There is nothing better than starting the year with a great holiday to one of the most exotic destinations of the world. If you are travelling to India in January, ensure that you check the Indian festival calendar to catch some of these exciting events.
Here are some of the Indian festivals and events in January to check out:
The Jaipur Literature Festival – There is no better way to ring in the New Year with some intellectual company! Asia’s largest Literature festival invites authors and thinkers of international repute to present their work and interact with audiences in the form of readings, discussions, talks and personal interactions. Names like William Darymple, Ahmad Rashid, Avijit Ghosh, Gurcharan Das and John Elliot have been present in the past years so one can expect an impressive list in 2012 as well. Also, the destination could not have been better, as one can complete the Rajasthan sector with ease.
Kambala Buffalo Races – The Mangalore ( South Western) belt of India has an interesting period from January to March where the villages indulge in a unique sport called’ Kambala Buffalo Races’. These are held over the weekends where the young men of the village come together and compete ferociously in slushy fields. A photographer’s delight, this event is definitely not a one to miss.
Kite Flying in Rajasthan – The harvest festival of Baisakhi is held on 14th January all over North India. Rajasthan is especially colourful on this day as thousands of kites sprinkle the blue sky in a competition of might. Local terraces spill with people as teams are formed with vigour to ensure that opponent kites are brought down instantly. This festival gained popularity in Jaipur in the initial years but is now celebrated all over the state.
Pongal - While the North of India celebrates with kites, the same harvest festival in South is known as ‘pongal’ and is celebrated vivaciously across the state of Tamil Nadu and other Southern states with Tamil population. It is best to get invited to a local house so you can see the food preparation and the making of the ‘rangoli/ kollam’ outside houses. Incidentally, pongal is a dish made of milk and rice.
Republic Day in Delhi – Book ahead to sit and watch the annual parade in Delhi, which commemorates the success and independence of India on 26th January every year. Watch the armed forces march impressively and state floats represent the growth in India in a half day parade. The event is held under heavy security but will be a fun experience to see thousands in the stands, cheering on!
Hampi Festival –The pride of Karnataka and the former Kingdom of Vijaynagar, Hampi, celebrates the annual festival of dance and performing arts every year in January. The festival is held in the backdrop of an impressive topography, unique to Hampi. It has gained international acclaim in the last 5 years and one can see a variety of south Indian arts in this forum.
Goan Wine Festival – A relatively new concept, Goa is the chosen destination for The Grape Escapade, a wine and haute cuisine festival. With the influx of western tourists, this is an apt destination for wine connoisseurs. Free wine tasting and attractive discounts on exotic wines are part of the festival. Apart from that, one can enjoy the cultural performances, music concerts and fashion shows.
Bikaner Camel Fair – The winter month of January is an important one for Rajasthan. The camel fair at Bikaner is a great opportunity for photographers to capture camel trading between locals. The destination starts with aplomb with camel parades and also includes races, dancing and pageants for the animals.
Mamallapuram Dance Festival – The coastal town of Mamallapuram hosts a unique dance festival each year in January. The rock sculptures of the town make a wonderful backdrop while Indian art forms are performed by famous artistes in an open air venue.
If you would like to join in with some Indian festivals in January yourself contact our reservations team who will be happy to help you plan a trip.
Homestays offer the perfect opportunity to get a local insight into festivals and your host family will be happy to provide guidance on the best way to experience the celebrations. Check out our Indian homestay collection.
Find out about the homestay experience and don't forget to check out our ideas on things to do in India or browse our India homestays.