India comes alive in December with an eclectic mix of traditional and modern festivals and events. From classical to electronic dance music, and local performers to international DJs, it's all on offer. Not to forget Christmas celebrations as well!
Here's the best of what's on in December in India (listed by date).
Bundi is a picturesque spot in the Hadoti region in Rajasthan. The Bundi Utsav brings it alive with the culture, folklore, traditions and craft of the region. The festival commences with a procession, and features an arts and crafts fair, traditional rural sports, cultural exhibition, and folk/classical music and dance program. There's even a turban competition. Fireworks cap off the festival.
- When: December 1-3, 2012.
- Where: Bundi, Rajasthan.
The official Konark Festival, organized by Orissa Tourism, features a range of classical Odissi, Bharathnatyam, Manipuri, Kathak and Chau dance performances. Added attractions are an exhibition of Orissan temple sculptures, sand art exhibition, and crafts fair. The festival has been taking place since 1989.
- When: December 1-5 each year.
- Where: Open air auditorium, Natamandir, near the Konark Temple.
The unique Hornbill Festival, named after the bird, shows just how diverse a country India really is. Held in a tiny and remote north eastern state of India, the festival is one of the largest celebrations of the indigenous warrior tribes of the region. It features traditional arts, dances, folk songs, and games, and music concerts in the evenings. Local handicrafts are also on sale during the festival. Unfortunately, a major drawback is that the festival is not easy to get to. Tourists require a permit to enter the state, and must to travel in groups of four or more people.
- When: December 1-7 each year.
- Where: Kisama Heritage Village (near Kohima town), Nagaland.
Feast of Francis Xavier
- When: December 3 each year.
- Where: Bom Jesus Basilica, near Panaji, Goa.
- When: December 15-27, 2012.
- Where: Janata Maidan, Bhubaneshwar, Orissa.
- When: December 15, 2012 to January 31, 2013.
- Where: Dhordo Village, Rann of Kutch, Gujarat.
- When: Mid December to mid January each year.
- Where: Music halls all over Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
- When: December 22 to January 1 each year.
- Where: Fort Kochi, Kerala.
Shilpgram Art and Craft Fair
Anyone who loves shopping should make it a point to try and catch this impressive arts and crafts fair. Over 400 artisans and craftsmen from all over India come to set up stalls at the fair, which takes place in a sprawling artisans' village set up by the West Zone Cultural Center. Folk dances and cultural programs are also held as part of the festival. It's a great way to experience rural India culture.
- When: December 23 to January 1 each year.
- Where: Shilpgram, near Udaipur, Rajasthan.
Christmas in India is more of a commercial occasion than a religious occasion, as Christians make up less than 5% of India's population. However, you'll still be able to find plenty of traditional Christmas cheer in some parts of the country.
- When: December 25 each year.
- Where: Various locations in India.