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Guide to Fairs and Festivals of Rajasthan

 
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    Guide to Fairs and Festivals of Rajasthan

    Image Credits: Whiskeyandtears-flickr

    Rajasthan, the land of Maharajas was once a glorious place where kings, queens, princes, and soldiers lived. Still carrying these reminisces of the past, today, it is a melting pot of culture, history, and heritage. Fairs and festivals of Rajasthan is known by one and all. Although a substantial portion of the state of Rajasthan is a desert, these fairs and festivals add color and life to the regions. You will come to know exactly why when you travel to Rajasthan during their festive season.

    Below are the fascinating festivals of Rajasthan:

    1. Mewar Festival, Udaipur

    Image Credits: Annie

    Mewar Festival welcomes the spring season. Observed and celebrated throughout Rajasthan, it is treated with a lot of zest and camaraderie. Udaipur is the epicenter of this festival as Mewar rulers governed the state from Udaipur. So, this is the place to be to get the best experience this festival. During this time, the city of Udaipur wears a different look.

    [Explore the forts of Rajasthan with our Majestic Rajasthan Holiday tour]

    The whole city seems to be drenched in the colors of the fiesta. This is evident from how the shops and establishments in Udaipur decorate their external surroundings. Bright lights and decorative art are displayed in front of commercial establishments.

    The Mewar Festival is yet another festival in Rajasthan that has significance for women. During this time, women dress in their finest attire and look their best. One of the highlights here is the dressing up of Isar, who is an incarnation of Lord Shiva.

    [Discover the best cities of Rajasthan with our Rajasthan Tour with Golden Triangle package]

    Gangaur (Parvati) is dressed up as well. These idols are then carried through the streets in a grand procession. The destination of the procession is towards the Gangaur Ghat that is located at Pichola Lake. The idols are placed in boats and immersed into the lake. After this, people dance and celebrate. Many cultural events are held along with fireworks.

    Distance from Delhi : 682 km
    Time of Celebration : March/April
    Timings : All day and Night
    Duration of Celebration: One to two days
    Celebrated : In and around Udaipur
    Activities : During this festival, women beautify themselves in the best possible way.  They wrap themselves in colourful saris and adorn traditional jewellery. Festivity can be seen all across Udaipur
    Accomodation and Food: Check out the Best Places to stay

    2. Teej Festival, Jaipur

    Image Credits: Ricardo Romano

    Teej is celebrated during the monsoon season, between July and August. On this occasion, married women seek the blessings of Lord Shiva and Parvati for a happy marital life. The festival is a precursor to the monsoon. It welcomes the rains given that Rajasthan’s many areas are desert regions. Teej Festival is also the festival of swings. Hung from trees, the swings are elaborately decorated, especially with flowers. Women are dressed in traditional costumes that are mostly green in color. During this time, married women sing and dance and invoke the blessings of the almighty.

    [Explore the rich culture and heritage of Rajasthan with our Rajasthan Village Tour]

    These married women are also given gifts from their parents. Usually, they are items that women use to beautify themselves such as henna, vermillion, bangles, and bindi. Gifts include sweets as well with Ghevar, a special type of Rajasthani sweet being the most popular. Lahariya, a multicolored sari is another thing that is received by these women with glee. On this day of the festival, married women wear the sari and beautify themselves. Fairs and processions are conducted in honor of Goddess Teej – the incarnation of Parvati.

    Distance from Delhi :  277 km
    Time of Celebration :
    July-August
    Timings : All day and Night
    Duration of Celebration: One to two days
    Celebrated : In and around Jaipur
    Activities : During this auspicious celebration, a procession is held from the Tripola Gate to Chaugan Stadium. Elephants,       horses and camels are decorated at their best and the fleet lead the procession of Goddess Teej, accompanied by folk music   and songs.
    Accomodation and food : Check out the best places to stay in jaipur

    3. Gangaur Festival, Jaipur

    The Gangaur Festival is celebrated with much aplomb across Rajasthan. The word Gangaur is a combination of two words - Gan which is a synonym for Lord Shiva and Gaur which is used to refer Goddess Parvati. This festival is held in commemoration of Goddess Parvati. The Goddess is revered and worshipped for possessing many qualities such as marital love, courage, strength, and power.  Married women worship the deity for happiness and a long married life. They pray that their husbands continue to make wealth and provide for the family.

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    The Gangaur festival is celebrated during March and April. This is during the month of Chaitra, which as per the Hindu calendar is the starting month. Married women observe fast and eat only once a day. During the festival, these women wear new clothes and jewelry. They apply mehandi on their feet and decorate their palms with henna. On the seventh day of the festival, women carry earthen pots on their heads that are used as containers for gifts received from elders. The ritual lasts for approximately ten days. On the final day the earthen pots are broken. A procession takes place during this day starting from Zanani-Deodhi in Rajasthan and concluding at Talkatora.

