Festivals in Gujarat

Gujarat Fairs & Festivals

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Gujarat Fairs & Festivals
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Gujarat fairs and festivals are well known world wide. It is due to the celebration of numerous fairs and festivals in Gujarat that it is also called the 'Land of fairs and festivals'. Around 3500 fairs and festivals at Gujarat are celebrated all the year around. The fairs and festivals of Gujarat can be celebrated for the change of season, at harvesting time of a green field, on some religious event.

The significance of Gujarat fairs and festivals is that they take you closer to the rich cultural diversity of the people there. You get to see the customs, ethics, values and beliefs of the people of Gujarat. Moreover, you also get to know the regional cuisine, clothes, etc, during the fairs and festivals of Gujarat.

All the fairs and festivals at Gujarat are governed by solar and lunar calendars and are mainly religious in nature. One striking feature of the fairs and festivals in Gujarat is that one can experience the cultural and religious diversity of the place.

The Gujarat fairs and festivals attract thousands of tourists every year from all across the globe to come and witness the dense cultural heritage of this part of India. Some of the Gujarat fairs and festivals that have attracted global attention are:

List of Fairs and Festivals

Navratri Mahotsav Navratri is the most awaited, well known and oldest festival of Gujarat which attracts visitors from all across the globe. Navratri is one of the largest festivals that is celebrated all across the state. In fact, the whole of India celebrates it with extreme pomp and merriment. But if you truly want to enjoy the colors of Navratri, then visit Gujarat.

Navratri means nine nights and is celebrated for nine days before Dussehra. The Navratri at Gujarat is celebrated in honor of the Goddess Shakti to commemorate her victory over the evil spirit and for starting off the reign of peace on the earth.

Navratri at Gujarat is symbolized with colors of fun and festivity. Garba and Dandiya, the two folk dances of Gujarat have got their prominence through Navratri. People of Gujarat can be seen in their ethnic wears during Navratri. Women wear ghaghra choli while the men wear dhoti kurta. Navratri of Gujarat has an economical significance also. This festival attracts lots of tourists every year.

During the festival of Navratri at Gujarat, you can enjoy the traditional costumes, folk dance and folk music, and the traditional cuisine of Gujaratis. Moreover, Navratri brings together people from all religions who get intoxicated by the mesmerizing charm of this colorful festival. Generally, Navratri is celebrated in October when Goddess Durga is worshiped.

You will find yourself to be extremely lucky if you visit the city of Gujarat during the Navratri festival because the festive season will make your journey a memorable one.

International Kite festival

International Kite Festival is one of the most colorful events in Gujarat. The sky around Gujarat is filled with the colorful kites all around. The International Kite Festival at Gujarat is celebrated on 14th January, the day when Makar Sakranti is also celebrated. Earlier it was a regional kite festival which turned into International Kite Festival in the year 1989 and since then it is held every year at Ahmedabad.

International Kite Festival is so famous throughout the globe, that kite enthusiasts from all across the world gather here on this date to test their skill of flying kites. The Patang Bazaar is the hot spot of the youth during this festival. The International Kite Festival at Gujarat is sponsored by Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Limited.

International Kite Festival of Gujarat has its own significance. It symbolizes the end of winter season and inculcates the spirit of brotherhood and togetherness among the common men. The star attraction of the International Kite Festival in Gujarat is the fact that it is not restricted to any one religion but is celebrated by members of all religions.

International Kite Festival in Gujarat has some religious significance as well. It is believed that on this date the sun moves into the northern hemisphere and thats why to keep away all evil things, people show generosity by visiting temples and offering alms to the poor.

Another significant feature of the International Kite Festival of Gujarat is that it brings the friends and foes to the same platform and they amuse others with their kite fights. Another wonder to be noticed on the day of the International Kite Festival at Gujarat is the sky, which dazzles with thousands of colorful kites. You will not get to see the same any where else on the earth. So drop into Ahmedabad and get mesmerized by the International Kite Festival.

Holi

Holi in Gujarat is one of the festival that celebrates the vibrant spirit of the Gujarati people. Holi is a festival of color and happiness, and on this day it is a custom to resolve all differences with everybody, including your enemies.

The festival, Holi has its origin in the legend of Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna used to take active part in Holi. During this festival, it is also customary to drink buttermilk, as it was the favorite drink of Lord Krishna.

On the eve of Holi, a beautiful bonfire is decorated with flowers and fruits. Many people also offer home cooked food or other edibles such as raw mangoes, coconut, corn, toys made up of sugar or khoya (a milk product) to the bonfire as their offerings to the Goddess Holika. It is also a ritual to put a vermilion mark on each other's forehead and hug each other on this day.

