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Delhi Festival

There is perhaps not a single day in the Indian calendar when in some part of the vast country a festival is not celebrated or a fair held - replete with rituals, colour, music, feasting, pageantry, fun and frolic. Many of the festivals are subject to the lunar calendar. The Islamic festivals are celebrated according to the Muslim or the Hijri calendar. Therefore the times the festivals are held can change from one year to the next. Delhi , being a metropolitan city, is a melting pot of cultures, traditions and festivals of the country. A whirling dervish of people, culture and religion, Delhi offers a feast of festivals for every imaginable taste. This city celebrates harvests, seasons and celestial mangos, worships holy books and sacred stories, burns the devil and pays homage to light, and throws birthday parties for the founders of Islam, Hinduism, Jainism, Hare Krishna, Sikhism - and India. In fact , all major Indian festivals are celebrated here by different communities. The seat of empire for centuries, royal patronage ensured that Delhi remained the cultural epicentre of the country, attracting the best of painters, musicians and dancers. Delhi Tourism puts on display this rich and diverse cultural heritage by holding a series of festivals during the year. The scattered citadels of erstwhile


dynasties which co-exist with high rise residential localities and crowded commercial complexes, form the picturesque backdrop for the haunting melodies and graceful dances rendered by leading artists during the festivals organised by Delhi Tourism, amongst which some of the popular ones are the Roshanara and Shalimar Bagh Festivals. These festivals mirror the multiplicity of cultures and reflect the fusion of regional diversities which constitutes modern blend most harmoniously into a whole.

Religious celebrations are a large part of Delhi's multicultural social life, and it's worth trying to take time out to enjoy the city's fanfare traditional dances and vibrant costumes. The city is a host to several secular festivals, when performers gather for music, dance and drama events.

Festivals in Delhi

Lohri (January)

The climax of winter is celebrated with bonfires and singing in this Lohri festivities. Traditionally, Lohri marks the end of winter.


Republic Day(January)

Republic Day falls on 26th January. It is the most colorful of the city's festivals events and also the biggest crowd-puller. Hundreds of thousands people line the route from Rajpath to the Red Fort to watch the pageant of soldiers, camel crops, armored regiments, brass bands, folk dancers, school children, war veterans and elaborate floats representing the cultural diversity of India. The two hour long parade is usually rounded off with a much-awaited spectacular fly - passed presented by Air Force squadrons. A special display of folk dances also takes place at the Talkatora Stadium.


Beating the Retreat (January)

On 29th January, the departure of the British is marked by a colourful ceremony with marching bands from the armed forces, set against the imposing backdrop of the Rashtrapti Bhawan, the secretariats and the setting sun. A rehearsal is generally held on 28 Jan, for which tickets are also available.


Id-Ul-Fitar(January)

Id-Ul-Fitar is celebrated to mark the end of Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting. It is an occasion for feasting and rejoicing.


Martyrs' Day (January)

Martyrs' Day on 30 Jan. commemorates Mahatma Gandhi's and others' efforts for India's independence. Participants gather at Raj Ghat for prayers and music.


Sikh Festival (January)

Sikh Festival is the birthday of Guru Gobind Singh Ji and is celebrated throughout the city.


Kite-Flying Festival (January)

The colourful kites cascade the horizons of Delhi on Makar Sankranti ,from the green lawns of Palika Bazaar, Connaught Place, this extravaganza attracts national as well as international participants.


Basant Panchami (January- February)

The biting winter winds during the end of January-early February, brings along the Hindu festival of Basant Panchami as welcome to the spring. This is the season when the prestigious Mughal gardens behind Rashtrapati Bhavan are opened to public for a month.


Thyagaraja Festival (February)

An enthusiastic display of south Indian music and dance,is held opposite Jawaharlal Nehru University in Vaikunthnath temple.


