Have you visited Gujarat? If you haven’t then now is your chance to do so especially during festivals in Gujarat. These festivals capture the vivacity, the cultural richness of the state. From fantastic architecture, tribal artisans, excellent arts and crafts, Asiatic lions, sacred sites of pilgrimage, mountains, and large flatlands, golden beaches, deserts, and migratory birds -Gujarat has it all.
Festivals in Gujarat
The lively state proudly shows its ancient traditions and customs through their celebrations of festivals throughout the year. Nearly every festival is special and has something unique about it. Some festivals known the world over are the Janmashtami and Dahi handi celebrations, the kite festival and the well-known traditional and colourful Garba organized during Navratri.
Gujarat Festival Calendar
|Name of the Festival||Dates||Places|
|International Kite Festival||7th -14 Jan||Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara, Rajkot, Nadiad|
|Rann Utsav||1st November 28th February||Rann of Kutch and Bhuj|
|Navratri||September/October||Vadodara, rest of Gujarat|
|Shamlaji Fair||31st October 4th November||Shamlaji temple, Gujarat and Rajasthan border|
|Modhera Dance Festival||19th -21st January||Sun Temple, Modhera|
|Janmashtami||August||Dwarka, rest of Gujarat|
|Bhavnath Mahadev Fair||February or March||Bhavnath Temple, Junagadh|
|Paragliding Festival||December January||Satpura|
To get a better idea about precise dates and places check here. You can also visit www.gujarattourism.com for more info before you plan a holiday. We at Skyscanner picked a few places you must visit if you would like to experience the fervour of festivals in Gujarat to the fullest.
International Kite Festival
One of the biggest festivals in Gujarat, people plan for it, months in advance. Held on 14th January every year, this festival marks the end of winter and the beginning of summer when the sun is out and its time for harvest. Begun in 1989, Ahmedabad hosts the International Kite Festival at the Sardar Patel Stadium, as a part of official celebrations in the state.
This festival attracts thousands, including master kite makers from Malaysia bringing in their wau-balang kites, Indonesians bringing the llayang-llayanghave, sharing the sky with USA’s giant banner kites, Chinese flying dragons, Japanese rokkaku fighting kites, Italian sculptural kites, and the state-of-the-art high-tech modern wonders. The sky full of box kites, high-speed sport kites -from windsocks and spin-socks to hand-painted inventive kites, they are mesmerising to watch for sure. You can also take part in other competitions held in other parts of Gujarat. Don’t forget to enjoy their sumptuous festival special food.
Read More: Kite Festivals to Know-Let your kites soar
If you want to experience white salt deserts, folk music and dance then make sure you plan a visit to the Rann of Kutch -the site of the fantastic Rann Utsav. This two-month festival attracts thousands around the world. The festival is when you will find accommodations in the tent city that mushrooms in Dhordo, Bhuj just before the festival starts in November and taken down after it ends in February.
Located in a salt marsh inside the Thar Desert that spreads over 7500 sq.km, the Rann Utsav is a must-visit. From authentic bazaars selling handcrafted items, traditional bandhani sarees and jewellery to experiencing the white sand on a moonlit night, enjoying adventurous activities like ATV rides, para-motoring, zorbing, hot-air balloon rides and more. Enjoy Gujarat’s folk culture, get a taste of their delicious food while you take in folk dances like Tippani, Garba, and Hallisaka.
Festivals in Gujarat are plenty; however, the fervour for the Hindu festival Navratri is unlike any other. Celebrated across the country in September or October every year, this nine-day dance fest honours Goddess Shakti’s triumph over evil after a battle of 9 days. They venerate an avatar of the Goddess each day before the dance begins whether it is Garba, Dandiya or a little of both.
You will find locals in Gujarat getting ready for Navratri days in advance, whether it is clothes, accessorizing the ensemble, or exercising to become fit. Be ready to enjoy the festival to the fullest, try dancing, take part in competitions, browse the flea markets and exhibitions. Don’t forget to taste delicious food and snacks.
One of the best places to enjoy Navratri in Gujarat is Vadodara. Other cities like Surat, Rajkot, Bhavnagar are worth a visit too. They celebrate Navratri on a large scale in this city and you can often find the venues on newspapers the next day.
Shyamlaji Fair (Melo)
Held on Kartik Poornima based on the Hindu Calendar, devoted to both Lord Shiva and Vishnu often falls in November. Gujarati’s call it the Shymalaji Melo -celebrated on the banks of the River Meshwo near the well-known Shyamlaji temple.
This three-week-long fair attracts thousands from around the world. Many arrive on foot or riding camel-led carts while singing praises of the Gods. Devotees bathe in the holy waters of the river, seek blessing and then move on to enjoy the fair, buy silver ornaments, metal-ware and clothes.
To book flight tickets and hotels
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