Later in the evening, the bonfire is lit and people dance and sing around it. Virgins from each of the Gujarati family create idols of Goddess Gauri (another name for Durga) out of the ashes and perform Gauri Puja.

The succeeding day, which is known as 'Dhuleti', is reserved for playing colors. Young boys and girls form small groups called 'tolis' and roam about in search of people who are still left to be smeared.

In fact, Gujarati Holi is famous for its certain characteristics. In Gujarat, it is customary to break earthen pots filled with buttermilk, which is tied high up on a rope on this day.

Hundreds of people join hands to make a human pyramid, so that they can reach the pot. But the crucial factor is that people who surround the pyramid, keep throwing water on the group forming the pyramid.

Thus, Holi in Gujarat is thrilling! It has its own charm.

Deepawali

With almost 3,500 festivals celebrated in different parts of Gujarat every year, it can well be termed the 'land of festivals and fairs'. Deepavali is one of the leading festivals in Gujarat.

When: October/November. The month Asvina, in Indian calender, marks the end of the harvesting season. This month ends with Deepavali.

Duration of Deepavali of Gujarat: Four days
Facts about Deepavali in Gujarat

The first day of the festival starts with the Laxmi Puja.

The second day is celebrated as the day of casting off evils.

The third day is the actual Deepavali day. On this day, every home is illuminated and decorated with light. The literal meaning of Deepavali in Sanskrit is 'a row of lamps.' A large number of crackers are also burst.

The fourth and the last day is the New year day for the Gujaratis. On this day, the Gujaratis visit temples in colorful costumes and greet each other.

Myths about Deepavali: Lord Ram made a triumphant return to his capital Ayodhya, where he was crowned, after vanquishing Ravan and rescuing Sita. The people of Gujarat decorated their homes with lamps to mark the joyous occasion. Since then, this day is celebrated as Deepavali - the festival of lights'.

Legends about Deepavali: The common theme of all the legends is the triumph of good over evil. The most popular legend about Deepavali is about a demon named Narkasura, who began to terrorize the three worlds with his awesome powers. His defeat and death at the hands of Krishna is celebrated as Deepavali.

Bhadra Purnima Fair

Ambaji Bhadra Purnima is one of the biggest festivals celebrated in Gujarat. More than a million devotees from different parts of India as well as abroad attend the Bhadra Purnima festival, as the devotees have a strong belief in the goddess.

Where: Ambaji, Gujarat. The main event of Bhadra Purnima in Gujarat takes place at the shrine of goddess Ambaji near the foothills of Aravalli mountain ranges.

When: On the full moon night in the month of August or September, this festival is celebrated.

Duration: One day

How to Reach: Ahmedabad is well connected to the other nearby cities and towns of the state. It is accessible by air, rail, and road.

Special attractions:

Ambaji Bhadra Shrine, one of the oldest and attractive shrines in Gujarat

A nearby place called Gabbargadh, a small hill 2 miles west of Ambaji

A large fair followed by Garba programs in the evening

Readings of the Saptashati, the 700 verses, in praise of the goddess

Cultural shows of Bhavai, an ancient and purely folk form of dance drama that belongs exclusively to Gujarat

Some strange facts about Ambaji Bhadra Purnima: Unlike almost all other Hindu temples, the temple has no idol. Worship of images of deities became popular much later than the period in which this temple was constructed.

Myths about Ambaji Bhadra Purnima: According to the ancient scriptures written about the goddess, the temple of Ambaji is where the heart of the Goddess Ambaji fell on the earth, when her body was dismembered.

Shamlaji Melo

Also known as the Kartik Purnima fair, the Shamlaji Melo of Gujarat is a very renowned fair and attracts tribes not only from within the state but also from the nearby state of Rajasthan. The significance of this fair is the fact that the people inspite of their differences in caste and creed celebrates this fair in great harmony.

Shamlaji Melo at Gujarat is held on the full moon day in the month of karthik as per the local calendar, which generally falls in November. Shamlaji Melo at Gujarat lasts for two weeks at Shamlaji, a small town located on the Delhi-Ahemdabad highway. The fair is organized near the very famous Shamlaji temple, Vaishnav Shrine. The Shamlaji Melo of Gujarat offers you a chance to visit this beautiful temple which still bears the ancient architecture of the 11th century.

Those who visit Shamlaji Melo of Gujarat, must also pay a visit to River Meshwo to take a bath because the water of this river is considered to be holy. The Shamlaji Melo at Gujarat offers you a vivid and colorful picture of Gujarat's cultural heritage. You get to see the true secular India here where people from every religion participate.

