Other than the regular festivals, the Government of India, Department of Tourism with the state governments is highlighting aspects of Indian celebrations through a unique programme of theme festivals. A selection of these is detailed here...
This popular festival celebrates the colourful dances and the music of the desert with the Golden Fort as its impressive backdrop.
Kerala and Tamil Nadu
The culture of South India comes to the fore with festive performances, traditional highlights and a gourmet taste of the regions special cuisine for the occasion.
International Kite Festival
Makar Sankranti is a time when competitive kite flying marks the occasion all over India. But in Ahmedabad, the sky is aswarm with kites, there are demonstrations of overseas kites, a display of the rich crafts of the state, and a simultaneous regional food festival.
February heralds the carnival at Goa. For three days and nights, the legendary king Momo takes over the state and the streets come alive with colour. The week long event is a time of festivity. It occurs on three days in February or early March. Meant to be a festing-drinking-merrymaking orgy just before the 40 days of Lent. It is Goa`s most famous festival and has been celebrated since the 18th Century.
A celebration of the art forms of the state, and particularly the dance form of Odissi, against the spectacular backdrop of the Sun Temple.
Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh
The lifestyle of Lucknow-erstwhile Avadh is leisurely, with its formal mannerisms, its rich cuisine, with a tradition of appreciation for verse, dance and music. An exposition of these is put together in this unusual festival.
Festival Of Dances
Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh
To the magnificent backdrop of the Khajuraho temples, the celebrated dancers of India entertain a discriminating audience with riveting performances.
Primarily a festival for women, its highlight is a regal procession through the streets of Jaipur carrying the idols of Shiva and Parvati.
Kochi, Kerala (April)
Kerala is India's spice capital, and its rich variety of spices will be celebrated by means of educational seminars, tours to spice growing areas as well as a food festival.
International Flower Festival
Gangtok, Sikkim (April/ May)
It is the peak flowering period in Sikkim and you will have a good chance of seeing several of its 400 species of orchids, 240 varieties of ferns, 240 species of birds and 150 kinds of gladioli. And you also have the promise of flower arrangement demonstration, nature photography, driftwood sculpture and a choice of treks.
International Mango Festival
Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh (July)
India grows over 500 varieties of this king of fruits, and they will be on display here with a food festival, cultural shows and river rafting too!
A mammoth gathering of people will witness the short chariot journey of the idol of Jagannath, and will pay obeisance at temples. Non-Hindu visitors must watch proceedings from outside the temple precincts.
The oncoming of the monsoons is celebrated by women who carry images of Parvati in procession accompanied by drummers and musicians.
This lovable, elephant-headed Indian god is propitiated, through street performances and competitions, rural entertainment, yoga demonstrations and an exposition of regional cuisine.
Kullu, Himachal Pradesh
In the valley, idols of gods from neighbouring temples are carried on palanquins to come together to pay homage before Lord Raghunath. For a week, there is singing and dancing, and exciting things to buy from the local fair.
In this western state, the festival of the nine nights is celebrated with the beat of rural music and the excitement of the garba dance, a festival of food, music and handicrafts.
Indian International Trade Fair
New Delhi (November)
Held at the prestigious Pragati Maidan exhibition grounds, the best of national and international technology along with crafts is on display. Traditional celebrations, film shows and contemporary entertainment abounds.
On the occasion of one of Rajasthan's oldest religious and commercial fairs, visitors can participate in the music and dance shows, the exciting shopping, and unusual cultural events. Accommodation is in tented camps.
The Shekhavati region in Rajasthan is famous for its frescoes. This festival will focus attention on these wall paintings with special tours, through the music and dance of the desert, and with the help of local crafts and cuisine.
International Seafood Festival
Goa's unique rhythm and beat will get a fillip with this festival that celebrates its seafood cuisine, both regional as well as international specialties, embellished with an array of Goan wines. Song, dance and laughter, and watersports by the beach make it a not to be missed event.