India is a land of diverse cultures, traditions, and festivals that are celebrated with great fervor throughout the year. Summer is no exception, with numerous festivals that offer a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of the country. From colorful and joyous celebrations to solemn religious rituals, these summer festivals showcase the best of India’s art, music, dance, and cuisine. In this blog, we bring you 10 such summer festivals in India that you must plan to attend. Whether you are a traveler seeking new experiences or a culture enthusiast looking to immerse yourself in the local customs, these festivals are sure to leave you with unforgettable memories. So, get ready to explore the vibrant and colorful world of summer festivals in India!
Date: 5th April to 19th April 2023
Key Attraction: grand procession that takes place on the last day.
Chithirai is a vibrant and colorful festival of the summer season in India. It is a time when the streets come alive with music, dance, and festivities as people come together to celebrate. The festival is celebrated in honor of Lord Vishnu and Goddess Meenakshi, and it is held in the city of Madurai in Tamil Nadu. The celebrations last for several days, and the highlight of the festival is the grand procession that takes place on the last day.
During the procession, an elaborately decorated chariot carrying the idols of Lord Vishnu and Goddess Meenakshi is pulled through the streets by devotees. The atmosphere is electric, with the sound of drums and music filling the air as people dance and sing in celebration.
Date: 24th March 2023
Key Attraction: Stunningly beautiful clay idols of Gauri
Gangaur is a summer festival in India that is celebrated in Rajasthan during March and April. The festival is dedicated to Goddess Gauri, who represents purity, marital love, and fertility. The festival is celebrated by women who fast and pray for the long life and prosperity of their husbands.
During Gangaur, the streets of Rajasthan come alive with colorful processions, where women dressed in traditional attire carry idols of Gauri through the streets. The festival is also marked by elaborate rituals such as the painting of henna on the hands and feet of women, the singing of folk songs, and the exchange of sweets and gifts.
One of the most fascinating aspects of Gangaur is the stunningly beautiful clay idols of Gauri that are made by local artisans. These idols are adorned with intricate jewelry and clothing and are carried in grand processions across the city.
Date: 22nd March 2023
Key Attraction: The hoisting of the Gudi or the victory flag which symbolizes the victory of good over evil.
Gudi Padwa is a popular festival in India celebrated in the summer, usually in March or April, marking the beginning of the Hindu New Year. It is also known as “Marathi New Year” and is celebrated with great enthusiasm and traditional fervor. On this day, people clean and decorate their homes, make rangolis (colorful patterns on the floor) and prepare special dishes such as shrikhand and puran poli. The festival gets its name from the ‘Gudi’, a decorated pole made of bamboo, cloth, and neem leaves, with a copper or silver pot placed on top, symbolizing victory, good luck, and prosperity. The Gudi is erected in front of the house, and people offer prayers and seek blessings from the deities.
Date: 14th April 2023
Key attraction: Men and Women performing bhangra and Gidda form of dance.
Baisakhi, also known as Vaisakhi, is a summer festival of India celebrated in the northern states especially Punjab, with great enthusiasm and joy. It marks the beginning of the harvest season and the New Year in the traditional solar calendar. Baisakhi falls on the 13th or 14th of April every year and is a major cultural event for the Sikh community, who commemorates the founding of the Khalsa Panth by Guru Gobind Singh in 1699 on this day. The festival is celebrated with a lot of pomp and show, with people donning colorful traditional attire, dancing to the beat of the dhol, and indulging in delicious food and sweets like paranthas, chhole bhature, and lassi. Processions called nagar kirtans are held in many cities and towns, with devotees singing devotional songs and carrying the Sikh holy book, the Guru Granth Sahib, on a decorated float. Attending Baisakhi is a great way to experience the rich culture and hospitality of Punjab and learn more about the Sikh faith and history. The festival offers a unique opportunity to witness colorful celebrations and taste the authentic flavors of Punjabi cuisine.
Date: 10th to 11th May 2023
Key Attraction: Traditional instruments including the kombu, edakka, chenda, and maddalam are used in the musical ensemble.
