Being a land of colours and contrasts, Rajasthan offers its visitors, throughout, astonishing festivals and pilgrimages of Hindus and Jains are crowded. On this occasion women wear their most beautiful saris and adorn themselves with jewels, men wear brightly colored turbans; an innumerable crowd comes from all corner of state. A Unique spectacle where religious fervor and jubilation become the symbol.
Since independence, for civil uses, India has adopted Gregorian Solar calendar. But the Hindu lunar calendar always marks the religious life. Its complexity makes unpredictable, for non-religious, the calculation of exact dates. Fortunately, the tourist offices publish the dates of the main holidays three years in advance. The ceremonies last several days. The night of the full moon often marks the highlight of the festival.
Winter offers the best travelling conditions, here are the festivals that you can attend:
- January – February: Nagaur (on the Jodhpur – Bikaner route). Large annual faire for cattle, camels and horses. Numerous races.
- March – Holi: The festival of colours. Celebrated throughout Rajasthan. Popular festival, linked to harvest season and associated with Vishnu. Everyone spray colour and improves the friendship. Wear old clothes which are later thrown away.
- October – November: Pushkar, 11 km from Ajmer. Rajasthan’s most famous festival attracts many tourists. It lasts 12 days, culminating in the full moon by the ritual bath (Kartik Purnima). Camel races and competitions of decorating animal are the highlight of the show.
- November : Diwali, festival of lights, dedicated to goddess Lakshmi. All Hindus celebrate this festival. It is a popular family festival, such as Christmas for Christians. On the night of the full moon, all the houses light up and the mistresses of the house, dressed in their finest attire, go from temple to temple to lay flowers and small oil lamps. Most accepted legends of Diwali tells of the return of Rama and Sita to the kingdom of Rama, after fourteen years of exile
In addition, there are cultural festivals organized by the Department of Tourism:
- January-February: Bikaner and Jaisalmer – desert festival. Traditional songs and dances of Rajasthan. Friendly matches.
- March-April: Jaipur and Udaipur – festival of Gangaur and Mewar. Themes identical to Bikaner.