    Distance from Delhi :  277 km
    Time of Celebration :
    March/April
    Timings : All day and Night
    Duration of Celebration: 18 Days
    Celebrated : In and around Jaipur
    Activities : Women make clay idols and on the 7th day of the festival, they break the earthen pots and dispose the pieces       into water. The idols are also immersed in water on this day. Ghewar, a typical Rajasthani sweet is widely enjoyed during       this festival.
    Accomodation and food : Check out a few popular Hotels in Jaipur

    4. Elephant Festival, Jaipur

    Image Credits: Koen-flickr

    The Elephant Festival is held every year during February and March at Jaipur and is among the prominent fairs and festivals of Rajasthan. As is evident, elephants are the center of attention in the festival who are cleaned thoroughly, painted with bright colors, and draped in jewelry. Large anklets are placed on their gigantic feet. Their torsos are decorated with motifs and ornamental rugs are placed on their backs.

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    The ears of these gigantic pachyderms are fitted with earrings. Their tusks are fitted with circular bracelets and rings made of silver. Mahouts manning these elephants are dressed to detail as well. They appear royal and princely in their brocade jackets and brightly textured turbans. All of this does not go wasted given that there is a prize for the best dressed elephant and mahout.

    [Take a royal tour of Rajasthan with our Royal Rajasthan Tour]

    This festival presents an opportunity to see grandly decorated pachyderms. Organized by the Rajasthan Tourism, the festival is held in the Jaipur Polo grounds. These regal creatures are dressed and paraded across the length and breadth of the grounds. Elephants have always commanded a special place in the Indian society. Lord Ganesha, a popular Indian god is a deity with an elephant head. It is chiefly due to the popularity of Lord Ganesha that elephants have become popular in the fairs of Rajasthan.

    Distance from Delhi :  277 km
    Time of Celebration :
    February/March
    Timings : All day
    Duration of Celebration: One day
    Celebrated : In and around Jaipur
    Activities : One of the most joyous celebrations in Rajasthan, during the Elephant Festival, a number of competitions is           organised. Elephant race, polo, tug of war and elephant decoration are the major attractions. Colour and music are the             important parts of this festivity. 
    Accomodation and food : Find out Places to Eat in Jaipur

    5. Camel Festival, Bikaner

    Camel Festival

    The Camel Festival is held in traditional city, Bikaner, which incidentally is called the camel capital of the country. This land has the largest camel breeding farm in India. The festival attracts local, national, and international visitors. Given that Bikaner is a remote place in Rajasthan, any mention of the festival is correlated with the place. Thus, this single festival has increased the touristic influx in this city. As Bikaner is in the Thar Desert, camels have always been part of daily life. Therefore, the primary objective of this festival is to showcase the usefulness of this animal. Apart from that, the festival is an opportunity to display arts, crafts, tradition, and the heritage of the place.

    [Explore palaces and forts in Golden Triangle Tour with Udaipur package]

    The festival is held in the month of January over two days. There are many camel events lined up during this time. Some of them are camel processions, camel races, tug-of-war, camel dances, and camel dressing competitions. The animals are dressed in an embroidered attire. During the festival, folk artists and musicians give performances and sweets made of camel milk are available for the public. Camel processions start from the Junagarh Fort. Various competitions are held and prizes are given for each category over two days. This festival is a revenue-generator for the tourism board of Rajasthan.

    Distance from Delhi : 430 kms
    Time of Celebration :
    January
    Timings : All day
    Duration of Celebration : 2 days
    Celebrated : In and around Bikaner
    Activities : In addition to the competitions like camel race, best decorated camels, tug of war and other exciting games, the     camels also shows their footwork, dancing and aerobic skills. During the evening, firecrackers lighten up the sky with full   glory.
    Accomodation and food : Heritage Resort, Marudyan Resort,  Hotel Chirag, Hotel Desert Winds

    6. Desert Festival, Jaisalmer

    Desert Festival

    Held in the month of February, the city of Jaisalmer is colored with the hues of festivity. This is the time when the Desert Festival is held. This festival is about camel races, competitions involving turban typing, and a host of cultural extravaganzas. It is here that the best mustached man is chosen! Everything is unique and exotic about the Desert Festival of Jaisalmer. You celebrate the festivities amidst the vast and sun-burnt sands of the Thar Desert. You sit on a sea of golden sand as you enjoy the cultural music and dance and merry making under the moonlit sky.]

    This is a three day event and which was initially started for foreign tourists. In these three days, the many facets and the cultural backdrop of Rajasthan is squeezed into the itinerary. Rajasthani folk singers and dancers enthrall the audience with their pure art form.

    On the dance floor, one can find the very best of dancers and singers showcasing their amazing talent. The most popular event is the moustache competition. Everybody gets to choose their favorite mustached man. Later, people are seen getting photographed alongside these mustached men.

    [Experience the desert safari with Royal Desert Safari in Jaisalmer]

    The fair and fire dancers also steal the show. The final countdown to the gala events starts with the visit to the Sam Sand Dunes. Over here, festival revelers get to ride camels. Folk artists perform way into the night silhouetted by sand dunes.

