Visit India in January and you'll be able to enjoy popular musical and dance events, as well as traditional festivals and parades. Kites, camels, and cattle are just some of what's on offer!
Here's the best of what's on in January in India (listed by date). This article has two pages, so don't overlook clicking on "Next" at the bottom of this page, to go to page two.
This hugely popular and much anticipated month long festival, which is often described as the world's largest cultural event, serves up a plethora of traditional south Indian Carnatic music, dance, and other arts. Over 1,000 performances take place during the festival, along with music related seminars, discussions, and demonstrations.
- When: Mid December to January each year.
- Where: Music halls all over Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
2. Mamallapuram Dance Festival
The open air Mamallapuram Dance Festival is held against a background of rock sculptures in the beach town of Mamallapuram, just south of Chennai. It runs for a month and showcases a range of classical and folk dances from all over India.
- When: Daily until January 25, 2014. From 6-9 p.m.
- Where: Arjuna's Penance, Mamallapuram, near Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
3. Goa Lokotsav 2014 Folk Festival
This folk festival provides a platform for traditional artisans from different parts of India and Goa to display and sell their wares. Around 600 craftsmen and 300 performing artists are expected to participate.
- When: January 7-16, 2014.
- Where: Open Air Theater at Kala Academy, Panjim.
See millions of brightly colored kites take over the sky from sunrise until sunset at this festival, which marks the occasion of Makar Sankranti (the transition of the sun into the northern hemisphere) and celebrates life and fertility. The event attracts kite flyers from many different countries. In addition to kite flying, there's aerial acrobats, kite painting competitions, and kite making workshops. Great fun for kids!
- When: January 9-15, 2014.
- Where: Ahmedabad, Gujurat. Also at Jaipur and Jodhpur.
Dance, drama, music, puppet shows, fireworks, and spectacular processions all take place against the ruins of Hampi at this lively festival. The idea behind the festival is to recreate the grandeur of the time when Hampi was the capital of Vijayanagar, one of the greatest Hindu kingdoms in India's history.
- When: January 10-12, 2014.
- Where: Hampi, Karnataka.
Pongal, a huge harvest festival in southern India, is India's equivalent of Thanksgiving. The most important part of the festival is cooking the Pongal dish, made out of boiled milk and rice, on the auspicious second day. Families gather to feast and dance.
- When: January 13-16, 2014.
- Where: Tamil Nadu.
7. Kenduli Mela
For an unforgettable dose of West Bengal folk music don't miss the Kenduli Mela, where the mystical wandering Baul musicians gather to perform. Dressed in saffron robes, and playing a distinctive instrument called the Ektara, they sing uniquely about life's philosophy.
The Mukteshwar Dance Festival, which concentrates on Odissi dance and music, offers solo, duet and group Odissi performances. This year, a number of reputed troupes from Cuttack, Bhubaneswar, New Delhi, Bangalore, Kolkata, and the US will perform at the festival. It takes place in the courtyard of one of Bhubaneswar's most prominent and well-preserved temple complexes.
- When: January 14-16, 2014.
- Where: Mukteshwar Temple Complex, Bhubaneswar.
9. Bikaner Camel Fair
As its name suggests, the focus of this festival (organized by the Rajasthan government's Department of Tourism, Art & Culture), is camels -- and plenty of them. The festival kicks off with a procession of camels decorated in their finest attire, and continues on with camel beauty pageants, camel races, and camel dancing. Who ever thought camels could dance? It's worth attending the festival just to see that performance! The festival ends with entertainment by Rajasthani folk artists, and fireworks.
- When: January 15-16, 2014.
- Where: Bikaner, Rajasthan.
Lovers of literature shouldn't miss this fantastic opportunity to meet with renowned national and international authors and listen to them speak -- and all for free! The Jaipur Literature Festival is an annual event that's considered to be one of the most important literature events in Asia. A festival program and details of attending authors are available on the event's website. The list is extensive and impressive.
- When: January 17-21, 2014.
- Where: Diggi Palace, Jaipur, Rajasthan.