Garden Tourism Festival (February)

Delhi is one of the greenest capitals in the world, with a long tradition of laying out of gardens, which dot the city. It is this tradition that Delhi Tourism keeps alive by holding the Garden Tourism Festival at the Talkatora Garden in February which is generally spread over three days and generates much enthusiasm amongst the gardening fraternity. This is not only a visual feast since Delhi is ablaze with flowers at this, but also a useful meeting ground for gardening enthusiasts, as well as fun and frolic for children of all ages because it is based on particular themes.Highlights include an on- the- spot painting competition for children , varieties of flower arrangements, cultural programmes , stalls of rare plants , amusement park, puppet / magic shows , tourism pavilions of different states of India and martialarts display. In addition , craftsmen from various parts of the country display and sell their products here.


Thyagaraja Festival(February)

This festival of southern Indian music and dance is held in Vaikunthnath Temple across from Nehru University.


Suraj Kund Mela(February)

Suraj Kund Mela is the popular Crafts Fair held at Suraj Kund that is set in a rural ambience, with folk dancing, music and food from the different states.


Delhi Flower Show(February)

Delhi Flower Show An international horticultural exhibition of flowers, including hybrids is held on the grounds of the Purana Qila.


Holi (March)

Holi, the festivals of colors, marks the onset of spring. On the eve of this exuberant Hindu spring festival, bonfires burn all over the city, symbolizing the destruction of the devil Holika. The next day, in celebration of the arrival of spring, people pelt one another with coloured paint.


Maha Shivratri (March)

Maha Shivratri is celebrated on the 'Amavasya' night of 'Phalguna'. It is said , that on this dark night Lord Shiva danced the 'Tandava Nritya',( cosmic dance). He is worshipped at temples with all night vigils and prayers and unmarried women keep day-long fasts so that Shiva may grant them good husbands.


Shankarlal Sangeet Sammelan (March)

Shankarlal Sangeet Sammelan, a festival of Indian music. Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra, 1 Copernicus Marg.


Muharram (March)

Muharram is an Islamic New Year festival that commemorates the martyrdom of Muhammad's grandson, Iman Husain.


Amir Khusrau's Anniversary (April)

Amir Khusrau's anniversary is celebrated in April, with a fair in Nizamuddin , prayers and 'qawwali' singing. The event also observed as the National Drama Festival, staged mostly at the Rabindra Bhawan.


Baisakhi (April)

At the onset of summer, when the sun gets fierce in the mid of April, north India, celebrates the Hindu New Year as Baisakhi... This is also the beginning of the harvesting season.


Buddha Jayanti (May)

The first full moon night in May i.e the month of Vaisakha is celebrated as Buddha Purnima, not just to commemorates Lord Buddha's birth, but also his 'Enlightenment' and gaining 'Nirvana'. . Prayer meetings are held at Buddha Vihar, Ring Road and Buddha Vihar, Mandir Marg.


Mahavir Jayanti (May)

The birth of Lord Mahavira, who founded Jainism, is celebrated around this time of the year with prayers and processions.


Sikh festival (June)

In June, martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev Ji, Sikh festival, is held throughout the city.


International Mango Festival (July)

To celebrate the advent of the king of fruits, Delhi Tourism holds the Mango Festival in the month of July. Mentioned in the Vedas and Upanishads, the mango is considered auspicious and a symbol of life and joy forever. The largest producer of mangoes, India grows more than eleven hundred varieties of mangoes in different parts of the country. The Mango Festival is the place to discover the magic of mangoes in all their immense variety. Often the Talkatora stadium is a host to this peculiar event, where over five hundred different types of mango are on show, Tourists can enjoy the taste for free and view a cultural programmes . It draws people from the country as well as businessmen, both from home and abroad.


Independence Day (August)

15th August is celebrated in the city as Independence Day to mark the Indian independence from the British rule in the year 1947. The Prime minister of the nation addresses the nation from the Red Fort and many people gather to hear the Prime Minister's address.


Janamashtami (August)

In August, the festival Janamashtami, celebrates the birth of Lord Krishna.


Gandhi Jayanti (October)

On 2nd October, this solemn celebration honours of the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi at Raj Ghat, the site of his cremation.


Phoolkwalon-ki-Sair (October)

In early October, a festival specific to Mehrauli, in Delhi, takes place. This is the Phulwalon-ki-Sair or the Flower Sellers Procession, which originated in the 16th century.