    Distance from Delhi : 767 kms
    Time of Celebration :
    February 
    Timings : All day and Night
    Duration of Celebration : 3 Day event
    Celebrated : Deserts of Jaisalmer
    Activities : During this festival, the life and culture of Rajasthan is showcased in a broader aspect. The Border Security Force also takes part in ‘camel tattoo’ and gymnasts display their skills on camel's back; ‘Camel Polo’ is the major attraction   of this fair.
    Accomodation and food : Hotels in Jaisalmer
    Also See: What to do on a Jaisalmer tour

    7. Summer Festival, Mt. Abu

    Summer Festival

    Mount Abu is a hill station. As a matter of fact, it is the only hill station in Rajasthan. In the month of May, this place plays host to the Summer Festival, one of the most unique amongst the fairs and festivals of Rajasthan. Held over a period of three days, the festival starts on the day of Buddha Poornima.

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    The fiesta starts with an elaborate ceremony that includes the singing of ballads. This is followed by a procession of bright colors and lights. Post-this, local musicians and folk dancers entertain the audiences with their performances. There are numerous music shows that leave everyone enthralled. The Sham-e-Qawwali, an event that features some of the best Qawwali singers is held late in the day.

    Close-by, the Nakki Lake hosts numerous boat races. There are horse racing events conducted as well. Organized by the Rajasthan Tourism Department, the Summer Festival attracts thousands of tourists. The highlight of the festival is the performances by the Daph and Ghoomar artists.

    [Explore the heart of Thar desert with our Jaisalmer Desert Safari tour]

    On the third day, the festival concludes with a bang. There are colorful fireworks and pyrotechnics that are held to mark the end of the festival. The festival is unique given its setting. The gorgeous landscape of Mount Abu makes the event enchanting and the combination of lakes and verdant hills makes for a delightful festival experience.

    ?Distance from Delhi : 754.0 km
    Time of Celebration : Month of May on Budh Poornima
    Timings : All day and Night
    Duration of Celebration : 3 days
    Celebrated : Starts  RTDC Hotel Shikhar
    Activities : This festival closes on a delightful note. Skating race, CRPF Band Show, skater's show, boat race, tug of war, paniharimatka race and deepdan are some of the events that are organised on the second and third day of this fair.
    Accomodation and food : RTDC Hotel Shikhar

     8. Winter Festival, Mt. Abu

    Winter Festival

    The Winter Festival was started to provide people a reason to take a break from their monotonous lives. This festival is yet another colorful and energetic festival of Rajasthan. Held over a period of three days, the festival is characterized by fun and frolic activities.

    Set in one of the most picturesque locations in Rajasthan, the festival revelers may not be able to get over the enchanting beauty of Mount Abu. When visiting the fair, visitors are treated with a lot of warmth and care. This attitude is reminiscent of the age-old culture of hospitality of Rajasthan. This combined with the joyous ambience leaves a positive impression in the mind of people.

    [Enjoy the camel safari and desert camp with our Desert Safari Jaisalmer tour]

    There are numerous folk dance and musical performances held during this time. The folk singers croon classic songs that reverberate with the rich culture and history of Rajasthan. The Ghoomar and Gair singers mesmerize the audiences with their exotic dance moves. These are traditional folk dances and best seen in such fairs. The quality of dance performances is fabulous. A lot of effort and precision is evident in each move that the dancers make.

    [Experience the Best of Rajasthan while exploring more about the local culture]

    Cultural events are only half the story. The Winter Festival features sports events as well. There are rowing competitions and cricket matches that are held during this time. If you visit the Nakki Lake, then don’t be surprised if you find a large number of lit lamps floating on the serene waters. This is an amazing scene to watch and worth photographing a thousand times. The Winter Festival features multiple processions as well. All in all, it is one amazing festival. 

    Distance from Delhi : 754.0 km
    Time of Celebration : March/April
    Timings : All day and Night
    Duration of Celebration : 3 days
    Celebrated : Starts RTDC Hotel Shikhar
    Activities : It is the only festival in Rajasthan, where cricket has been introduced as a part of the celebration. During this occasion, several water sports, rowing competitions and other cultural activities are also organised.
    Accomodation and food : RTDC Hotel Shikhar

    9.  Matasya Festival, Alwar

    Matasya Festival

    This festival in Alwar is the foremost of all fairs and festivals of Rajasthan. It is simply celebrated to display the prosperity of the region. The occasion also annotates the peace, culture, and harmony of the people in the region. Tradition, culture, heritage, and belief systems converge during the festival.

    [Visit the impressive golden town of rajasthan with Desert Safari in Jaisalmer tour]

    The Matasya Festival is known for its colorful processions and fairs. Festivities are not just restricted to musical performances and dances. There are numerous sporting events as well. If you are a first-time visitor to Rajasthan, view the exhibitions on display. They showcase the ancient culture that once existed. There is no particular theme for these exhibitions. Anything of artistic and cultural interest is displayed. Held over a period of two days, many events take place simultaneously. There’s something for everyone in this festival.

