Rajasthan Fairs and Festivals
Festivals hold an unusual lure for the Rajasthani, and they
find any number of reasons to celebrate. While some of these are traditional
festivals, there are also a large number that have been recently introduced by
the tourism department to showcase the heritage of a region. Chances are, when
traveling in the state, you will come across any number of local fairs and
festivities in which you can participate. However, some of the larger and more
important celebrations are listed below.
Baneshwar Fair -
Held at Baneshwar at the time of Shivratri (January-February), this is a tribal
fair on the banks of the Mahi and Som rivers in the forested area around the
border of Rajasthan that it shares with Madhya
Pradesh and Gujarat. Bhil tribals from all
three states gather here to worship Shiva, and set camp in colourful
Brij Festival - Staged a few days before Holi (March) in the Brij area
around Bharatpur, it celebrates the festival of spring with spontaneous
expressions of music and dance.
Camel Fair - Held in Bikaner in January, this
celebration is a recent introduction in the desert city with
the only camel breeding farm in the country. Not unexpectedly,
most of the events are staged
around this beast, with camel races and camel dances. There are
also several folk performances, and this may also be your chance
to experience the rare fire
dance staged late at night.
Chaksu Fair - A gathering of people from Jaipur's
rural pockets collects here in almost all forms of transport-laden into tractor
trolleys and jeeps- at what must be one of the most colourful events on the
Rajasthani fair calendar.
Desert Fair - Jaisalmer exercises immense char,
but with the staging of the annual Desert Festival (January-February), it has
also become one of the more important events on the annual calendar.
Essentially, it is a chowcase of the performing arts of the region on the
stretching sands around this desert citadel. A number of amusing events at the
stadium include turban tying competitions and camel races.
Elephant Festival - On the
occasion of Holi in Jaipur, this festival of pachyderms includes several
interesting attractions including elephant polo. The caparisoned elephants,
their bodies painted with floral decorations by the mahouts, are asight to
Gangaur Fair - Idols of Issar and Gangaur, manifestations of Shiva and
Parvati, are worshipped by women, and particularly those unmarried who pray for
a consort of the like of Shiva. Celebrated all over Rajasthan, it has women
taking out processions through the streets of towns, carrying images of the
divine couple. The festival is especially colourful in Jaipur, Udaipur and at
Mandawa in the Shekhawati region.
Kolayat Fair - The sacred site where Kapil Muni is supposed to have
meditated, a fair is held here on the banks of its lakes, and the air bristles
with excitement. Kolayat can be visited from Bikaner.