music. Traditional sweetmeats ‘gujiya’ (sweet dumplings made with Semolina and wheat flour and stuffed with khoya a dairy product) are synonymous with the festival are prepared and consumed. ‘Bhaang’ (a paste made from cannabis plants) is also traditionally consumed during the celebrations. Great excitement and happiness can be seen amongst the people during the festivities.
Dates: March 13th , 2017.
Venue: All over India, particularly in the North.
6. Mewar Festival
Experience the colors and the happiness that fills the people of Rajasthan. Visit Udaipur during the Mewar festival, that is observed to welcome the arrival of spring. The spirit of the festival can be witnessed throughout the state, but because Udaipur has always been the governing place of Mewar rulers, different flavors of the festival can be seen here. The ‘City of Lakes’ gets drenched in vibrant colors, with the local markets and shops decorated at their best, with bright lights and decorations. The Mewar festival is significant for the womenfolk of Rajasthan. Specially meant for females that offers them an opportunity to dress in their finest and join the celebrations, the women of Udaipur assemble to dress the images of Isar (Lord Shiva) and Gangaur (Goddess Parvati) and carry them in a procession through the city, finally immersing the idols in the middle of Lake Pichola. Traditional dance, songs and cultural events followed by a firework display are highlights of the festival.
Dates: March 30th – April 1st, 2017
Shigmotsav celebrated in the state of is Goa’s is a festival of color, marking the beginning of spring. People withdraw themselves, from non-vegetarian food and alcohol consumption. The folks dress up in colorful traditional attires and embark with a festive mood along with multi-colored flags, dancing to the beats of thumping drums, blowing flutes to get together at the village temples. Various folk songs are sung to celebrate the season, in the temple court yard. Huge dance troupes perform intricate movements of folk dances along the length of the parade.
Dates: March 24th – 7th April, 2017.
Venue: Panjim city, Goa.
If you’re spending time in India in March, these are the places you must be to witness the true flavors of India.