    [Discover the enchanting forts of Rajasthan with our Golden Triangle Tour]

    Some of the competitions that standout during this time are horse riding and polo. The latter was played by maharajas during their reign over the state and surrounding areas many centuries ago. This game is brought back into action but with a modernistic approach. The polo is played by seasoned players with many years of experience. The quality of games are on par with the best.

    Distance from Delhi : 158 km
    Time of Celebration : October
    Timings : All day
    Duration of Celebration : Two days
    Celebrated : In and around Udaipur
    Activities : Colour and liveliness are integral part of this festival. Within the two days of the celebration, Alwar witnesses several competitions, dance and song performances, and other fun activities.
    Accomodation and food : Dadhikar Fort, Hill Fort Kesroli, Neemrana Fort, Burja Haveli Hotel

    10. Dussehra Festival, Kota

    Dussehra Festival

    The Dussehra Festival is held in Rajasthan, in the historical city of Kota. The city is located on the banks of the Chambal River. Kota is home to a large number of festivals and the Dussehra Festival is one among them. This occasion has an identity of its own as during this time, Kota wears a completely different look. Not only is Dussehra a joyous festival but it also holds a religious significance. The festival is celebrated to commemorate Lord Rama’s victory over the demon Ravana.

    [Experience the breathtaking desert safaris with our Desert Safari at Jaisalmer tour]

    For tourists, the Dussehra Festival at Kota is a unique experience. A theatrical representation of the victory is portrayed. The skit is performed by actors and provides insights into what elapsed several millions of years ago according to the Hindu mythology. The conclusion of the skit is dramatic. Ten gigantic replicas of Ravana’s head are burnt to shreds. Crackers and fireworks are lighted simultaneously to mark the vanquishing of the demon. All of this is done with extravagance. If witnessed for the first time, it is a theatrical performance that will never be forgotten.

    During Kota tours, most visitors see this festival and you have many people coming to Kota to specifically be part of this festival that is celebrated during September to October.

    Distance from Delhi : 503 Kms
    Time of Celebration : September-October
    Timings : All day and Night
    Duration of Celebration : One day
    Celebrated : Kota
    Activities : On this eve, a young child from the village is dressed as Lord Rama and he shoots an arrow at the 70 feet tall effigy of the demon king Ravana. Alongside, the effigies of Kumbhakarna and Meghnad are also burnt. 
    Accomodation and food : Umed Bhavan Palace, Suprin Palace, Surya Royal Hotel, Hotel Surya Prime

    11. Marwar Festival, Jodhpur

    Marwar Festival

    There are several Jodhpur festivals. But the most popular among them is the Marwar Festival. This festival is held in memory of the heroes of the state. Originally known as the Maand Festival, the Marwar Festival is held during September to October. Celebrated over two days, the highlight of the festival is the folk music and dance performances.

    [When in Rajasthan don't miss out these beautiful places]

    The best of folk dancers and musicians assemble to provide great performances that retain their legacies. These are the very performances that were enacted out in front of kings centuries ago. The folk music and songs remind the audience of the days of yore…the battles that were fought, the sacrifices that were made and the people who became martyrs.

    [Discover the dry land of golden sand with Royal Desert Safari Jaisalmer tour]

    Another highlight of the Marwar Festival is the Camel Tatoo show. This along with the polo event are the sport events in the festival. The Mehrangarh fort and Umaid Bhawan Palace are the main venues for this. Both these forts are symbolic of the might and valor that existed during the reign of the Rajputs and the fairs and festivals of Rajasthan. The music and dance performances are specific to the Marwar region in Rajasthan. The folk dancers display an energetic performance. The singers sing in memory of slain heroes. It is a significant event given that the people here take pride in their ancestry as warriors.

    Distance from Delhi : 828Kms
    Time of Celebration : September-October
    Timings : All day.
    Duration of Celebration : Two days
    Celebrated : In and around Jodhpur
    Activities : Celebrated in the memories of the valorous warriors of Rajasthan, it is held at the UmaidBhavan Palace, Mehrangarh and Mandore. Camel polo and tattoo show are the main attractions of this festival.
    Accomodation and food : Hotels in Jodhpur

    12. Bundi Utsav, Bundi

    Bundi Utsav

    Image Credit : Jason Rufus

    Located in the Hadoti district in Rajasthan, Bundi is known for its natural beauty. This region comes alive during the Bundi Utsav. Held between November and December, the festival is culmination of culture, arts, and crafts. There are numerous activities lined-up during this time. Sporting events, sightseeing expeditions, musical performances, and dances are some of them.

    [Experience tiger safari with our Ranthambore Tiger Pugmark tour]

    These events are organized by the Tourism Department of Rajasthan for tourists. The combination of scenic beauty that Bundi possesses along with the festival makes for an enthralling experience. At a single point of time, there are many things happening during the festival. One needs to keep one’s eyes and ears open.

