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India is a land of culture, color and celebration! In our opinion, the best time to visit any country would be during the time of a festival as that is one of the best ways to fully immerse yourself in the culture of the country, get to know the locals, experience the best of their traditional cuisines and of course to get wonderful pictures of it all! When it comes to India, we celebrate all festivals from the start of the harvest cycle to the end of the lunar cycle. So it would be safe to say that the Indian festive calendar is the longest in the world. Thus any time and every time is a good time to visit the beautiful India!

Now, we do not want to discredit any festival by not mentioning it in our list, but some festivals are celebrated with so much grandeur that they simply cannot be left out! Here are some of the most famous Fairs and Festivals of North India that you must explore on your visit to India-

January

1. Lohri, Punjab

The state of Punjab celebrates Lohri, which is the harvest festival of the state, on 14th   January every year. Lohri also marks the day of Winter solstice, when the day is shortest and the night is longest. The festival is celebrated by making a bonfire, around which the Punjabis perform Bhangra. Apart from Bhangra, various other folk dances are performed and songs are sung and a grand feast with traditional Punjabi dishes such as sarson ka saag, makki di roti and delicacies made out of jaggery and groundnuts are prepared!

February

2.     Taj Mahotsav, Agra

Photo by Sylwia Bartyzel / Unsplash

Taj Mahotsav is celebrated from 18th to 27thFebruary every year in Agra, Uttar Pradesh which is home to one of the seven wonders of the world –The Taj Mahal.The festival begins with a grand procession that takes place from the east gate of the Taj Mahal, during which elephants and camels are decorated with vibrant bridles and jewelry and 400 artists selected from across India display their art.

March

3.     Kumbh Mela

Pushkar Fair, Camel Ride
Photo by Ashish Sangai / Unsplash

Kumbh Mela is the biggest fair in India as about 10 million people attend this fair each day. A mass Hindu pilgrimage takes place in a cycle of 12 years, once in every 3 years at one of these 4 places -Ujjain, Allahabad, Nashik and Haridwar. In this festival, Hindu devotees bathe in holy water to cleanse them of their sins. Apart from a dip the in holy waters, the grand festival of Kumbh Mela involves devotional chanting and giving food to thousands of holy men and women. Kumbh Mela usually lasts for an entire month from January to April.

April

4.     Tulip Festival, Kashmir

Taken at the Tulip Festival in Skagit Valley, Washington, on a warm, sunny yet very windy day. The colors in this photo give me a warm sense of happiness.
Photo by Alessandro Segala / Unsplash

In the month of April, Srinagar hosts its annual Tulip festival to celebrate the blooming season of the majestic Tulip flowers. The Tulip festival is held in the Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden in Srinagar. The Tulip festival is one of its kind in India and will surely take your breath way with its astounding beauty, vibrant colors and sweet-smelling serene atmosphere!

June

5.     Hemis Festival, Ladakh

Cheerful Sinulog dancers
Photo by Herbert Kikoy / Unsplash

The Hemis Jangchub Choling Monastery of Ladakhannually hosts the Hemis Festival, which celebrates the birth of Padmasambhava, the spiritual leader and founder of Tantric Buddhism.The main element of this festival is the colorful masked monk dance. The entire monastery is decorated with colorful temple flags and decorative torans. You must visit Ladakh during the end of June to experience the various traditional rituals, folk dances and music and art exhibitions. During this festival the ancient scripts and scrolls of the monastery will be open for public viewing. Many believe that viewing those scrolls is said to bring prosperity!

July/ August

6.     Shikara Festival, Kashmir

Srinagar Dal lake Floating Market.
The Dal Lake is also famous for its 'floating vegetable market', the only one of its kind in India and only the second in the world, the other being the rowing shops along the backwaters of the Mekong Delta in Vietnam. Please follow me on Instagram @amits_pictography
Photo by Amit Jain / Unsplash

The Shikara, which is the lifeline and identity of the Dal Lake in Kashmir, deserves to be celebrated atleast once in a year. To promote tourism, Kashmir's government began the Shikara festival in 2016, during the month of July/ August each year. During the festival, Shikaras are beautifully decorated and painted in bright colors. An annual Shikara race is held along with other races such as Dragon Boat Race and Canoe Polo Match. Visit Kashmir during these months to enjoy the sight of the beautiful Shikaras in the mesmerizing Dal Lake.

November

7.     Diwali

Beautiful combination of diyas and candles layed out beautifully for Diwali.
Diwali, india, night, makar sankranti, festival, tradition, culture, ancient, jaipur
Photo by Udayaditya Barua / Unsplash

Diwali is best known as the festival of lights. Diwali is a Hindu festival that is celebrated throughout the country as it marks the day of return of Lord Ram and Sita from their exile. People decorate their houses with lights and earthen diyas, prepare numerous sweet and savory delicacies and burst crackers and fireworks. Diwali is undoubtedly one of the most famous and beautiful festivals of India!

Festivals present wonderful opportunities to take pictures. Don’t forget to hire vacationphotographers from Travorapherto accompany you and make sure that your pictures capture the true essence of the festivities around you!