The highlight is a procession of people carrying decorated floral fans, which are blessed at the shrine of the 13th century Sufi saint, Khwaja Utb-ud-din Bakhtyar Kaki and at the Hindu temple of Jogmaya, both in Mehrauli. The procession ends with a formal ceremony at the Jahaz Mahal, a 16th century pleasure resort by the side of a lake.


Qutub Festival (October)

Musicians and dancers perform at night by the city's 12th century landmark, the Qutub Minar which is the venue for the Qutub Festival held in October . This festival organize by the Delhi Tourism provides tourists a glimpse of the cultural grandeur of India. Here cultural events are held where veterans of Indian classical music and dance and folk musicians give spectacular performances.


Dussehra (October- November)

Also in October is Dussehra, commemorating the victory of Lord Rama over the demon king, Ravana. A month - long Ram Lila dance festival is organized by the Bhartiya Kala Kendra, depicting scenes from the epic Ramayana, similar presentations of the Ramayana are organized in different parts of the city. It concludes with the burning of giant effigies of Ravana, his brother Kumbhkaran & his son Meghnad.


Navratri (October- November)

Navratri is a Hindu festival, that is celebrated throughout the city.


Guru Nanak Jayanti (November)

The birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, is celebrated with great devotion.


Martyrdom of Guru (November)

Martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji celebrated in November throughout the city


The International Trade Fair(November)

The International Trade Fair starts on the 14th of November every year. Held at the Pragati Maidan it is a major event for the business community. Corporate houses from all over the world show their wares and business deals are finalised in a big way. The fair is also a major tourist attraction and is popular with many.


Pragati Maidan

Pragati Maidan is also host to many other fairs that include the Auto Expo and the Leather Fair. Throughout the year Pragati Maidan is the venue for fairs and exhibitions. The Shakuntalam theatre is located in Pragati Maidan and regular film shows are held here.


Diwali(October- November)

This important Hindu festival celebrates the victory of good over evil as depicted in the epic Ramayana in the homecoming of Lord Rama after defeating Ravana. In the evening, public buildings and homes are lit up with candles or oil lamps. Fireworks add noise and colour to this festival of lights. The festival of lights is preceded by several Diwali Melas, where food, handicrafts and a variety of earthern lamps and candles are sold.


Guru Purab (November - December)

Guru Purab is the celebration of the birth of first of the ten Sikh gurus, Guru Nanak. 'Nagar Kirtans' are taken out through the streets and in the Gurdwaras, 'Granthees' recite verses from the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of Sikhs.


Indian Dance Festivals(December)

In December, the India International Centre hosts frequent performances of classical Indian dance and music. 40 Max Mueller Marg, Lodi Estate. Another dance venue is at the Hauz Khas Village, 10km south of Connaught Place. The Trevani Theatre Complex is a popular venue for year-round student and professional dance and theater performances. 205 Tansen Marg, between Bengali Market and India Gate.


Christmas (December)

On 25th of December the birth of Jesus Christ is celebrated in India, with the traditional exchange of greetings and gifts. All major hotels and restaurants in the capital host special Christmas eve entertainments, while the midnight mass and other services are organized by the churches.


New Year's Eve (December)

The culmination of the Indian festive spirit is celebrated on the 31st of December, with most hotels and restaurants offering special food and entertainment packages.


Festivals

In addition, Dilli Haat offers tantalising flimpses of the vast storehouse of Indian culture by holding regional festivals at its open air theatre. These are held from time to time throughout the year. These festivals reflect the immerse diversity, the colour and the vibrancy of this ancient land, ranging as they do from the Pongal and the Onam festivals from South India; Ganesh Chaturthi from Maharashtra; Basant Panchami from North India and Bengal; Teej, the swing festival with which Rajasthani women in particular, welcome the monsoon Baisakhi, celebrated in various forms all over India, including Assam where it is known as Rangoli Bihu; and Diwali, the auspicious festival of lights. Many more regional festivals from all over India are held at the popular Dilli Haat and are advertised periodically.