India in February is all about enjoying the last of the cooler winter weather, at festivals in some of the best destinations across the country, including the Taj Mahal, Rajasthan, and Kerala.
Here's the best of what's on in February in India (listed by date).
- When: January 14 to February 25, 2013 (last major bathing date).
- Where: Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh.
- When: January 31-February 3, 2013.
- Where: 15 kilometers south of Ludhiana, in the Punjab.
- When: February 1-3, 2013.
- Where: NSIC Exhibition Grounds (Okhla), New Delhi.
Back for the third year, this Sufi music festival is set to feature top Sufi musicians from seven countries. Sufi music is qualified as "soul music" for Muslim mystics. It's often used to transcend the physical realm into the spiritual one. There will be music workshops all day and free concerts all evening, as well as an exhibition.
- When: February 1-3, 2013. Workshops 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Concerts: 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
- Where: Mohar Kunj, Kolkata.
- Cost: Free, but passes need to be obtained. Contact: Banglanatak, 58/114 Prince Anwar Shah Road. Ph: (33) 2417 8516/18.
Into its 25th year this year, the Surajkund Crafts Mela showcases the finest handloom, handicrafts, and Indian cuisine. Over 400 artisans display and demonstrate their crafts from all over India. There are also cultural programs, and an amusement zone for children.
The mela has a different theme from a different state of India every year.
- When: February 1-14, each year.
- Where: Surajkund, in the Faridabad district a short distance from South Delhi. It's around 35 minutes drive from Delhi airport.
The Kala Ghoda arts festival is a nine day extravaganza that sees Mumbai's Kala Ghoda Arts Precinct transformed into an open air exhibition space and stage show. This vibrant street festival includes arts and crafts, exhibitions, seminars, dance, music, theater, heritage walks, and special events for children. The great thing about it is that it's all free!
7. Indian Derby Weekend
Indian Derby Weekend is one of the biggest events on the Mumbai social calendar. A huge lifestyle sporting weekend, it attracts around 25,000 people. In addition to horse racing, there's international aerial ballet, professional salsa dancing, and live bands playing tributes to The Beatles, Rolling Stones, and Cliff Richard.
- When: First weekend in February, each year. February 3, 2013.
- Where: Mahalaxmi Race Course, Mumbai.
8. Chinakkathoor Pooram
This elephant pageant, held on the last day of the festival at the Sree Chinakkathoor Bhagavathy Temple, features 33 decorated elephants. The procession, held in the evening, is accompanied by drumming and other traditional music. In the 17 days leading up to the Chinakkathoor Pooram, you can also see shadow puppet performances every evening at the temple premises.
- When: February 5, 2013.
- Where: Sree Chinakkathoor Bhagavathy Temple, Palappuram, Palakkad district of Kerala.
If you're interested in admiring the old painted havelis (mansions) that the Shekhawati region is famous for, the Shekhawati Festival is the perfect time to do so. A one-day tour of the Shekhawati region is organized during the festival. It includes camel and jeep safaris, and farm visits. Cultural programs, competition, and fireworks also take place.
- When: February 7-10, 2013.
- Where: Shekhawati region of Rajasthan. The main location is Nawalgarh.
10. Goa Carnival
The colorful Goa Carnival, which started as a local feast by the Portuguese in the 18th century, has developed into the state's most famous event. During the festival, the streets come alive with parades, floats, music, and masked dances. It culminates with the Red and Black Dance, a formal ball in Panaji, where the dress code is red and black.
- When: February 9-12, 2013.
- Where: The carnival moves from city to city (Panaji, Margao, Vasco and Mapusa) in Goa.