    The highlight of the festival is the Shobha Yatra. Women dressed in traditional attire carry pitchers on their heads and walk in the procession. Never-seen-before sporting events are held. These are ethnic events that are specific to this region. Participants compete fiercely in these events. The tourism department helps international tourists go on sightseeing expeditions that are short journeys to experience the local culture of the place. Given that Bundi is naturally picturesque, visitors are treated to eye-catching visuals.

    [Visit the amazing tiger sightings with our Ranthambore Tiger Adventure tour]

    In the mornings of the festival, men and women light lamps wearing colorful dresses. They are also seen praying and seeking the blessings of the almighty.

    Distance from Delhi : 354 kms
    Time of Celebration : November
    Timings : All day
    Duration of Celebration : Two to three days
    Celebrated : Hadoti district in Rajasthan
    Activities : Bundi festivity includes a lively ShobhaYatra, fair, rural sports events, folk music and performances. Ethnic competitions like turban competition, bridal attire challenge and firework display are also a major attraction of the event.
    Accomodation and food : Hotels in Hadoti

    13. Kumbhalgarh Festival, Kumbhalgarh

    Kumbhalgarh Festival

    The venue of the festival is in the Aravalis Hills that is more than thousand meters above sea level. The venue of the festival is a medieval fortress. Located at Kumbhalgarh, the fortress is decorated with lights during the occasion. It is a time where India and Rajasthan’s finest musicians and dancers dot the scene. The whole place becomes a humdrum of traditional culture. For a moment, it will seem that the whole setting is a fairy tale affair.

    The fortress was constructed in the fifteenth century. Maharana Kumbha commissioned the building of the structure to ward off invaders. The festival was started as a means to promote heritage tours by the Rajasthan Tourism Department. It is also a means to conserve and continue the rich tradition and culture that this region commands.

    The festival is characterized by fine dance performances by traditional folk dance artists. Members of the audience are encouraged to participate. Some celebratory and off-beat events such as musical chair and tug-of-war are held as well. These events are popular with children and adults alike. The onus of the Kumbhalgarh Festival is to entertain and educate people of a bygone era and the rich history that existed.

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    The Kumbhalgarh Fort is impressive during the day as well as the night. During the night it is illuminated by thousands of lamps and makes for a stunning spectacle.

    Distance from Delhi : 595 kms 
    Time of Celebration : January
    Timings : All day
    Duration of Celebration : 3 days
    Celebrated : In Rajsamand
    Activities : Divided into two halves, the first one is dedicated towards competitions like tying pagri (turban tying), tug of war, mehendi designing, rangoli making and other similar events. The second half of the day provides entertainment with various music and dance performances.
    Accomodation and food : Hotels in Rajsamand

    14. Kite Festival, Jaipur

    Image Credits: Kaushik Patel

    Celebrated in the month of January, the Kite Festival of Jaipur is one of the most unique fairs and festivals of Rajasthan. The festival is all about flying kites and thousands of colorful kites dot the skies during this time. The occasion is popular in Jaipur and Jodhpur. Kites with lights that light up the sky during the night are flown. They seem like celestial birds that have descended on to the Earth. The festival attracts thousands of kite lovers. For those who enjoy flying kites and are passionate about it, this is the Mecca of it all.

    On the day of the festival, people take bath in the Galtaji River and offer their prayers to the Sun God. They invoke the Sun God’s blessings to provide them with good health and a long life. Jaipur is known as the pink city because of its colorful buildings. The existent beauty of the city is accentuated with thousands of kites flying in the sky.

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    During this time, most establishments remain closed and everybody gets involved in flying kites. There is various kit flying competitions held too and several Kite Club members join the festivities. Some traditional sweets are made during this time. For instance, Til Ke Laddu is one such delicacy made from sesame seeds.

    Distance from Delhi :  277 km
    Time of Celebration : 14th January, Makar Sankranti
    Timings : All Day
    Duration of Celebration : One day
    Celebrated : In Jaipur
    Activities : The Jaipur skyline gets pleasantly dotted with thousands of colourful kites. Almost everyone in the pink city sends their kites into the sky and challenges their opponents on a playful note. 
    Accomodation and food : Hotels in Jaipur

     

    Below are the fascinating fairs of Rajasthan:

    15. Pushkar Fair, Pushkar

    Pushkar Fair

    Pushkar Camel Fair is considered as one of the most highly rated touristic experiences in India amongst the fairs of Rajasthan. It attracts on average more than three hundred thousand people. On display are thousands of camels. Nobody can see these many camels at a single place anywhere in the world. Not only are camels present but there are cattle and horses as well.

    For first time visitors, this experience is like no other. It is like a once in a lifetime opportunity. The carnival is a combination of camel, culture, and color. The fair brings livestock traders and camel owners from the length and breadth of Rajasthan. The festival is held during October and November. The fair has a history behind it, it was originally held for livestock traders to buy and sell livestock. The fair is being held to remember a unique tradition of livestock trading.

