When you think of the state of Rajasthan you immediately picture beautiful deserts, regal palaces and pristine blue lakes. Its grand monuments, cultural history, and large tracts of desert land make Rajasthan one of the most diverse and attractive states to visit in India. It’s fitting then that the state would also be home to some of the most colourful festivals and events in the world.
Rajasthan festivals are a celebration of life, heritage, and culture - and are renowned world-over for their beauty. Whether it’s a quaint folk festival in Jodhpur or a crazy camel fair in Pushkar, you can be sure that the festivals celebrated in Rajasthan have something to offer to everyone. Make sure you plan a trip around one of these famous festivals and events for a once in a lifetime experience.
Of all Rajasthan festivals, this is one book lovers are not going to want to miss. The world’s largest free literary festival is held every year in Rajasthan and attended by thousands of literature enthusiasts from across the country. The impressive line-up of speakers includes Nobel laureates, Man Booker prize winners, and young and upcoming novelists. As a bonus, it’s held at the gorgeous Diggi Palace in the heart of the beautiful city of Jaipur.
Of all Rajasthan events, this is one you won’t want to miss if you’re a fan of live music. Held every October at the stunning Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur, the International Folk Festival plays host to some of the finest local, as well as international, musicians and singers. Patronised by the Maharaja of Jodhpur and Sir Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones, this event is held on the brightest full moon night of the year and boasts of over 200 live acts spread out over five days of food, drink and good times. What more could you ask for?
Held in honour of the humble camel, this festival is celebrated every year in January and is home to some of the most extravagant parades and beautiful scenery. The Camel Festival is held by the magnificent Junagarh Fort and hosts a number of exciting events in honour of the camel, such as a camel race, a camel tug-of-war and a camel dressing competition. The festival also hosts a number of folk artists from the state and internationally. The festivities end with a stunning display of fireworks over the Fort.
Long before Burning Man, India had its own desert festival, with a twist. Every year, the tourist town of Pushkar hosts a five-day camel and livestock trading fair, which attracts hordes of tourists to the banks of the lake. Apart from the cattle trade, the town lights up with scores of music and dance performances, traditional puppet shows, art exhibits, and stalls selling tasty treats. This is one of the most famous festivals in Rajasthan. You must participate if you’re looking for a memorable experience.
Every year, during Makar Sankranti, Rajasthan invites tourists to take part in the International Kite Festival. Both the cities of Jaipur and Jodhpur transform during this two-day festival into a showcase for some of the most beautiful kites from all over the world. Take part in the massive kite war, or wind down with a meal at a food stall - you can be sure that of all festivals celebrated in Rajasthan, this is one you don’t want to miss.
This three-day celebration of the desert is the most popular of all Rajasthan festivals. Held in the month of February, the Desert Festival is a showcase of the rituals and traditions of life in Rajasthan and is attended by thousands of people from across the country. Don’t be surprised if you see a camel race, professional moustache twirling or a turban tying competition - these are normal occurrences at the Desert Festival! This along with some of the finest food stalls in north India will ensure that these three days will some of the most memorable of your life.
Rajasthan celebrates Holi a couple of days earlier than the rest of India, with huge funfare. Travel down to Bharatpur to take part in some of the activities, that include lots of singing, dancing, and of course, colour. Join in with the locals as they take the famous dip in the Banganga River or make your way to the Lord Krishna temple with the thousands of devotees who gather there to pay their respects.
Every year, during Dussehra in the month of October, the city of Kota is home to an Adventure Festival. Perfect for those who prefer the outdoors, activities on offer include parasailing, kayaking, and rock climbing. The beautiful treks and fun water activities on the Chambal river make this one of the most scenic festivals. It’s no wonder then that it attracts tourists from all over the country. The festival wraps up with its famous Dusshera celebration, where an almost 75-foot statue of Raavan is set on fire.
These are just some of the hundreds of Rajasthan festivals that have tourists flocking to the state all through the year. You can guarantee that any trip to Rajasthan will be full of colour, light and good times. In case you’re still not sure about when to travel, or what festival you want to visit, let SOTC help you plan your trip further with our Rajasthan tour packages, while you get packing.