The famous festival season gets underway in August in India. Visitors can enjoy some of India's most popular and traditional festivals and events.
Here's the best of events in August in India (listed by date).
Red Earth's The Monsoon Festival celebrates its 7th edition in 2012. A well established cultural festival in Delhi, it aims to celebrate the magic of the Indian monsoon with the old and the new, reviving forgotten traditional cultural practices and pioneering contemporary creative expressions. Enjoy visual art, fashion, theater, walks, workshops, and markets.
- When: July 28 - August 12, 2012.
- Where: Delhi.
On Raksha Bandhan, sisters tie a Rakhi (a beautifully crafted and decorated thread) on the right wrist of their brothers as a reminder of love and protection. The brother vows to take care of his sister and in return offers her gifts and sweets. The festival is a wonderful way of bringing the family closer together. Many women also tie Rakhis on their close friends and neighbors as a sign of caring and harmony in their social lives.
- When: August 2, 2012.
- Where: All over India.
The festival of Krishna Janmashtami, also known as Govinda, commemorates the birthday of Lord Krishna. An extremely fun part of the festival involves people climbing on each other and forming a human pyramid to try and reach and break open clay pots filled with curd, which have been strung up high from buildings.
- When: August 9-10, 2012.
- Where: Throughout India. One of the best places to experience the festival is in the city of Mumbai. Celebrations take place at hundreds of locations throughout the city. The huge ISKCON temple complex, in the beach side suburb of Juhu, also runs a three day cultural program. The most elaborate rituals are performed at Mathura in northern India, where Lord Krishna was born and spent his childhood.
The Nehru Trophy snake boat race is undoubtedly the most exciting boat race of the year in Kerala. This race is held in memory of India's late Prime Minister, Jawahar Lal Nehru. An impromptu snake boat race was held in 1952 when the Prime Minister visited Alleppey. Apparently he was so impressed with the welcome and the race, he donated a trophy. The race has continued on ever since. It takes place annually on the second Saturday of August. This year will be its 60th anniversary, with extensive three day celebrations to mark the occasion.
- When: August 9-11, 2012.
- Where: Punnamda Lake, Alleppey in Kerala.
5. Gogamedi Fair
The Gogamedi Fair is a traditional Rajasthani cattle and handicraft fair. It's held to pay tribute to regional hero Gogaji, believed to be a snake God. One of the big attractions of the fair is the rustic singing and dancing. It starts on Goga Navami, the ninth day of the Krishna Paksha (waning phase of moon) in the Hindu month Bhadrapad.
- When: August 11-13, 2012.
- Where: Ganganagar, on the northern Rajasthan border.
6. Jhapan Mela
Another snake festival, Jhapan means a stage set up to exhibit tricks with snakes. And that's exactly what happens at the Jhapan Mela. Snake charmers, called Jhampanias, bring king cobras and other snakes in cane baskets and perform astonishing acts with them. The festival, which is largely of tribal origin, is celebrated in honor of the serpent Goddess Manasa, the daughter of Lord Shiva. She's worshiped for good rainfall and fertile land. It takes place on the last day of the Bengali month of Sravana (mid August).
- When: Date to be confirmed.
- Where: The western region of West Bengal, particularly at Bishnupur/Vishnupur (same place, just sometimes spelled differently due to translation) in the Bankura district.
Onam is a traditional ten day harvest festival that marks the homecoming of the mythical King Mahabali. It's a festival rich in culture and heritage. People strikingly decorate the ground in front of their houses with flowers arranged in beautiful patterns to welcome the King. The festival is also celebrated with new clothes, feasts served on banana leaves, dancing, sports, games, and snake boat races.
- When: August 29, 2012 (celebrations start 10 days prior and continue for around a week after).
- Where: Kerala. The most spectacular celebrations take place in Trivandrum, Thrissur, and Kottayam.