The air of late autumn has a bite, for cold times lie ahead. In sweet November, the festive fever doesn’t quite wear off and life seems to crawl like a restful river. It is last month to get away from the busy schedule before winter ushers in the great Indian wedding season. With nights drawing in early and dawn arriving late, here are the best places to visit in India for the love of November.
Need a spiritual awakening? Stretch your body and heal your soul in the 7th edition of International Yoga and Music Festival. It will be held from 1 to 7 November for hippies, yogis and yuppies from all walks of life. Enrol in meditation classes, learn more about benefits of Ayurveda and Yoga and find solace in peaceful surroundings. If Dhanurasana is not how you roll, keep in mind that rafting season in Rishikesh is now under way to paddle your way to glory.
Few destinations in India are as surreal as the Great Rann of Kutch. Beginning from the first week of November, Rann Utsav is a celebration of diverse traditions and unique lifestyle of tribes in Kutch region in western Gujarat. Witness the creative ingenuity of local artisans, camp under the moonlit sky in the whitest of the desert and enjoy outdoor activities like camel rides. Mandvi Beach, Kala Dungar, Aina Mahal and Vijay Vilas Palace are popular attractions nearby.
Chhath in Bihar is celebrated with utmost fervour. Prayers are offered to the Sun as in Hinduism, it is considered as the god of life-force. The rituals in Bihar are rigorously observed over a period of four days. It includes holy bathing, fasting and offering arghya to the rising and setting sun. The festival will be observed among people all over India who have roots in Bihar and Jharkhand. The date for this year’s Chhath Puja is November 7.
The day when Hindus celebrate Dev Diwali, Sikhs commemorate the birth of the first of the ten Sikh Gurus, Guru Nanak. Known as Guru Nanak Gurpurab, it is one of the most revered festivals in Sikhism. Since the Sri Harimandir Sahib (Golden Temple) is the holiest Gurdwara, Sikhs gather in large numbers at this site to offer their prayers. Visitors can feed the hungry as a volunteer in the famous ‘langar’ organised by the temple authorities, which feeds up to 1 lakh people every day for free. Do remember to chant “ik onkaar sat naam…”
Nothing is more royal than colourful turbans and amber dunes of Rajasthan. Pushkar Fair stands for turban-tying and moustache-flaunting contests, camel races and hot-air ballooning. Known to Rajasthanis as Pushkar ka mela, the camel fair from 8 to 14 November is an absolute pandemonium where every turn of the neck offers a different sight to behold. Visit the famous Brahma Temple, get the bird-eye view of the city on a balloon ride, take a selfie with decked-up camels and feast on Rajasthani cuisine like a king.
Imagine yourself getting a painting and surfing lesson in a single day. India Surf Festival (12 to 14 November) in Puri is a melting pot of ideas to utilise art, music and adventure. It’s a congregation of surfers, musicians and designers inspiring each other through their interactions. Puri Beach Festival – to promote cultural and ethnic elements – will also be held at Konark Marine Drive between 23 and 29 November. Spend the day with deities and save the evening for unplugged jamming sessions and adventure sports.
Kartik Purnima has a significance in Hindu religion. People celebrate this day as Dev Deepawali across North India. The holistic ghats of Varanasi (Darbhanga and Assi) are decorated with illuminating diyas to have an experience so blissful and divine, it is impossible to put into words. Get there a few days early to catch the soulful music and enigmatic events of Mahindra Kabira Festival that is set to take place between November 4 and 6. It will feature poem recitals, heritage walks, literary sessions and food stalls.
Would you like to drive up to McLeod Ganj for a special film screening? To anyone who loves mountains as much as films, it doesn’t get any better than Dharamshala International Film Festival (DIFF). The fifth edition of this festival will showcase the best of independent, alternative cinema and contemporary art. It is scheduled to take place from the 3 to 6 November. From Raam Reddy’s critically-acclaimed Tithi to McAllister’s A Syrian Love Story, DIFF will screen 43 films including feature, short and docu-fiction from 21 countries.
For those looking for something off-beat and unique, Wangala Festival is the answer. The Garo tribe in Meghalaya celebrates this harvest festival up to three days in the second week of November. Being a harvest festival, it is almost exclusively observed in the rural regions and has less observance in the urban or developed areas. Rugala, Sasat Sowa and Dama Gogata are three rituals that are performed on these days, usually at the place of the chief (Nokma) of the village.
Visual arts holds a special place in hearts of all Marathi people. The 56th Maharashtra State Marathi Theatre Festival will commence from November 7 at 19 centres. Three centres in Nashik division will host the primary round: Nashik, Jalgaon and Ahmednagar. There will be up to 250 state-wise performances by amateur groups.
So, save the date and plan ahead to surrender yourselves to November’s cultural extravaganza.
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Historical Places in India
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