Here's the best of what's on in September in India (in date order).
There isn't a more colorful start to the Onam festival than the Athachamayam festival, which kicks off celebrations. The festival features a street parade accompanied by decorated elephants and floats, musicians, and various traditional Kerala art forms.
- When: September 7, 2013.
- Where: Tripunithura, near Ernakulam in greater Kochi.
The spectacular eleven day Ganesh Chaturthi festival honors the birth of the beloved Hindu elephant-headed god, Lord Ganesha. The start of the festival sees huge, elaborately crafted statutes of Ganesha installed in homes and podiums, which have been especially constructed and beautifully decorated. At the end of the festival, the statutes are paraded through the streets, accompanied by much singing and dancing, and then submerged in the ocean.
- When: September 9-18, 2013.
- Where: Mostly in the states of Maharashtra, Goa, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. One of the best places to experience the festival is in the city of Mumbai.
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: September 16, 2013 (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.
Hundreds of grown men dressed up as tigers and dancing to the beat of traditional percussion instruments are an unexpected feature of Onam celebrations. Although this display of the art of Pulikkali may be one of the quirkiest festivals in India, it's actually very serious business!
- When: September 19, 2013.
- Where: Swaraj Round in Thrissur.
The Aranmula Boat Race is a predominantly religious occasion, that forms part of Onam celebrations. Rather than being a contest, it's more about retracing the time offerings were carried on snake boats to the Aranmula Parthasarthy Temple. The whole occasion is a celebration of the day Lord Krishna crossed the river.
- When: September 20, 2013.
- Where: Along the Pampa River at Aranmula, near Chengannur, around 50 kilometers (31 miles) south of Alleppey in Kerala.
6. Ladakh Festival
The Ladakh Festival is a cultural extravaganza, and main showcase event for the region. It has plenty to offer tourists, including polo-match, music concerts, mask dances from the monasteries, motorbike/cycle expedition to Khardung-la, Thanka painting exhibition, archery, river rafting, and folk songs. Hotel and local transport discounts are available for the duration of the festival.
- When: September 20-26, 2013.
- Where: Leh and surrounding villages.