If you don't mind the summer heat, you'll be able to enjoy some big events in India in May. Fortunately, a few of them take place in the hills where it's not too hot.
Here's the best of what's on in May in India (listed by date).
1. Moatsu Festival
Celebrated by the Ao tribes of Nagaland, the Moatsu Festival is a time of great rejoying as the planting season comes to an end. All activities are associated with the harvest. You can expect a lot of singing, dancing, and merry making at this festival. The highlight of the occasion is Sangpangtu. Men and women dress up in their best attire and sit around a fire, eating meat and wine.
- When: First week of May each year.
- Where: Mokokchung district villages (particularly Chuchuyimlang village), Nagaland.
- See More North East India Festivals
The Chithirai Festival is one of the biggest celebrations in Madurai. It re-enacts the wedding of Lord Sundareswarar (Lord Shiva) and Goddess Meenakshi (Lord Vishnu's sister). Legend has it that Lord Vishnu came to Madurai, mounted on a golden horse, to witness the wedding.
- When: May 1-14.
- Where: Madurai, Tamil Nadu.
The grandest of all Kerala temple festivals, the Thrissur Pooram features a procession of around 30 colorfully decorated elephants. Other attractions include drum concerts, ornamental parasol displays, and fireworks. The festival is a huge cultural event that runs through the night with exuberant celebrations. Special viewing areas are provided for foreigners at the festival.
- When: May 9, 2014.
- Where: Vadakkumnathan Temple, Thrissur, Kerala.
The Mt. Abu Summer Festival kicks off with ballad singing, followed by regional folk dancing. The festival also offers sports such as boat racing on Nakki Lake, and a roller skating race. It concludes with a fireworks display. The highlight of the festival is the Sham-e-Qawwali musical show, which features some of the most renowned qawwals from various parts of India.
- When: May 12-14, 2014.
- Where: Mt. Abu, Rajasthan.
The Dharamsala Film Festival is dedicated to celebrating consciousness and creativity in film. In keeping with this theme, the Festival presents the local community and travelers with a diverse range of high-quality independent films from around the world, with the aim of fostering awareness and change. A Thangka painting workshop will also be held during the festival.
- When: May 13-15, 2014.
- Where: Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh.
Buddha Jayanti, also known as Buddha Purnima, celebrates the birthday of Lord Buddha. It's the most sacred Buddhist festival. Activities include prayer meets, sermons and religious discourses, recitation of Buddhist scriptures, group meditation, processions, and worship of the statue of Buddha. Indian Railways runs a special Mahaparinirvan Express Buddhist Tourist Train that visits all Buddhist pilgrimage places in India.
- When: May 14, 2014.
- Where: Various Buddhist sites across India, particularly at Bodhgaya. The festival is also celebrated in Buddha Jayanti Park, Delhi.
7. Banganga Fair
This holy Hindu festival pays homage to Lord Krishna and his wife Radha. Devotees gather to bathe at the ghats of the Banganga River and be cleansed of their sins on the full moon. The festival is also a huge trading occasion. Merchants come from far and wide to sell their wares including rural ornaments, toys and household items. There are joy rides, such as merry-go-rounds and Ferris wheels, to entertain the kids as well.
- When: May 14, 2014.
- Where: Radha-Krishnaji Temple, on the banks of the Banganga River near Bairath, around an hour from Jaipur, Rajasthan.
8. Ooty Summer Festival
Ooty is a popular hill station in Tamil Nadu. Every May it comes alive with the Summer Festival. The flower show at the Botanical Gardens is particularly stunning. Other festival activities include cultural events, boat racing, and trekking.
- When: Dates to be announced. The festival usually starts in early May but is likely to be postponed until late May due to government elections.
- Where: Botanical Gardens, Ooty, Tamil Nadu.