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    Various activities are held in the Pushkar Fair, some of them are camel, horse, and donkey races. These competitions draw hundreds of spectators who cheer their teams with vigor. The duration of festivities is spread over two weeks. There are giant ferry wheels on open grounds. Open air theatres are the venues for music and dance performances.

    Distance from Delhi : 403 kms
    Time of Celebration : October/November
    Timings : All day
    Duration of Celebration : 5 days
    Celebrated : In and around Pushkar
    Activities : MatkaPhod, longest moustache, bridal competition, Camel race and aerobics are the main attractions of this fair. During this fair, foreigners can also take part in a cricket match with the local people. 
    Accomodation and food : Hotels in and around Pushkar

    16. Kolayat Fair, Bikaner

    Kolayat Fair

    The Kolayat Fair happens every year in Kolayat in the month of November between the 17th and 22nd. The fair is held in commemoration of Kapila who is an ancient sage. Of all fairs of Rajasthan this one commands its own significance in popular culture. It comes with its set of legends and rituals. The sage Kapila is believed to be an avatar of Lord Vishnu.

    Kolayat's earlier name was Kapilastan. Kapila Muni lived here and hence this place was given this name. Kolayat can be reached from Bikaner by bus or private transportation. Devotees from near and far come for the fair. The Kolayat Fair is alternatively called as Kapil Muni Fair. The fair is conducted on the banks of the Kolayat Lake. On the eve of the festival, devotees take a dip in the lake. This act is said to purge their sins.

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    There are fifty two ghats that comprise the banks of the Kolayat Lake. All these ghats are decorated with lights on the day of the festival. Devotees perform various pujas that include providing sugar milk and sweetmeats to the deities. These puja items are made in the Kolayat Temple. A special area is reserved for this in the temple. In the evening, oil lamps are lit and floated on the lake.

    Distance from Delhi : 430 kms
    Time of Celebration : November
    Timings : All day and night
    Duration of Celebration : 10 days
    Celebrated : In and around Bikaner
    Activities : It is the largest among all the fairs of Bikaner. During this fair, the devotees take a tirthato the different ghats and take a dip in the holy water. Livestock are also sold and the best breeders are felicitated with awards and certificates. 
    Accomodation and food : Hotels in Bikaner

    17. Nagaur Fair

    Image Credits: Girish S

    Nagaur Fair is the place where one of the largest cattle trading happens. There are different varieties of cattle on display. Traders come dressed in colorful costumes. Visitors can make joy rides on cattle. There are plenty of shops selling finger-licking eatables like in any fairs of Rajasthan. If you want to see a spectacle involving thousands of cattle, then this is the fair to frequent.

    Nagaur has the distinction of producing red chili. Between January and February every year and over a period of eight days, more than seventy thousand cattle are displayed at the Nagaur Fair. Not only cattle, even horses and camels are present as well. Owners paint their livestock and dress them in elaborate costumes. They are decorated with lavish accessories. Cattle owners are dressed for the occasion with colorful turbans. Truly this is one of the bizarre but exotic fairs and festivals of Rajasthan.

    [Explore the limitless beauty of cultural Rajasthan and the royal life in its deserts with the locals in Rajasthan]

    At the fair on display are exquisitely crafted wooden items, some of them being iron crafts. All of these items can be purchased. Popular among visitors are camel leather items. The fair is not just about cattle trading. Sporting events are organized such as tug-of-war, camel race, and bullock race. Of all sporting events, cock fighting is the most popular. The fair also attracts jugglers and puppeteers who show their range of talents in the most amusing of ways.

    Distance from Delhi :  456 km
    Time of Celebration : February
    Timings : All day
    Duration of Celebration : 8 days
    Celebrated : In Nagaur Town
    Activities : This 8 days celebration is also one of the largest gatherings of livestock, delicious eateries and various fun and frolic events. Mirchi Bazaar is among the main attractions of this fair.
    Accomodation and food : Hotels in and around Nagaur

    18. Ramdevra Fair, Jaisalmer

    This fair is held in memory of Baba Ram Dev and is held in Ramdevra, a village in Jaisalmer. Every year, devotees congregate at Ramdevji's temple to witness the celebrations. The temple is where his Samadhi exists too. Like many fairs of Rajasthan, this fair is open to all and there is no restriction on who can observe it. People of different religions flock here. Held between August and September, people from all walks of life come to the temple to offer their prayers.

    The famous Baba Ramdev belonged to the Rajput caste. He later became a saint who supposedly was gifted with miraculous powers. It is said that some saints from Mecca tried to test his powers and failed to defeat him. Baba Ramdev is worshipped by both Muslims and Hindus. The former worship him as Ram Shah Pir and the latter as an incarnation of Lord Krishna.

