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Rajasthan is the Land of Celebration and Festive Fun. Social customs are still governed by age-old traditions, it is only natural to see women is swirling skirts who spontaneously pull the veil or ghunghat over their faces at the sight of a man. The village women adorn themselves with heavy silver jewellery around the ankles, waist, neck and the wrist or dangling from the ears, nose and hair. Many of these ethnic ornaments have now become a craze among the urban elite, both at home and abroad.
The rich heritage of Rajasthan manifests itself in the latticed havelis, ornate palaces and intricately carved temples, some of them dating back to the 7th century. The true-to-life images and architectural complexity of the buildings speak volumes about the skill and dexterity of the artisans.
The spirit of romance, valour and faith is quintessential to Rajasthan and is delicately yet inseparably blended in its art, culture and hauntingly addictive music and dance. Rajasthan's tradition can be captured at its festive best at the fairs and festivals, which are dazzlingly theatrical and lively. In fact, anytime of the year is festival time in Rajasthan. The festivities are marked by folk dances and music played on a variety of locally made instruments. All the fairs and festivals are widely attended by people from all walks of life.
The Rajasthani's love for color and joyous celebrations, music, dance and festivals makes it one of the most colorful desert in the world. We have numerous fairs and festivals of the region. In addition to the festivals celebrated by the Hindus, Muslims and others, there are also the traditional fairs.
We have all sorts of fair and festivals like animal fairs, religious fairs and there are fairs to mark the changing seasons. In fact, celebrations occur almost round the year and are a splendid opportunity for you to gain an insight into the life of the Rajasthani. Other than the traditional fairs, recently established festivals which involve elephants, camel races, dance and music have been specially organized for the tourists. I recommend you to plan your tour in a way that you are a part of any of the following fairs and festival to truly know the rich heritage and culture of Rajasthan:
Nagaur Fair, Nagaur (Jan-Feb.): Essentially an cattle fair, it provides an opportunity to participate in some of the local sports.
Kite Festival (held on 14th Jan of every year): A festival with a difference - as kites take to the sky all over Rajasthan. In the evening, kites with lights in them and fireworks brighten the skies above. The main celebrations are in Jaipur and Jodhpur. If you like kite flying, you should be here.
Desert Festival, Jaisalmer (Jan-Feb.): One of the most popular of all festivals it is a journey into the heart of the desert, the golden city of Jaisalmer that has a charm of its own. A true show on the sands which attracts even the much traveled visitor. Highly recommended. Be there.
Baneshwar Fair, Baneshwar (Jan-Feb.): A religious festival with simple and traditional rituals. This fair is the centre of attraction of a large number of tribal from the neighboring states of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat who join their brethren from Rajasthan in offering prayers to Lord Shiva.
Gangaur Festival, Jaipur (March-April): A festival devoted to Goddess Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva. It is time for young girls to dress up in their finery and pray for grooms of their choice while the married women pray for the well-being of their husbands. This 18-day festival is laced with various activities and culminates in a grand procession marking the arrival of Shiva to escort his bride home.
Mewar Festival, Udaipur (March-April): A festival to welcome the spring season. There is song, dance, processions, devotional music and fireworks where almost everybody participates.
Elephant Festival, Jaipur (March-April): A festival to celebrate Holi, this is a great occasion for the visitor to watch several elephant sports and also play this festival of colors. A show is organized with the elephants turning out in their best finery.
Urs Ajmer Sharif, Ajmer (According to Lunar Calendar): Held in the memory of the revered Sufi saint Khawaja Moinuddin Chisti, it is an occasion for thousands of believers to congregate at the shrine and offer their prayers. All of Ajmer seems to take on a festive air and several programmes are organized to mark the festivals.
Summer Festival, Mt.Abu (June): Organized in the only hill station of Rajasthan, this is the coldest place at this time of the year. Folk dances and a general atmosphere of gaiety prevails in this tiny hill resort and the tourist has ample time to relax and enjoy himself.
Teej Festival, Jaipur (July-August): A festival to mark the advent of monsoon. Women dressed in bright colors and a lot of merriment prevails during Teej. Essentially a women's festival, it is interesting to watch them enjoying in groups and at various bazaars where they turn up to shop in all their finery.
Marwar Festival, Jodhpur (October): A festival devoted mainly to the music and dance of the Marwar region. This is a festival that allows the visitor to understand and enjoy the folk traditions of this part of the state.
Pushkar Fair, Ajmer (November): The well-known and marked with largest participation of all the festivals of Rajasthan, Pushkar is an important pilgrimage as well as the venue of a mammoth cattle fair. Bazaars, auctions, music and sports are highlight of this event. Recommended.
Camel Festival, Bikaner (January): An enchanting desert city which comes alive with music and dance. It is fast gaining popularity as the visitor finds an opportunity to see some unusual folk performances, camel, race camel dance etc. here.
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