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The Royal Rajasthan
 

Fairs and Festivals of Rajasthan

 

Fairs and Festivals, RajasthanThe fairs and festivals of Rajasthan reflect its distinct geographical traits, its royal past as well as its religious identities. Rajasthan is largely spread out over the Thar Desert. The Desert Festival is thus unique to Rajasthan among all Indian states. Rajasthan is also home to the Aravali mountain range and several rivers & lakes. Its inhabitants include various tribes as well as followers of all major religions of India. Thus, all major festivals like Holi, Deepavali, Id and Christmas are celebrated here with gusto.

Besides these, it has fairs revolving around animals, especially camels that are also the main support of life in the desert. The Pushkar Fair at Pushkar, Nagaur Fair at Nagaur, Elephant Fair at Jaipur and Cattle Fair at Bikaner, all revolve around cattle/ animal themes.

Apart from the cattle fairs, Rajasthan has several festivals and fairs that are unique to this State. These maybe observed to mark the changing seasons, to pay obeisance to a deity or simply to celebrate some aspect of life such as marriage. Participating in these fairs and festivals is an excellent way to experience royal Rajasthan as they are marked by singing, dancing, religious ceremonies, fun filled events and a general mood of gaiety.

There are several fairs and festivals celebrated in nearly each month. Some of the popular fair and festivals are listed below:

Nagaur Fair, Nagaur: This is a cattle fair. Mainly horses and camels are brought here to be traded by their owners from far and near. As a result, shops also spring up during the fair to sell various rural products. Local sports like tug-of-war as well as camel races are organised and participated in with gusto and enjoyed by all. Nagaur is halfway between Bikaner and Jodhpur and easily accessible from both destinations. This fair is held in the January - February period.

Desert Festival, Jaisalmer: Among the most popular fairs in Rajasthan, the Desert Festival is held in the January to February period in the golden city of Jaisalmer. This festival attracts a large number of visitors because it showcases the desert-bound life and architecture of Rajasthan and also has all the elements of fun and revelry, e.g. performances by musicians, dancers, ballad singers, snake charmers, and puppeteers; camel dances, acrobatics, races, and polo; as well as a competition to identify the best decorated camel. Apart from these, tug-of-war, a turban tying competition and a Mr. Desert contest are also held. The festival ends with fireworks among the sand dunes.

Elephant Festival, Jaipur: held during the March and April, this festival celebrates marks the Indian festival of colors, Holi. Elephants have been the carriage of kings and have always been bedecked accordingly. In this festival, elephants turn out in all their finery along with their mahouts. This festival is a great opportunity to play colors with the local people and also to enjoy elephant sports.

Gangaur Festival, across Rajasthan: This festival is also observed in the March to April period, around the festival of Holi. In this festival, women offer prayers to Goddess Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva. Young girls dress up in their finest clothes and pray for husbands of their choice and married women pray for the longevity of their spouses. This is festival is celebrated over eighteen days. On the final day, a grand procession is taken out to mark the arrival of Lord Shiva to escort his bride home.

Camel Festival, Bikaner: Bikaner is a delightful desert town and is known for its Camel Research Institute across the world. The camel festival has become popular with visitors for its various events like folk dance performances, camel races and camel dances. The camel festival is held in the month of January each year.

Marwar Festival, Jodhpur: This festival celebrates the music, dance and traditions of the erstwhile Marwar region that is now known as Jodhpur. The Department of Tourism, Government of Rajasthan organises it. The Marwar Festival was originally known as the Maand Festival. Maand is a style of folk music based on the romantic life style of Rajasthan's rulers. Performances of Maand Raag to the accompaniment of graceful dances of the desert recreate the old world charm. Your holiday must include this festival to thoroughly enjoy the royal history of Rajasthan. This festival is held in the month of October.

Teej Festival, Jaipur: Teej is a ladies only festival, celebrated to mark the advent of monsoon. Processions are taken out and swings are put up from trees. Women dress up in bright coloured traditional finery. This festival is meant for married women only and they pray for the well being of their husbands. It is celebrated in the month of July or August according to the Indian calendar.

Baneshwar Fair, Baneshwar: Celebrated in January or February, Baneshwar Fair is religious festival with simple and traditional rituals. It attracts a large number of tribals from the neighbouring states of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat apart from the residents of Rajasthan. Baneshwar Fair is organised to worship Lord Shiva.

Mewar Festival, Udaipur: Just as the Marwar festival is typical of Jodhpur, the Mewar festival is typical of Udaipur or the erstwhile Mewar's traditions. This festival is organised around the advent of the spring season, in the March to April period. Songs and dances of Mewar and processions as well as devotional music and fireworks are organised in abundance. Everybody participates including the tourists; this festival is extremely high on the fun quotient.

Summer Festival, Mount Abu: Organised during the peak of summer in the month of June in the only hill station of Rajasthan, as it is the coldest place in the State at that time of the year. A carnival like atmosphere prevails with the various folk events that are organised. A large number of tourists visit Mount Abu during this festival.

Urs Ajmer Sharif, Ajmer: Held in the memory of the revered Sufi Saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti, the Urs is organised according to the lunar calendars. It attracts believers of all faiths as well as tourists from across the world.

 

 

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