    [Witness the unparalleled sights of massive forts in Trip to imperial Rajasthan]

    The Ramdevra Fair is significant given that it unites people from all communities. Baba Ramdev was an egalitarian person who his life to bridge inequality in the society. On the day of the fair, devotees distribute rice and churma. They distribute wooden horses in memory of Ramdevji. Throughout the night Bhajans are organized and kirtans are sung.

    Time of Celebration : August - September
    Timings : All day
    Duration of Celebration : 9 days
    Celebrated : In and around Jaisalmer
    Activities : A testimony to universal brotherhood among the different sects in the society, this annual fair is open to all and is also attended by thousands of visitors. Visitors offer prayers in the temple near the Samadhi of Baba Ramdev. 
    Distance from Delhi : 767 kms
    Accomodation and food : Hotels in Jaisalmer

    19. Urs Fair, Ajmer

    Image Credits: Kochy kochy

    The Urs Fair is held in memory of Khwaja Muin-nddin Chisti. This Sufi saint is fondly remembered by all as a messiah of the poor. Hence he was also called as Gareeb Nawaz. Urs Fair is the largest Muslim fair in the country and is held at the Dargah Sharif in Ajmer - which houses the saint’s remains.

    Devotees throng the tomb and offer Chadar, Ghilaph, and Neema. At the time of these activities, Qawwalis are sung. Prayers are recited, milk pudding also called Kheer is cooked and distributed to the devotees. The devotees accept this as tabarruk or blessed food.

    Ajmer is a city by the lake and is located in the central part of Rajasthan. It is also known as Holy Ajmer as this city is held in high esteem by people from all communities. Chishti, who lived about a hundred years ago actually came from Persia. His remains exist in Ajmer's Dargah Sharif. On this death anniversary which is also called Urs, millions of devotees visit his tomb.

    [Uncover the hidden secrets of this fascinating place and get a true experience of the ethnic culture of Jodhpur with a walking experience]

    Devotees offer nazrana. Rose and jasmine flowers are placed on the tomb along with perfumes and incense. The Urs Fair is flagged off with the hoisting of a white flag. The current successor of the Chishti family does the hoisting.

    Distance from Delhi : 277 km
    Time of Celebration : The anniversary is celebrated in the seventh month of the Islamic lunar calendar
    Timings : All day and Night
    Duration of Celebration : six days
    Celebrated : Ajmer
    Activities : On the eve of the Urs Festival, devotees offer rose and jasmine flowers at the dargah. Devotees also offer Kheer (milk pudding) and attend the famous 'qawali' during the evening.
    Accomodation and food : Hotels in Ajmer

    20. Baneshwar Fair, Dungarpur

    In the month of February, Dungarpur district of Rajasthan prepares for a tribal festival called Baneshwar Fair. This fair is very popular with the tribals of the region and is primarily a religious one. The rituals are simple and the occasion is celebrated by Bhils tribals. Apart from Rajasthan, these tribals come from Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat.

    The Baneshwar fair has been created by merging two fairs. The Bhils worship Baneshwar Mahadev and Mavji in the fair. From Rajasthan, the tribals come from places such as Banswara, Udaipur, and Dungarpur.

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    The Baneshwar Mahadev temple opens early in the morning and remains open till 11 pm. Early in the morning, the statue of Shiva is anointed with saffron. In the evening, ash is applied to the linga of the Lord. Devotees pray ardently to the linga and also offer wheat flour, jiggery, ghee, and cash.

    The Bhils sing their folk songs. Everyone is invited to participate in the song and dance routine. There are even magic shows held that enthrall the audience with simple tricks. Also on the itinerary are animal shows and acrobatic stunts. The fair also features merry-go-rounds and swings. Festival revelers can use these facilities to entertain themselves.

    Distance from Delhi : 779 km
    Time of Celebration :
    January-February
    Timings : 5.00 am to 11.00 pm 
    Duration of Celebration : One day
    Celebrated : In Dungarpur
    Activities : On this occasion, the priest of the temple offers puja 5 times a day and devotees offer wheat flour, jaggery, ghee, salt, cash and other essential commodities to the Shiva Linga. Aarti during the morning and evening are the main attractions of this fair.
    Accomodation and food : Hotels in Udaipu

    21. Shri Mahavirji Fair, Jaipur

    Shri Mahavirji Fair

    Shri Mahavirji Fair is held in Jaipur in remembrance of Shri Mahavir Swami. Held between March and April, this fair pays tribute to the 24th saint of the Jains. The venue is the Mahavirji temple. The temple encloses the image of the saint that is said to be discovered by a leather worker from a hilly region.

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    The main attraction of the fair is the Rath Yatra which is essentially a chariot procession. Thousands of people throng this procession. The chariot is surrounded by a sea of people. The climax of the fair is on Baisakh Krishna Dwitiya. This is the time when the image of Shri Mahavir Swami is taken to the banks of river Gambhiri. The procession returns from the banks of the river in the same elaborate manner. There is no paucity in grandeur. The image is placed in the temple as it was.

