The culture of Rajasthan is rich and varied with several festivals celebrated in different districts. The land of Kings is a vibrant and colourful state where tradition and culture go hand in hand. Just as we name the state, we think of colours and brightness, royalty and hospitality, celebrations and feasts, music, and dance, culture and tradition, history and heritage. Someone who is planning to visit Rajasthan need to witnees the local festival in Rajasthan.
The many fairs and festivals of Rajasthan are some of its major attractions and are celebrated with great pomp, happiness, and grandeur. From rich colours and vivacity to merriments, grand feasts, music, dance, art, and culture, the myriad of festivals celebrated in the state is something one must experience at least once in their lifetime. These undeniably, equally popular festivals are for sure a celebration of life, heritage, and culture in true Rajasthani style. It provides an opportunity for tourists to visit the different colours of the state.
Here are some of the festivals of Rajasthan you must experience at least once in your lifetime.
Famous Local Festivals to Celebrate in Rajasthan
Teej Festival- Jaipur
One of West India’s biggest festivals, Teej commemorates two things- a woman’s love for her husband and the arrival of monsoon, greenery, and birds. The festival is mainly for women and includes singing, dancing, getting together with friends and narrating stories, applying henna on hands and feet, wearing brightly coloured Lehariya sarees, sharing festive foods, and playing under trees on swings on Haryali Teej.
Teej plays a significant role in women’s lives as they celebrate this festival in honour of Goddess Parvati, who is also known as ‘Teej Mata’. Women pray to the goddess seeking the wellness of their husbands. On this occasion, a royal procession of Goddess Teej comprising of camels, dancing folk artists, royal palanquins, chariots, and bullock carts, starts from the City Palace. It then moves winding its way through Tripolia Bazaar and Choti Chaupar on both days in Jaipur. The traditional sweet Ghewar is also closely associated with the festival and enjoyed heartily over its duration.
Gangaur Festival- Jaipur
The word Gangaur is a combination of two words- Gan which is a synonym for Lord Shiva and Gaur which is used to refer to Goddess Parvati. Gangaur celebrates the union of the two and is a symbol of conjugal and marital happiness. The Goddess is revered and worshipped for possessing many qualities such as marital love, courage, strength, and power. Married women pray that their husbands continue to make wealth and provide for the family.
The worship starts on the first day of the Chaitra month and culminates on the 18th day into the Gangaur festival which is celebrated with huge fanfare in Rajasthan by women. On the eve of Gangaur, women decorate their palms and fingers with henna. The idols of Gan and Gauri are immersed in a pond or a nearby lake on the last day of this festival.
A traditional procession of Gangaur also takes place in Jaipur headed by a colourful pageantry of old palanquins, chariots, bullock carts, and performing folk artists.
Marwar Festival- Jodhpur
The most popular festival in Jodhpur is the Marwar Festival. Originally known as the Maand Festival, this two-day festival is held every year in the month of Ashwin (between September and October). This festival is held in memory of the heroes of the state. The venues of this festival include the famous Clock Tower and Osian’s dunes.
The best of folk dancers and musicians assemble to provide great performances that retain their legacies. These folk artists give you a peek into the days of yore, of battles, and of heroes of fight. Among other attractions at the festival are the Camel Tattoo Show and various competitions. Some of them Moustache, Turban Tying, Tug of War, Matka Race, Traditional Dress Competition and so much more.
Mewar Festival- Udaipur
The city of Udaipur comes alive with colours and festivities during the Mewar Festival which marks the advent of spring. The spirit of the festival can be seen throughout the state; but since Udaipur has always been the governing place for Mewar rulers, one can observe the distinct flavours of the festival here. The whole city seems to be drenched in vibrant colours and the local markets and shops decorate their facades with bright lights and decorations.
The festival is especially meant for women and presents them with an opportunity to dress in their finest. Women assemble to dress the images of Isar (Lord Shiva) and Gangaur (Goddess Parvati) and carry them in a procession through the city, finally immersing them at the Gangaur Ghat of Pichola Lake.
