Fairs and Festivals in Tamil Nadu

The state of Tamil Nadu is the origin of Dravidian culture. All the temples and monuments in the state are the best examples of Dravidian architecture. The state has made priceless contributions to the music, art, and literature of India. Bharatnatyam, one of the famous Indian dance forms, has its origin here. Tamil Nadu fairs and festivals are important events that happen round the year and lead to millions of footfalls from different corners of the world.

Tamil Nadu Fairs and Festivals: An Overview

All the fairs and carnivals in the state are observed with pomp and glory. Given below are some of the popular Tamil Nadu fairs and festivals:

Natyanjali Dance Festival

This festival takes place at Chidambaram, which is located beside the shoreline of the Bay of Bengal at a distance of 75 km from Pondicherry. The carnival begins from the day of Mahashivaratri and goes on for five days. The Natyanjali Dance Festival is the ideal means to pay tribute to Lord Nataraja, who is regarded as the lord of dancers. The Nataraj Temple is situated in a heavenly ambience.


The Pongal is also known as the Harvest Festival. It is observed to offer homage to the Nature, Sun and Cattle for supporting people with a thriving harvest and affluence. The conventional cuisine of Pongal or boiled rice with milk and jaggery is made at every house.

Tourist Fair Chennai

This fair in Chennai makes you familiar with the cultural resources, tourist attractions, and economic situation of Tamil Nadu. It is usually held in January.

Chithirai Festival Madurai

The renowned Madurai temple is the home to this event, which is approximately 500 km from Chennai. This colorful event begins from the start of the Tamil month of Chithirai and concludes on the 10th day of the month. The event is a magnificent rebuilding of the wedding of Princess Meenakshi of the Pandyas to Lord Sundareswarar.

Dance Festival Mamallapuram

This event starts on December 25th of each year and is celebrated on all Saturdays. Outdoor stages have been constructed approximately 1,300 years back. The remarkable monolithic stony carvings of the Pallava rulers are located beside the sea in the prehistoric city of Mamallapuram. This occasion is a true visual feast for the dance lovers. Dances performed include Bharatha Natyam, Kathakali, Kuchipudi, and Odissi.


This event is a sacred occasion that draws one to Kumbakonam once in every 12 years. Kumbakonam is known as the city of temples.


The expression "Arubathimoovar" factually denotes the 63 saints of Shiva, worshipped for living admirable lives of dedication and atonement. Bronze statues of the 63 saints adorn the spectacular Kapaliswar temple at Mylapore, Chennai. Once every year, these statues are taken out in a vibrant parade through the roads of Mylapore.

Summer Festivals

These carnivals take place in the various picturesque hill stations of the state. During this time, the hills get a new look. Adventure sports, cultural events, flower shows, and boat races increase the vigor of the event.

Saral Vizha (Kuttalm or Courtallm)

The Sarai Vizha is just a customary way of bathing. Definitely, a bath at the beautiful Courtallam waterfalls is no everyday affair. The healing waters of the boisterous fall are renowned for their therapeutic characteristics.

Kanthuri Festival

The state of Tamil Nadu is a truly cosmopolitan state with different cultures, religion, races and customs. This exceptional character has given birth to many colorful festivals and carnivals. Among these, the Kanthuri Festival of Tamil Nadu is a symbol of secularism in the state as well as in the country. The unique feature of the Kanthuri Festival is that it is enjoyed and observed by the Hindus, Muslims and people of all other faiths alike.

Held at the shrine of Saint Quadirwali, the Kanthuri Festival act as the platform to choose the spiritual leader of the celebrations from one of the descendants of the saint. Amid elaborate rituals and rites, the devotees present their offerings to the Peer. The tenth and the last day of the festival witnesses the anointment of the tomb of the saint Quadirwali with sandalwood paste. Then the paste is distributed among the followers. It is believed that the paste has magical healing power.

Kavadi Festival

One of the most exciting festivals in India, the Kavadi Festival of Tamil Nadu is a blend of faith, sacrifice, glamor and custom. The extreme pain and sacrifice, a devotee undergoes to offer his prayers to Lord Muruga is known as the Kavadi. It is believed, the amount of virtue one receives by performing the Kavadi is million time greater than the pain he suffers. A Kavadi is a generally a wooden stick, which has two baskets hanging from it. The Kavadi that is carried by the bearers in their shoulders may vary in shapes and sizes. The Kavadis are adorned with peacock feathers and numerous brass bells. The two baskets are usually filled with rice, milk or any other things, which the devotee has promised to offer the Lord in his Vow.

The Kavadi bearer has to observe different rules from the time he has picked up the Kavadi till the day of the offering. One of the most difficult Kavadi offerings is the Agni Kavadi, where the devotee has to walk over a pit of burning coals while carrying the Kavadi. Egged by the watching crowd and boosted by the beating drums and fragrance of the burning incense sticks, the Kavadi bearer ecstatically walks through the red hot coals.


The Velankanni Festival of Tamil Nadu is surrounded by many mysterious legends. The most popular story is that some shipwrecked Portuguese sailors were saved miraculously from a terrible storm in the sea. After they had reached the shore, the local fishermen took them to a dilapidated chapel to thanks the god for saving their live. The sailors paid their tribute by establishing a permanent church. They worked on the improvement of the church with their subsequent visits.

The church was dedicated to Our Lady on the eighth day of the month of September. That was the beginning of the nine day long festival of Velankanni. Thousands of religious followers and devotees wearing orange robes visit the holy place where the ship landed. The divine church, which has earned the name - Lourdes of the East is well known for Virgin Mary's heavenly healing power.

The Marian shrine is one of the most visited pilgrimage sites of southern Asia. Serene and picturesque landscape embraces the chapel, which is bathed by the sea green waters of the Bay of Bengal. This out of the world set up, makes it a great tourists spot. Pilgrims and visitors from all over the country and even different parts of the world come to see the famed chapel. If you are traveling to Tamil Nadu and still have not visited the church, its high time you should.


Navrathri is celebrated in this state in a slightly different manner. Dolls, also known as Golu, are made and put on display.

Karthigai Deepam

It is also named as the "Festival of Lights" and it is one of the most colorful carnivals in the state. Karthigai Deepam is a very old event in Southern India which takes place on a full moon day. Small lamps are lit by people, embodying the Agni Linga.

Thyagaraja Music Festival

This Carnatic music carnival is held at Thiruvariyar. It takes place every year. The fiesta started to pay tribute to Saint Thyagaraja and is a treat for music lovers.

Last Updated on 2/15/2011