Marwar Festival – Held in October in Jodhpur, this annual event attempts to showcase the art and culture of the Jodhpur region. It is devoted almost exclusively to song and dance, and the Maand Festival has become a part of this huge regional celebration.
Mewar Festival – Held to coincide with Gangaur in Udaipur, the whole city turns out to mark the culmination of the 18-days festival, with a procession of floats on pichola lake.
Nagaur Fair – A trading fair for cattle and camels in January-February, it is a wonderful opportunity to catch up on rural life as owners from all over the state come to camp on the outskirts of Nagaur while they buy and sell animals. The hides of the animals, cut into beautiful patterns, are particularly interesting.
Navaratri– The nine days preceding Dussehra are marked by fasting, and one ritual meal a day. In the case of the martial Rajputs, a goat is sacrificed as food for consecration, and the worship of their weapons is obligatory. Usually in September-October, it is a private celebration with no public fanfare.
Pushkar Fair – Easily the most easily identifiable of Rajasthan’s many fairs, Pushkar has come to symbolize the febrile heartbeat of the people of the state. Held in November in Pushkar, the temple town close to Ajmer, where an 8th century temple of Brahma draws the faithful, it is located on the banks of a lake. Pilgrims bathe at the ghats and pray at the temples, while the actual fair is held in the vast stretching desert around it. Here, traders set camp to strike deals at India’s, and probably the world’s, largest camel fair, though horses are also sold. It is also a time for friends and families to get together, camp in the desert, entertain each Pushkar Fair, Camel Fairother with folk songs and dances, cook meals over camp fires, and wander through the exuberant melee of people looking for handicrafts, or merely to stand in a queue for the giant wheel… special tented camps are set up on the occasion for visitors but such is the draw of this fair internationally, that even these are soon exhausted, and people may have to stay in nearby Ajmer, or even as far as Jaipur, visitng here by day.
Sitla Mata Fair – A large fair is held to propitiate the goddess of war whose wrath can be the terrible scrouge of smallpox unless appeased by her followers. Consecrated food on this day consists of stale food left out the previous night. The fair is held in and around the temple dedicated to the goddess in Amber, Jaipur.
Summer Festival – Held in June in Mount Abu, this is one of the few celebrations during the summer months (though it coincides too with the marriage ‘season” which spans, according to planetary chartings, from May-July). In the cool environs of the hill town, it is time to relax while folk performances are staged, particularly of the Bhil tribes of the region.
Teej – Another festival dedicated to the worship of Shiva and Parvathi, this time it is married women who pray for a long, happy marital life during the monsoon months of July-August. Though celebrations are held all over the state, they are particularly colourful in Jaipur where a procession wends its way through the heart of the old city. Women dress in their finery and spend time in groups at swings that are specially erected for the festival.
Urs Ajmer Sharif – Held in the holy town of Ajmer in honour of the Sufi saint, Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, special prayers are offered at the mosque, and huge amounts of consecrated food offered from the large, steaming cauldrons that were a gift from Akbar. While quwwallis are sung at night, the celebrations unite people of all faiths, and the complete town is decorated with buntings, and wears the spirit of festivity.