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Winter festivals of India

Friday, November 20th, 2015

Winter is here, and there’s a reason it’s the most popular time for travel within India. It brings along pleasant daytime temperatures in the regions with tropical climates and spectacular sceneries in the hill stations. This is the best time for beach holidays and road trips too. But the fun doesn’t have to end here, for the varied cultures of India have come up with a wide range of festivals and celebrations to make the most of this beautiful weather.

Some of the most important and popular of winter festivals in India are also some of the most colourful and exciting ones, and have been a part of the country’s history. Following is a list of some of the most popularly celebrated winter festivals of India.

  1. Diwali – The first of all the winter festivals of India is Diwali. Celebrated usually either at the end of autumn or beginning of winter it is an ancient Hindu festival, and is a celebration of lights. One of the biggest and definitely the brightest celebration of the land, diwali is celebrated by bursting of crackers, decorating one’s entire house with lights and the coming together of the entire family to mark the festivities.
  2. Makar Sankranti – Also known as “Uttarayan Sankranti” this festival marks the synchronization of the lunar and solar calendars and is believed to be the most important of harvest days in India. Widely celebrated in Eastern India, this festival merges celebration with the charitable nature of the people. While this day witnesses a grand fair and festivities being held at the Ganga Sagar with millions of devotees taking the holy dip in the Ganges, a variety of dishes are cooked across all households in the east, and alms given to the poor. The festival has other derivations of it celebrated in other parts of India as well e.g. Pongal and Lodi.
  3. Kite Festival, Gujarat – A part of the Uttarayan or Makar Sankranti, Gujarat’s International Kite Festival is one of the biggest festivals of the state. Held on the 14th to 15thJanuary every year, this festival is celebrated by the people who indulge in a state-wide kite flying competition. The Skies of Gujarat are peppered with variegated kites of different shapes and sizes, as every member of each family is caught up in a friendly yet highly exciting game of kite flying.

    kite festival - winter festivals of india

    Kite Festival

  4. Lohri, Punjab – Another derivative of the Makar Sankranti or harvest festival, Lohri is a festival of Punjab that is celebrated with a bonfire and marks the shortest day and important harvest day of the year. Celebrated widely all across Northern India the festival involves delicious Punjabi food like Sarson da Saag and Punjabi folk dance performed by all the members of the community.
  5. Pongal, Tamil Nadu – While Makar Sankranti and Lohri are celebrated across northern and eastern India, Pongal is a harvest festival celebrated in Southern India, specifically Tamil Nadu, in honour of the Sun and Rain Gods as a mark of gratitude for the abundance of paddy crps harvested by the farmers during the winter months. Pongal is a four day festival usually celebrated in mid-January with offerings being made to different Gods through a variety of events and dishes being made.
  6. Magh Bihu Festival – Magh Bihu commonly known as Bhogali Bihu is also a harvest festival and one among the three Bihu celebrations conducted in the East Indian state of Assam. The festival is similar to Punjab’s Lohri as this is too a  festoval marked with bonfires, folk dances and delicious local food like Til Pitha, Laru and Sunga Pitha additionally, the celebrations also involves games and events like the tekeli bhonga and buffalo fighting.
  7. Carnival festivals, Goa– Also known as the Festival of Goa this festival is celebrated generally in the month of February and is one of the most renowned celebrations of the state. The three day festival showcases the fun and colourful nature endemic to Goa as a great carnival is carried out with good music, great food, lots of entertainment ended with a pinch of hangover from all the merrymaking.

    Goa carnival - winter festivals of india

    Goa Carnival

  8. Rannutsav, Rann of Kutch – The Kutch Rannutsav is another spectacular festival from the treasure trove of Gujarat’s festival. The festival celebrates the culture of Kutch along with its music, dance, people, nature and its famous designs.
  9. Winter Carnival, Manali – Another wonderful carnival celebration of India but this time carried out in the picturesque land of Manali, Himachal Pradesh, this festival can be enjoyed by visitors of any age or background. The carnival is celebrated with numerous events like folk dances, winter sports and the charming sights of quaint Manali.
  10. Christmas and New Years – Apart from the regionally celebrated festivals, every state in India celebrates with great gusto both Christmas day and New Year’s Day with plenty of food, fun and lights all around.

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About me

The wise man travels to discover himself - JR Lowell


My name is Sudha Mathew. I'm an ex-banker who quit the rat race after a decade to follow my passion for travel and to combine it with my experience in understanding client requirements and exceeding their expectations.


While our content is mostly about the holiday experience, the accommodation and services, there's so much more to a journey. I have discovered a whole new me through travel. So I've reserved this corner of the website to share the unexpected aspects of travel. This space is also to hear from you about your journeys and discoveries. Bon Voyage!

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