India is a salad bowl of many cultures which span the entire length and breadth of the country. It is every traveller’s dream destination because of the age-old traditions living and breathing in the shadows of a fast-changing world populated by technology entrusted to it by globalisation.
As these cultures draw dying rasps of breath, it becomes important to appreciate the concerted efforts made by certain institutions and communities aimed at reviving them and preserving them.
Jaipur Literature Festival
JLF is the Mecca for book-lovers and it sure didn't disappoint. One can spot authors, journalists, filmmakers and other artists all around who are more than willing to lend an ear to anyone interested in their work.
The bookstores stock some of the best works to which people flock throughout the day and everyone looks forward to the power-packed musical performances which warm the winter nights.
The ‘marriage-mart’ fair of Tarnetar with its bedecked grooms carrying ornate umbrellas was just as fascinating in reality as in photographs.
The rural olympics is a special feature of this fair and the cattle display is worth watching.
Traditional handicrafts and culture of Gujarat like the Hudo and Raas dance can be experienced here.
When: First week of Bhadrapad
The biggest camel fair in the world attracted everyone because of the interesting array of competitions like the longest moustache, bridal and matkaphod.
The fair is visually dynamic and is especially appealing because of the Rajasthani folk culture on display.
The food on offer is a melange of traditional Rajasthani like dal bati choorma and exotic options like pasta and pizza.
When: Between Kartik Ekadashi and Kartik Poornima
The songs of the Baul singers attracts everyone to the Poush mela of Shantiniketan.
Bengali art and culture are showcased during the fair which marks the anniversary of the adoption of Brahmo by Devendra Tagore.
Where: West Bengal
When: Seventh Day of Poush
The panoramic visuals of Ahmedabad’s sky which had beckoned to appear in all its colourful glory during the International Kite Festival.
Citizens from 42 countries participate in the age-old custom of flying kites to awaken gods as the winter dies and another summer is born.
When: Makar Sankranti
If one is in search of a platform to experience the best of Indian art, culture, and food in a limited time, the annual Qutub festival is the answer.
One of the oldest monuments of Delhi, the charm of the Qutub Minar is accentuated manifold during the annual Qutub festival which swarms with people who come to enjoy poetry and ghazal recitals, dance recitals, and food.
Hola Mohalla, also called Hola, is a one-day Sikh festival which most often falls in March and takes place on the second day of the lunar month of Chett, a day after the Hindu spring festival Holi but sometimes coincides with Holi.
The military-style procession is followed by kirtan and recitals of poetry. One must visit to experience Sikh tradition and culture.
The river Pampa pulsating with synchronised strokes of boatmen in Chundan Valams is a site worth watching.
The traditional songs that the boatmen sing sets a pace to which the crowd finds itself hooked.
The boatmen dressed in white mundus and turbans are served Aranmula Vallasadya (traditional banquet) which is appetising, to say the least.
When: During Onam
The esoteric dance of the masked lamas at the Hemis festival was more mystical in reality than the pictures promised.
The surrounding desert engulfs one in an embrace of incredulity which is broken by the cymbals and drums of the players.
The colourful extravaganza is something which should not be missed.