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Top Fall Festivals in India

©istockphoto/SoumenNath

©istockphoto/SoumenNath

India is known to be hot, humid and harsh in the summer thanks to monsoons. The fall season is the perfect time to discover India during temperate climates while exploring its true ethnic culture. From tika powder to camels, these are the top festivals to explore in India during the fall season.

Diwali
Diwali is one of the most popular cultural rituals in India with tourists and is one of the largest Hindu festivals. Diwali, also known as Deepavali and “Festival of Lights”, is a five-day celebration to observe Hindu New Year. Hindus, Sikhs and Jains observe this holiday. Each year the celebration dates change as the celebration follows the lunar cycle. The actual Diwali occurs on the day when the moon wanes and night sky darkness set in. This joyful and happy celebration flourishes with lights to overcome the darkness where light prevails and tourism flourishes with excitement. Expect to see vibrant clothing; lights, lanterns and tika powder flourish the streets.

Navratri
Navratri translates to “nine nights.” This ten day, nine night dancing festival honors Mother Goddess including Lakshmi, Durga and Saraswati. Traditional dances include Gujurat where dancers frolic in a circle, dressed in vibrant fashion. The festival occurs all over India but Mumbai’s streets and nightclubs flood with festivities including disco dandiya—a modern celebration of ancient tradition. The final and tenth day of this festival is known as Dasara. Diwali is celebrated twenty days after Dasara.

Pushkar Camel Fair
Throughout the tiny desert of Pushkar, some 50,000 camels dress their best in light of India’s most camel-iffic celebration. This five-day festival includes camel parades, fashion contests and raced throughout the sandy streets. Locals set up stands to sell bells and bangles to hoof upon camels’ legs. Listen to the jingles as the camels crowd the street and awe the audience with sight, sounds and of course, scent.

Onam
Onam is a 10-day harvest festival where locals celebrate the homecoming of King Mahabali. Legend has it that Mahabli has been a part of Kerala since pre-historic days, and still visits from the unforeseen world to make sure his people are happy and whole. This festival is celebrated in Kerala, India. It is common to find locals decorating the ground with intricate geometric images made from flowers. Food, culture and tradition are served such as eating from banana leaves and snake boats racing down stream.

Paryushan Parva
This Jain festival celebrates man’s materialization into the spiritual world. The festival is organized on the auspicious month, “Bhadrapad,”on the Hindu calendar, which extends from the fifth to the fourteenth day of the bright fortnight.  This festival serves purpose to those seeking self-purification and adheres to ten universal vows. The ten cardinal values celebrated during this festival including: forgiveness, charity, simplicity, contentment, truthfulness, self-restraint, fasting, humility, detachment and continence. In simple terms, this is a festival to purify the soul and reflect on life’s shortcomings.

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