India is the land of culture and festival. Celebrations in different parts of the country happen every month as much as they are crowded with people, these festivities are also one of the best times to explore the city and experience the culture.
For these festive travels, we’ve also found you unique stay options that range from 18th-century heritage hotels to travelling camps to century-old homestay located in the middle of all the action, courtesy hotels.jetprivilege.com.
Here are five festivals that are worth packing your bags and travelling for…
Where: Mumbai, Maharashtra
When: Late August to early September 2018
The origin of Ganesh Chaturthi dates back to the famous Maratha ruler Shivaji who initiated the festival to promote cultural harmony. Later in 1882, Bal Gangadhar Tilak revived the festival during the British rule in India. At a time when all forms of public gathering were banned, this religious festival served as a perfect platform to spread and discuss the message of the freedom struggle.
The Maximum City has a totally different energy during Ganesh Chaturthi. This mega 10 days festival is Maharashtra’s biggest festival that is a celebration in honour of Lord Ganesha. More than 10,000 Ganesh Idols adorn the city and the Mumbai comes alive with colour and street processions during this time.
In the heart of Colaba stands this unconventional chic boutique hotel. Abode is a heritage property built in 1910 where the lobby has a striking 19th-century chandelier. All the 20 rooms feature vintage furniture, original artworks and Bombay’s bohemian past.
Where: Kolkata, West Bengal
When: October 2018
It’s carnival time in Kolkata during Durga Puja. Kolkata does not sleep during the Pujo festivities and all the neighbourhoods are lit up with beautiful pandals, music and cultural festivals and lots of good food. The best way to explore the city is to indulge in pandal hopping. It’s like a virtual art gallery with themed pandals decorated in the most unique way.
Another way to experience the festivities is by being a part of the festivities in the oldest households in Kolkata that have been celebrating Durga Puja for centuries. These aristocratic households are a contrast to the glitzy pandals and continue to preserve the traditional style of worship. Often families organize prasad known as ‘Bhog’ for visitors and give them a glimpse into the Bengali tradition.
The Ivy House is an 880-year-old restored colonial home located in South Kolkata’s famous Ballygunge neighbourhood. The 4-bedroom home comes with access to a private garden and a stunning rooftop perfect to read a book or sip coffee.
Where: Mysore, Karnataka
When: October 2018
In southern India, Dussehra or Dasara is synonymous with Mysore. It’s the most extravagant festival in the city royal city of Mysore. The festivities here take place at the Mysore Palace, the official residence of the royal family.
But it’s just not the palace that is all lit up and festive, the entire Mysore city is dressed up with flowers, rangolis, exhibitions, concerts and cultural events. The high point of the celebration is the Vijayadashmi procession that happens on the tenth day. Visitors can witness the Goddess seated on top of a decorated elephant, followed by guards, musicians and folk artists. Later in the evening, there is a gorgeous display of fireworks at the Mysore Palace.
The Royal Orchid Palace & Spa overlooks the breathtaking Brindavan Gardens. The garden with its manicured lawns and exquisite fountains attracts millions of visitors every year. There’s no place better than to stay amidst lush greenery.
Where: Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
When: November 2018
Kashi, aka today’s Varanasi, is believed to be the oldest city in the world and they say that every year during Dev Diwali the gods visit the holy city to celebrate. Dev Diwali falls 15 days after Diwali and the 80 plus ghats of Varanasi are lit up with a million diyas.
People hop onto boats known as bajdas and as the sun sets the waters of the Ganges reflect the flickering lights from the ghats. It’s a spectacle that attracts tourists from across the world where people hire boats for the entire evening to view the decorated ghats and then watch the beautiful Ganga Aarti on the famous Dashwamedha Ghat.
Located on its own ghat, the BrijRama Palace is a heritage hotel that was built in the 18th century. It is considered to be one of the oldest structures in Varanasi. Overlooking the Ganges the hotel is walking distance from the famous Dashwamedha Ghat.
Where: Kohima, Nagaland
When: December 2018
Nagaland is known as the land of tribal festivals and the Hornbill Festival is called, The Festival of Festivals. Named after the Indian Hornbill, the festival is dedicated to agriculture. Every year from December 1 – 10, all the tribes of Nagaland take part in the festivities at the Naga Heritage Village.
For visitors, it means a close up with the people and culture of Nagaland. Festival highlights include songs, folk dances, exhibitions and a cultural medley of the region. There’s even a display of Naga wrestling and other indigenous games.
The Kohima Camp is the ultimate travelling camp that is set up during the Hornbill festival. The tents are set up deep in the forest and feature little luxuries such as 24/4 light access through solar energy, hot showers, local cuisine and valet service.
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What is your favourite festival worth travelling for? Do share in the comments
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