    The pilgrims then congregate at the temple and worship the image of Shri Mahavir Swami. Some of them meditate in the temple courtyard for some time. They seek the blessings of the divine saint with folded hands. To cater to these pilgrims, temporary shops are setup during the fair where all types of merchandise related to the fair are sold.

    Distance from Delhi :  277 km
    Time of Celebration :
    March-April
    Timings : All day and Night
    Duration of Celebration : 6 days
    Celebrated : In and around Jaipur
    Activities : The image of saint Mahavira is washed in the morning followed by puja and aarti in the evening. Rathyatra is also taken out on this eve and a gran procession follows the chariot to the Gambhiri River bank.?
    Accomodation and food : Hotels in Jaipur

    22. The Kaila Devi Fair

    The Kaila Devi Fair is held in the village of Kaila, located in the Karauli district. It is held between March and April and lasts for a fortnight. More than two lakh devotees attend this festival. It is during this time that the Kanak-Dandotis ritual is observed.This ritual is rigorous and physically taxing. Not all participate in it. Some devotees prefer to eat food and enjoy the fair proceedings.The Kaila Devi Fair features the Meena tribal group who arrive at the scene singing and dancing. The courtyard of the Kaila Devi temple is the venue for all these activities.

    Time of Celebration : March-April
    Timings : All day
    Duration of Celebration : One Day
    Celebrated : Karauli district
    Activities : Usually, the devotees lie on the ground and draw a line, stretching their hands. From the drawn line, they repeat the same procedure and moves around 15 to 20km to reach the main temple.
    Distance from Delhi : 315 km
    Accomodation and food : Hotels in Jaipur

    23. Gogaji Fair, Hanumangarh

    Gogaji Fair takes place to commemorate the hero Goga Veer (also known as Jahar Peer) among Hindus and Muslims. The place of the fair is Goga Medi which is around three hundred and sixty kilometers from Jaipur. Gogaji’s memorial or Samadhi is at this place. His Samadhi houses his idol that is seen sitting on a blue horse and close-by is a statue of a coiled snake.

    [Saunter through the rustic village and get a sense of the culture and traditions in Marwar village in Jodhpur]

    The Kayam Khani Muslims have given Gogaji the stature of a saint. It is believed that anyone suffering from snakebite can get cured if they prayed to him. The influence of this revered man is such that a Than is dedicated to him in every Rajasthani village.

    Gogaji has devotees across many parts of North India and not just Rajasthan. Devotees come from Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Madhya Pradesh. Many people are repeat visitors. They re-visit the Samadhi to express their gratitude for a granted wish. The annual fair is held in the month of August for a duration of three days. Apart from worshiping the idol with cupped hands, rubbing incense at his idol is another form of worship. Devotees also offer coconuts, cash, and sugar sweetmeats at his tomb.

    Outside the Samadhi, Nath priests carry whips called as Chabuks. These whips are considered to bring luck hence are worshipped by the devotees.

    Distance from Delhi : 280 km
    Time of Celebration :
    Month of Bhadrapada during the Gogaji fair
    Timings : All day
    Duration of Celebration : 3 days
    Celebrated : Gogameri
    Activities : During this fair, the believers and followers of Gogaji wrap up live snakes around their necks and lie near the temple. According to them,Gogaji protects them from the snakes and its bite. The life and stories of the deity is also recited on this eve.
    Accomodation and food : Hotels in Jaipur and Udaipur

    24. Karni Mata Fair, Bikaner

    Image credits: Kochy Kochy

    This fair is held in reverence of Karni Mata. This deity is said to be one of the main goddesses of the rulers of Bikaner several centuries ago. The venue of the fair is at the temple of the goddess. Made of stone and marble, this temple is ruggedly built yet oozes divine elegance.

    [Treat yourself to the enticing flavours of Rajasthani Village that come alive with the amazing experience]

    Of the fairs and festivals of Rajasthan, this is one fair that is held two times in a year. The first fair is the larger one of the two and is held between March and April. The second fair is held between September and October. People belonging to the Rajput caste bring their children here to get their first haircuts. On this occasion, children along with their parents seek the blessings of Karni Mata.

    One of the greatest sights during the fair is the presence of a huge number of brown rats. These rats inhabit the temple and are considered holy. The more stunning part is that they are harmless. If anyone sees a white rat amongst the brown rat, it is considered to be an auspicious sign.

    The temple is called the Karni Mata temple. Located at Deshnok, it is open to the public as early as 4 am. Inside the temple is a shrine that houses the idol of the goddess that is only 75 cms.

    Time of Celebration : March-April and  September-October
    Timings : All day and Night
    Duration of Celebration : One to two days
    Celebrated : In and around Bikaner
    Activities : Devotees from different parts of Rajasthan visit the Karni Mata Temple and seek her blessings during this fair. The children usually get their first hair cut on this eve and devotes offer gold or silver upon the fulfilment of their wishes.
    Distance from Delhi : 430 kms
    Accomodation and food : Hotels in Bikaner

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