Winters in India are magical. It is the season of perfect weather; cool temperatures minus the humidity and heat. It has been traditional peak season for travellers and that has many reasons for it. Winter is the suitable time for sightseeing, host of festivals, heritage walks, food excursions, and many other enriching travel experiences.
The onset of festivities at the world's most beloved cultural hotspot-India is one among the experiences to not miss out on. Once you make plans for India, choose any of the colourful fiestas at any of the charming cities of the country. Winter combined with festivities creates memories that will never fade away. That's why we bring to you the best winter festivals of India that you must miss out on.
Pushkar Fair (November)
Kick-starting the winters in India, Pushkar Fair is a cattle fair in the holy town of Rajasthan’s Pushkar. The rustic charm of the desert along with the colourful traditions, vibrantly dressed people and cattle, especially camels make it a fascinating experience. The best part about the festival is stay in luxury desert camps along with mouth-watering Rajasthani food and culture.
Christmas is a festival worldwide and in India it is a delightful experience. Goa offers a traditional festivity with prayers, masses and carols at the ancient churches. Many of the hill stations in India, like Shimla, have churches dating back to the days of the British Raj celebrating traditional Christmas. Be it a white Christmas or a traditional one, this festival is a worth your time.
Sunburn Goa (December)
A highlight of winters in India, the biggest and most vibrant celebration of electronic dance music (EDM) in Goa, the bustling party capital of the country. A three-day affair, Sunburn Goa is a musical gathering bringing party lovers from all over the world. Goa's picturesque beauty and its pleasant weather further compliments the fiesta.
Rann Mahotsav (December to March)
A unique celebration, the Rann Mahotsav is celebrated on a salt desert, Rann of Kutch in Gujarat. A three-month long fair, it is an event of cultural extravaganza along with stay in one of the largest tent cities in the world. The carnival is host to delicious local cuisine, charming handicraft items, vibrant cultural performances, exciting adventure sports, and much more. The pleasant weather of winter is the only time to visit the pictorial land and the best time would be the full moon nights when the landscape looks ethereal.
Mount Abu Winter Festival (December)
Rajasthan's only hill station; Mount Abu, hosts a famous winter festival. The three day carnival encompasses India's cultural diversity with traditional dances, folk music, concerts, fireworks display, fairs and much more from different states of India. The weather during this period adds to the fun. What more is that, Udaipur is a few hours’ drive away. The beautiful city of Rajasthan is one of the most romantic places in India and the ideal holiday getaway in India.
Jaipur Literature Festival (January)
Kick-starting the New Year, the Jaipur Literature Festival is a literary event with cultural extravaganza. Jaipur’s royal location, magnificent palaces and colourful culture, especially food and shopping.
Kite Festival - Makar Sankranti (January)
Celebrating Indian culture, Makar Sakrnati is a festival that is celebrated in all parts of the country. Besides, tradition and delightful food, it is known as the Kite Festival. Bright kites are seen dotting the sky with many competing to be the best ones.
Camel Festival (January)
The Camel Festival of Bikaner is a two day event dedicated to camels, the pride of deserts. The festival hosts some exhilarating camel performances like camel races, camel rides, and the exclusive camel dances. The popular competitions are like the best decorated camel, camel with the best fur, and best camel haircut. The pleasant weather in the desert makes it an event to not miss out on. As does the camel milk preparations of tea and sweets.
Desert Festival (February)
Bringing life to the barren desert, the Desert Festival in Rajasthan is one of the vibrant festivals in India. Held over a period of three days in the Sam sand dunes, the festival brings together Rajasthan's cultural wealth. Camel parades, polo matches, races, folk concerts, an Air Force show, and the exclusive turban tying & moustache show-off competitions, all combine to offer memories to last lifelong. Stay in the desert luxury camps are an added bonus.
Khajuraho Dance Festival (February)
Held at the backdrop of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Khajuraho Group pf Monuments, the classical dance festival is a treat. Folk music, dances and performances of Indian culture make this a memorable event.
Similar to the Khajuraho Dance Festival, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Mahabalipuram and Konark Sun Temple too organizes classical dance festivals.
Goa Carnival (February-March)
Complete with zest and fun along with culture and tradition, Goa Carnival is an event to miss out on. The four day festive marathon runs all across Goa with floats and troupes of colorful participants pouring in from all sides. The weather is moderately cold with signs of mild humidity. The spirit of the carnival instills a sense of euphoria that lasts for a long time.
Winters in India promise a lot of fun and enthusiasm. All these festivals have their own USP and the climate during winters allows you to embrace the vast and wondrous cultural diversity of India.