Most of the festivals of Gujarat involve bright colours, groovy dance moves, and a cheerful ambience. These festivals pan out throughout the year with at least one festival every two months. Each of these Gujarat festivals is a demonstration of its heritage and rich culture.
People here are more than enthusiastic about the conservation of these festivals and all the necessary rituals associated with them. Most of the temples scattered around the state have a significant festival connected to them. This is why Gujarat is an ideal destination for cultural tourism.
If you are interested in cultural tourism, here are some famous festivals celebrated in Gujarat that you must attend.
Famous Gujarati festivals
Every state in India has its set of festivals but Gujarat festivals seem to be special. While there are several cultural and traditional Gujarati festivals, these are the most popular festivals that you are most likely to love to attend.
Uttarayan is the Makar Sankranti during January. It is the commencement of the harvest season. People welcome it with tasty foods and colourful kites flying high up in the sky. It is also the occasion of the International Kite Festival. Though it is a pan India celebration, the main centre for the Kite Festival in Ahmedabad. The sky comes alive with numerous kites flown by the locals and visitors. The festival usually happens to be on January 14th.
- Modhera Dance festival
Happening close to the Uttarayan is the next famous Gujarati festival- the Modhera Dance Festival. It is a three-day event dedicated to the classical dance forms of India. It got its name because of the venue- the Modhera Sun temple. The festival is also known as Uttararth Mahostavis. The Tourism Corporation of Gujarat is the organiser of this event. The grandeur temple with its unique architecture and colourful lighting enhances the overall ambience of this festival.
- Rath Yatra
The Rath Yatra is associated with the famous festival related to Lord Jagannath. One of the four temples of Lord Jagannath is in Ahmedabad. This much-awaited festival of the state happens in June or July. The festivities start with the cleansing of the chariot ritual done by the Chief Minister of Gujarat. The decorated chariot will be taken to the streets of Ahmedabad before it reaches the temple. This is a cultural extravaganza in multitudes with some divinity added.
- Madhavrai Fair
A small village near Porbandar in Gujarat, Madhavpur is the location of this festival. Madhavrai Fair or festival is related to the divine wedding of Lord Krishna and Devi Rukmini. The Gujarat festival is conducted during March-April or the Chaitra month of the Hindu calendar. To celebrate their union locals put up a grand fair with cultural activities and other events in the village.
Krishna Janmashtami is celebrated on massive scales in Dwaraka, Gujarat. It is the most famous Gujarat traditional festival. Celebrations start early in the day but the culmination reaches midnight, the time of the birth. Celebrating the birth of the lord, people make cradles for the infant and celebrate at midnight. Dahi Handi is the highlight of this festival where people make a pyramid and others climb over them to reach the hung pot filled with curd. Breaking this pot is an exciting event. The entire state will be decked to welcome the birth of the lord. Janmashtami is usually in the months of August-September.
- Bhadra Purnima
One of the popular Gujarat festivals Bhadra Purnima is a 3-day festival for Goddess Ambaji. The small temple dedicated to this goddess in Banaskantha is the location of this festival. The temple does not have an idol of the goddess, instead, it has a Vishwa Yantra that is considered as the deity. The worship during this festival is in the form of chanting Saptashati or the seven hundred verses of the deity. It happens on the Purnima or Full Moon day, usually in September, with dance forms such as Garba and the folk dance form bhavai.
Gujarat Navratri Garba is one of the most colourful Gujarat festivals and celebration in India. The 10-day celebrations are dedicated to Goddess Durga during the Durga Ashtami festival. Navratri means nine nights and is celebrated with the special dance form called Garba and dandiya – which is played using two sticks. You can find one centre for this festival in every street in Gujarat during this time. Women wear the traditional ghagra choli to dance. The festival falls from September-October of every year.
- Rann Utsav
Rann Utsav or the Kutch festival is a cultural event conducted in the Rann of Kutch. People from all parts of the state come here with their traditional artistry and set up a grandeur fair. Men with long moustaches and headgear named pagdi is a common site of this festival. The white grounds of the location makes it a perfect backdrop for this colourful event. Local sightseeing and safari at the Kutch wildlife sanctuary are the popular activities during this festival. This festival is celebrated annually from November-February.
- Shamlaji Melo
This festival is conducted on the grounds of the famous Shamlaji temple during Kartik Purnima, every year. The celebrations last for 3 weeks. A fair set-up here will be an opportunity for people to sell ornaments, clothes, silverware, etc. It happens on the full moon day of November.
- Vautha Mela
This is nothing but a local trade fair for animals, including camels and donkeys. It is more of a funfair for the visitors. The location of the event is the convergence of holy rivers so it is more revered than the most popular festival Diwali. This 5-day festival is also celebrated on the full moon day of November.
Visitors can arrive at any of these Gujarat festivals venue using public transportation. The GSRTC bus services are widely available in the state so you can comfortably reach any of these locations. Tickets for the buses are conveniently available online. Since most of these Gujarati festivals are cultural events, a bus trip allows you to understand the local culture far better than arriving on private vehicles.
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