The flamboyance of the Rajasthani people can be seen during the numerous Jaipur festivals they celebrate. The vibrance and lush colour erupts even more magnificently against the backdrop of the sandy dunes that one imagines populates Rajasthan. But truly, festivals are a way to understand the heritage and culture better and visitors are often enthralled by how exciting everything seems to be. There are some interesting ceremonies as well as music and dance performances and these events in Jaipur help showcase the true Rajasthani heritage and culture.
Celebrating these festivals is a way of preserving the past while maintaining the momentum about the future. The many majestic forts and palaces here are often the host to some of these Jaipur festivals and they transform into venues that might seem to be straight out of an opulent movie set. If you have never seen any of these festivals, you won’t know what you’re missing. Here’s a list of some events in Jaipur that you should surely not miss.
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Teej is a traditional festival which is one of the most important and celebrated ones in Jaipur. Women dress up in traditional attire, wear jewellery and apply henna on their palms. People gather together in temples where they worship Goddess Parvati. Married women pray for the long lives of their husband while unmarried girls pray to find the right match. Typically, women fast on Teej and later on, there are folk dances and songs and other fun activities that take place on this day.
On January 14 every year, look up at the sky in Jaipur and a smile will break out on your face. There are colourful kites everywhere, to celebrate the Kite Festival. Kites of different shapes, sizes and colours soar high into the sky while in the night there are fireworks. There are also several kite flying competitions that take place throughout the day.
Elephants are entwined with royalty from centuries and at the Elephant Festival in Jaipur, it’s time to give them their due. The majestic mammals are decked out, dressed in vibrant colours with anklets and coloured powder decorating their bodies. The elephant procession will leave you dazzled as you watch the gentle giants sway and walk away.
Touted to be the mother of all literature festivals in India (and there are nearly a hundred now), Jaipur Literature Festival is one of the most awaited events in Jaipur. Lakhs of people attend the five-day festival for a chance to meet their favourite authors. There are panel discussions, book readings and various other talks at the festival and JLF is known for the stellar line up of international authors it draws.
This five-day festival which takes place in January sees a great number of people from all over the world turn up in Jaipur. This is a wonderful event which promotes exchange of knowledge and brings movies from all parts of the world to Jaipur.
Touted to be one of the most colourful festivals celebrated in Jaipur, this is celebrated from March till April. During this festival, clay idols of Lord Shiva and Goddess Gauri are worshipped. Married women pray for the long life of their husbands and unmarried girls pray to get the right match.
There’s almost a carnival like quality to this colourful festival which is celebrated throughout Rajasthan and not just in Jaipur. In a beautifully decorated palanquin, the goddess Teej is taken out in a procession followed by decorated camels, performers, musicians and several other colourfully dressed people. The festivities around this event are spectacular while there’s special significance for married couples during this festival. There are fairs and bazaars selling handicrafts and this month-long event begins in July and ends in August.
For a spectacular festival with lights, action and drama, try not to miss the Jaipur Dussehra Festival which takes place in the months of September and October. It celebrates the victory of Lord Rama over Ravana and victory of Goddess Durga over the Mahishasur. Dussehra sees huge droves of people turn up to see the dramatization of Ram Leela and the festival culminates with the burning of an effigy of Ravana. The Dussehra fair is supposed to be one of the largest fairs in Jaipur and lots of people to partake in the festivities and also do a good bit of shopping. The giant size effigy of Ravana is burned at night at various places and is a spectacle on its own.
This 500-year-old celebration is held in a small village called Looniyabaas, around 20 kms from Jaipur. This event is typically held so that people can buy and sell donkeys and the animals are adorned with a number of colours and accessories. There are various activities also such as donkey races and while it’s fun to watch, it’s also an important event which helps support donkeys and ensures their better breeding and racing. Typically, the people who show up to this festival to trade in donkeys are those who use them in their daily work, such as washer men, farmers and potters.