India’s Festivals-Much More than Just Colors and Lamps
Festivals of India? The topic brings to mind hundreds of events that go beyond candles and colors -made famous by the Indian festivals of Deepavali and Holi. Here, we help you enjoy the bounties of some of the most popular in the lot.
Maha Kumbh Mela, held in the northern Indian city of Allahabad, has been touted as the largest religious gathering on Earth. Here, more than 100 million pilgrims come from far and beyond to wash away their sins in the holy waters of the confluence of rivers Ganges, Sarasvati and Yamuna. During this festival, the world media goes berserk and beams live images of naga (naked) sadhus (hermits) rushing down to meet the river waters at dawn, snake charmers making their way through millions of people, children and women joining in the act of happy dunkings and more .In a nutshell, this festival personifies sheer bliss and is a “must-participate” for all devotees of the unflinching faith of Hinduism. (image by cambug (Dipesh Dey))
Well, if you dig in enough, you will soon know that Allahabad does not hold a monopoly on this festival-there are other places that celebrate the Kumbha Mela too. Ujjian, Hardiwar and Nashik are some of the other important temple-cities that hold this festival once in once in every twelve years. This effectively means that you can steep your senses in the many joys of this festival every three years, with the Maha Kumbh coming forth every 144 years – intrigued, eh?
The birthday of Lord Krishna-the favorite Hindu deity, is celebrated with unlimited zest and splendor in India. On this day temples and hones are decorated with flowers and other ornate stuff, musical dramas linked with Krishna are performed everywhere, large offerings of fruits and sweets are made to the God and an ambience of religious fervor prevails all around. The best places to experience the fun of this much loved festival are in Vrindavan and Mathura, in Uttar Pradesh. This festival is celebrated in the months of August-September.
Ganga Sagar Mela
If you happen to be in India during mid-January, then head eastwards to Sagar Island, the place where the holy Ganges mingles into the oceans beyond. Here, you may look forward to joining point where the holy river Ganges meets the ocean and join tens of thousands of pilgrims taking the holy dip or communal paddle-a rare sight indeed! The most auspicious spot of the lot is Sangam ghat-which stands auspicious spot in which to bathe is Sangam ghat stoic in time, right on the Ganges.
This massive fair commemorates the prehistoric battle fought between elephants and ferocious crocodiles. Yes, you have read it right! In today’s time, Sonpur Mela marked by events that are much less frightening but no less spectacular. By far, this is the largest cattle fair in Asia and is held near Patna in Bihar -in the months of November/December.(image by Maciej Dakowicz)
Shivarati Mela, Thrissur Pooram, Ganesh Chaturthi, Durga Puja, Pushkar Camel Fair….. the list of Indian festivals is indeed endless.
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Feature image Sherry Nash