As a memory of your visit to the Shamlaji Melo of Gujarat, you can buy some handicrafts on sale. You also get to learn a lot about the religious beliefs and culture of the local tribes of Gujarat through the Shamlaji Melo.

The place is so well connected with roads, that you would not face any problem in visiting the Shamlaji Melo in Gujarat.

Vautha Mela

Vautha Mela is one of the largest rural fairs organized in Gujarat. The Vautha Mela of Gujarat holds both mythological and economical importance. Vautha Mela is organized every year in the month of Kartik as per Hindu calendar which coincides with the month of November as per the English calendar.

Vautha Mela at Gujarat is organized near the concourse of seven rivers and is named after Vautha, the place where the two rivers Sabarmati and Vatrak merge. Though the Vautha village is small and consists a population of around 2000 people, during the Vautha Mela, the population of Vautha rises to 2,00,000.

As per the mythology, Lord Kartik, the son of Lord Shiva had visited this place, this is why the Vautha Mela in Gujarat is organized every year. The Vautha Mela starts from the full moon night in November which is the month of Lord Kartik. The place where the Vautha Mela is set up is also the homeland of the seven sages. So religiously also, this place is very significant.

Commercially, Vautha Mela of Gujarat is very important for it is the largest animal trading fair of Gujarat. Every year around 4000 to 5000 donkeys are sold here by the Vanjara tribes of Gujarat. Another important feature of Vautha Mela at Gujarat is the fact that it is organized in an area of 3 square miles.

Vautha Mela has been a great tourist spot which has attracted thousands of tourists, both national and international, every year. Do not miss the chance to explore the rural Gujarat!

Trineteshwar

Trineteshwar Mahadev Fair of Gujarat is held every year in the month of September at the industrial town of Thangadh in the Saurashtra district. The fair is basically a marriage mart for the local tribes who come there in search of life partners for their children. The ritual of arranging marriage mart at Gujarat's Trineteshwar Mahadev Fair comes from the epic Mahabharta. It is believed that Draupadi's Swayamvar was held at this place. Hence every year, hundreds of youth gather here in search of their soul mates. As per the rituals, if a girl stops speaking to one of the men there, it is the sign that she has found the men of her choice.

Another attraction of the Trineteshwar Mahadev Fair is the temple of Lord Shiva which is thronged by several visitors during the fair. If you really want to enjoy the rituals and customs of the people of Gujarat, this fair is the best one.

At Trineteshwar Mahadev Fair you can witness people dressed up in ethnic clothes and enjoying amidst the folk music. Various sports are organized where the local tribes like Koli, Bharwad, Rabari, Kanbi, Khant and Charan participate.

At the Trineteshwar Mahadev Fair in Gujarat, do not forget to check out the rural art and crafts including the embroidered clothes, handicrafts, etc. The charm and grace of the Trineteshwar Mahadev Fair attracts tourists from all across the globe.

Trineteshwar Mahadev Fair at Gujarat is the best place to explore the cultural richness of Gujarat and its people. The fair will add color to the memories of your Gujarat visit.

Rathyatra

The Rathayatra festival in Gujarat is held during the Asadh month of the lunar calendar. Besides celebrating the journey of Lord Krishna, the Rathayatra also celebrates the day on which the Rig Veda, the oldest of the Vedas, was revealed.

Early in July, Hindus celebrate the Rathayatra festival. Rathayatra is derived from two words 'ratha' meaning chariot and 'yatra' implying 'journey'; therefore, as the name suggests, Rathayatra is the journey or procession of Lord Krishna in his 'Ratha'.

Furthermore, one can find two different interpretations for the Rathayatra. One school is of the opinion that Rathayatra signifies Lord Krishna's travel from Gokul or Mathura; but the second school also seems to draw reference with the chariot procession of the Buddha's tooth at Dantapuri, the old Puri.

On this day, the tutelary deities, namely Lord Krishna, Balaram and Subhadra are installed on huge chariots, and devotees from all parts of the country come together to pull the the chariot in its journey through the streets.

In Gujarat the Rathayatra festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm and joy. In Gujarat, glorious processions are conducted by the cities like Ahmedabad, Surat, Bhavnagar, etc. People throughout Gujarat make replicas of the gigantic Ratha to commemorate the festival.

What is significant about Rathayatra is that people from all the communities come together to pull the chariot of Lord Krishna. It is, in fact, held as a privilege to have drawn the chariot of the Almighty. This secular nature of Rathayatra owes much to the Jagannath cult.

The Rathayatra is, in fact, among the most important festivals in Gujarat which is celebrated in order to pay their homage to their tutelar God, Ranchhod.

Due to its year round celebrations, you can witness the fairs and festivals of Gujarat any time you go there.

Last Updated on : 5/06/2013