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Top 5 Festivals in India for foreign visitors

What can be a better idea than to soak up the amazing and vibrant festive atmosphere while visiting India? Bustling crowds, feet-thumping music, bright colours… the list could go on and on!

Read on to find out more about the top 5 festivals in India for foreign visitors so you know just which one to get into and have the most fun in!

1. Diwali/Deepavali

beautiful diwali lighting selective focus

beautiful diwali lighting selective focus

Popularly known as the festival of lights, Diwali as it is known in the North of India and Deepavali, in the South, this festival is India’s most popular festivals. It is also celebrated as the main festival by Indians all across the world.

Diwali is celebrated in the months of either October or November, depending on the Indian calendar. The best festival to enjoy all the food, fun and be dressed in the most decorated of Indian costumes!

2. Holi

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A literally colorful festival that is celebrated all over India in the month of March each year. The festival is seen as a welcoming start to the Spring season. “Out with the old and in with the new”, is what Holi is all about.

Locals take this period to clean out their homes of clutter and it is also advised to be rid of ill-intentions and negative thoughts in your hearts and minds as well.

3. Pongal

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Pongal is celebrated each year in the middle of January, on either the 14th or on the 15th. This festival is a tribute to farmers as well as their animals that are used as labor in the farming process. A very interesting thought and societal consciousness is the crux of this unique Indian festival.

On this 3 day celebration period, farmers are celebrated and thanked for their hard work especially since India has a large agricultural industry. Animals used as labor are also treated especially well on this day and thanked for all the burden that they take upon for the sake of agriculture.

4. Ganesh Chathurthi

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A very enthusiastic and fun-filled celebration that occurs all over India in August or September that revolves around celebrating the Hindu elephant god, Lord Ganesha. Crowds can be seen going out to the streets to celebrate with loud, holy music and dancing.

While in the homes, every family would be involved in the making of sweet delicacies and a special treat known as Modakam which is said to be the favorite rice-flour steamed dumplings of Lord Ganesha. A truly festive and electric atmosphere all around that ends with the crowd submerging the idol of the deity in the sea as a symbol of returning the Lord to his parents, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.

5. Navarathiri

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The popular Hindu festival that literally translates from Sanskrit to mean 9 nights, is celebrated in either September or October. During this 9 day festival, many Hindu stories and scriptures are read which highlight and trace the start of the religion and the important events in it.

Often filled with interesting mythology, Navarathiri is a sacred festival as well. On each of the 9 nights, a different goddess is worshipped and in different manners. A whole range of varying food items are prepared with a great deal of piety.

All of the festivals mentioned above are popular and very welcoming to foreign visitors but as always, it is important to ask and learn the customs before jumping straight into the fun. Being mindful of another’s religion and its customary practices is always essential to ensuring a fun and fruitful experience.

And be sure to plan ahead and check the calendars for the exact period of the festivals as it usually alternates between 2 months according to the Hindu Calendar!

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