After the completion of these rituals, cultural activities begin with full excitement. It is enriching to watch locals perform dance and dramas, along with some fine performances by singers and musicians.
Desert Festival, Jaisalmer
The vibrant desert festival in Jaisalmer is a wonderful opportunity to experience the sandstones and magical castles. Held in February, the festival is about camel races, competitions involving turban tying, and a host of cultural extravaganzas. This three-day event is organized by the Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation and was initially started for foreign tourists.
In these three days, the many facets and the cultural backdrop of Rajasthan are squeezed into the itinerary. Rajasthani folk singers and dancers enthral the audience with their pure art form. The fair and fire dancers also steal the show. The final countdown to the gala events starts with the visit to the Sand Dunes. Over here, festival revellers get to ride the camels and folk artists perform way into the night silhouetted by dunes.
Pushkar Fair, Pushkar
The Pushkar Camel Fair or Pushkar Mela is celebrated in the month of Kartik (between October and November). This five-day camel and livestock fair is held in the town of Pushkar, on the banks of the Pushkar Lake. It is one of the world’s largest camel fairs. Apart from trade livestock mant cultural things happens here.
It draws in 50,000 camels and 200,000 people from all parts of the world. One can witness unusual performances like camel dancing, bump riding, neck shaking, and various other things. A huge camel procession is organized on the 1st day followed by various competitions and trading activities. Owners decorate their camels with paints, jewellery, clothes, etc. On the last day, fireworks are organized to lighten up the entire city and illuminate the deserts of Pushkar.
Summer and Winter Festivals, Mt. Abu
Celebrated to showcase the warmth and culture of the people belonging to the only hill station in Rajasthan, both these festivals are held over three days in May and December respectively. Soulful ballad singing kicks off the summer festival in style. It is followed by mesmerizing folk dance styles of Gair, Ghoomar, and Daph. The festival also hosts horse racing events, tug of war, skating races, CRPF band show, and boat races on the Nakki Lake.
Winter festival is a rare combination of cultural vibrancy, stunning handicrafts, and delicious food, set against a scenic backdrop. It is also known for its sporting and entertainment events, such as kite flying, rowing competitions, and poetry reading sessions. Also, it is the only festival in Rajasthan where cricket has introduced as a part of the celebration. A grand procession marks the beginning of the festival, and it culminates at the Nakki Lake with the ‘Deepdaan’ ceremony in the evening, where hundreds of Diyas are set afloat in the water as a form of respect.
Rajasthan is a unique place that believes in celebrating life. The journey of Rajasthan is incomplete unless you have a experience fairs and festivals that it has to offer. To add more fun to these celebrations various activities and competitions exist organized. Some of them are turban tying, puppet shows, camel races, Mr. and Miss. Desert competition, folk music, and dance performances, bullfighting, camels, and cattle trading.
Top 20 Local Festivals to celebrate in Rajasthan
|Pushkar Camel Fair
|Largest camel fair in the world
|Jaipur Literature Festival
|Literary discussions and cultural events
|Celebrating the goddess Gauri
|Women’s celebration with swings
|Cultural performances in the desert
|Festival of lights and fireworks
|Colorful celebration of spring
|Jaipur and more
|Kite flying and feasting
|Cultural events and processions
|Folk music and dance performances
|Elephant parades and competitions
|Shri Mahavirji Fair
|Devotional fair at a Jain temple
|Traditional music, dance, and crafts
|Cattle trading and folk entertainment
|Sheetla Mata Fair
|Worship of the goddess Sheetla Mata
|Colorful kite flying in the sky
|Devotional fair for Gogaji deity
|Tribal fair with folk performances
|Matchmaking event for local singles
|Cultural programs and rituals
Rajasthan has many local festivals which people here celebrate with full joy. Some of them are Gangaur, Teej, Pushkar Mela, Khatu Shyam Mela, and many more.
All the major festivals of India are celebrated in Jaipur. Local tradition, people here celebrate the Ganguar, Teej and Makar Sankranti with dull joy and happiness.