Winter Indian festivals
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Echoes of Earth (Bangalore)
Workshops, performances, and installations crafted from recycled materials feature at this ecologically-crafted festival promoting sustainable living,
Feast of Francis Xavier (Old Goa)
With a morning mass attracting people from around the world, this festival celebrates the life of famous Christian missionary Saint Francis Xavier.
Karthikai Deepam (Tamil Nadu)
Crowds of pilgrims head to Tiruvannamalai for the full moon, to celebrate the fiery apparition of Shiva on the top of Mount Arunachala.
Perumthitta Tharavad Kottamkuzhy Theyyam (Kerala)
A ten-day festival of ritual dance celebrating ancestral, divine or mythological, divine spirits.
The Kochi-Muzhiris Biennale (Kerala)
This huge contemporary arts festival and exhibition takes place across galleries, heritage buildings and public spaces.
Maargazhi Music and Dance Festival (Chennai)
With over a thousand performances, this month-long festival includes arts, dance and classical music.
Christmas festivities are especially popular in Kerala and Goa, with yuletide decorations, festive food, music and special religious services.
Mamallapuram Indian Dance Festival (Tamil Nadu)
Set against stunning rock sculptures, this festival celebrates classical and folk dance from throughout India.
Swathi Sangeetholsavam (Kerala)
A week-long festival dedicated to the 400+ compositions of Maharaja Swathi Thirunal in Carnatic and Hindustani music.
Mylapore Festival (Tamil Nadu)
A four day celebration of classical music and dance, crafts, folk art, heritage walks, exhibitions and street food.
Get your chilled out groove on listening to reggae music performed on three stages right by the beach.
Ernakulathappan Uthsavom (Kerala)
During this busy festival, the temple god is paraded and bathed, flags are hoisted, elephants are decorated and bright fireworks fill the sky.
Tamil Nadu International Balloon Festival
A festival to celebrate the growing popularity of air ballooning in India, with added music entertainment.
Pongal (Tamil Nadu)
A four-day harvest festival similar to thanksgiving in America. The star attraction is the boiled milk and rice dish, Pongal, prepared on the second day.
Adoor Gajamela (Kerala)
A ten-day festival featuring numerous events culminating in a procession of decorated elephants.
Thaipusam (Tamil Nadu)/Thaipooyam Mahotsavam (Kerala)
Festivals dedicated to the son of Lord Shiva and Parvati, with parades and dancing.
Float Festival (Madurai)
Enormous processions from the Meenakshi temple are accompanied by the chanting of mantras and the smell of deliciously crisp vada and dosa.
On the ‘fifth day of spring’, Hindus dress in yellow and place educational objects in front of idols of the goddess of learning Saraswati to receive her blessing.
Pondicherry Heritage Festival (Tamil Nadu)
Originally created to celebrate the town’s architecture, this festival now includes diverse traditions and cultural practices.
India Heritage Walk Festival (across India)
Free walks around cities across India centered around sustainability, gender-related issues and heritage give an alternative view of India.
Sur Jahan World Peace Music Festival (Goa)
A celebration of Sufi – music used as accompaniment for transcending from the physical to the spiritual realm.
One of India’s best boutique music festivals involving three wine-fuelled days at Sula Vineyards
Pariyanampetta Pooram (Kerala)
Shadow puppets, folk arts, colourful drawings of goddesses and a procession of decorated elephants combine in this 7-day event.
Ezhara Ponnana (Kerala)
Golden elephants march the streets to the sound of traditional music, representing an offering to the deity.
Machattu Mamangam Festival (Kerala)
By day, watch the parade of decorated horse effigies to the temple deity and by night you can see elephants march to percussion beats.
Chinakkathoor Pooram (Kerala)
The colourful procession featuring decorated elephants on the last day of the festival is not to be missed!
Attukal Pongala (Kerala)
A world record-breaking gathering of women for a religious activity involves the cooking of an offering for the goddess Attukalama.
A day of Hindu fasting recalling the cosmic victory dance (tandava) of Lord Shiva.
Carnival in Goa
This four-day party celebrating the start of Lent involves elaborate parades, street parties and concerts.