Thrissur Pooram is one of the most famous and vibrant temple festivals in South India, held annually in the city of Thrissur, Kerala. Celebrated in April or May, the festival is a grand spectacle of lights, fireworks, and music, and attracts thousands of visitors from all over the world. The highlight of the festival is the procession of decorated elephants, each carrying an ornate parasol, and traditional percussion music played on chenda and ilathalam. The competition between two rival temple teams, Paramekkavu and Thiruvambady, to showcase the most impressive fireworks display adds to the excitement of the event.
Besides the procession, the festival also includes cultural programs, traditional games, and a grand finale display of colorful fireworks that light up the night sky. Thrissur Pooram is a true celebration of the rich cultural heritage of Kerala and offers a unique opportunity to witness and experience this festival of India in summer.
Date: 30th May 2023
Key Attraction: Arati at the bank of the river Ganga
Ganga Dussehra is a significant summer festival in India celebrated usually in May or June. It marks the descent of the river Ganges from heaven to earth, and people across the country gather to take a dip in the holy river to purify their souls and seek blessings. The festival is celebrated for ten days, and on the tenth day, also known as Ganga Dussehra, devotees take a dip in the river to commemorate the event.
The festival holds great religious significance for Hindus, and various rituals and ceremonies are performed during this time. The riverbanks are decorated with colorful lights, and people offer prayers, light diyas, and perform aarti to honor the river goddess.
Ganga Dussehra is not only a religious festival but also a cultural extravaganza, with various fairs and cultural events organized during this time. The festival provides a unique opportunity to witness the rich cultural heritage of India and experience the spiritual fervor of the people. It is undoubtedly a summer festival in India that one must plan to attend to soak in the festivities and revel in the aura of divinity and spirituality.
Date: 20th June 2023
Key Attraction: The procession of Lord Jagannath from his palace to the Gundicha Temple.
Rath Yatra, also known as the Chariot Festival, is one of the most popular summer festivals in India, celebrated in the coastal city of Puri in the state of Odisha. The festival is dedicated to Lord Jagannath, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, and his siblings Balabhadra and Subhadra. The highlight of the festival is the procession of the deities on elaborately decorated chariots through the streets of Puri, pulled by thousands of devotees.
The festival attracts millions of pilgrims and tourists from all over the world who come to witness the spectacle of the colorful procession, which is accompanied by music, dance, and chanting. The festival is also an occasion for devotees to express their devotion and seek the blessings of the Lord. The Rath Yatra is not just a religious event but also a celebration of community and togetherness, as people from all walks of life come together to participate in the festivities.
Date: 22nd April 2023
Key Attraction: Marks the end of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting.
Eid-Al-Fitr is a joyous occasion that marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan for Muslims all over the world. While typically celebrated in the spring, the festival takes on a special meaning when celebrated as a summer festival in India. Picture a warm, sunny day with the smell of spices and sweets wafting through the air. Colorful decorations adorn the streets, and the sounds of music and laughter fill the air. Families and friends gather, dressed in their finest clothes, to exchange gifts and share a meal.
One of the best places to experience Eid-Al-Fitr as a summer festival in India is in the city of Hyderabad. Here, you’ll find a vibrant mix of culture and tradition, with markets selling everything from delicious biryani to intricate henna designs. The city’s historic Charminar monument is lit up with colorful lights, creating a truly magical atmosphere.
Date: 28th – 29th June 2023
Key Attraction: The displays of Cham Dancing and the unfolding of enormous thangkas.
The Hemis festival is a vibrant and colorful celebration that takes place in the scenic region of Ladakh during the summer months. As the snow melts away, the local people prepare for this grand event, which showcases their unique culture and traditions.
This festival of the summer season in India is celebrated in honor of Guru Padmasambhava, who is revered as the founder of Tibetan Buddhism. During the festival, the locals dress in their traditional attire and perform mesmerizing dances and music. The highlight of the festival is the masked dance, where the performers wear elaborate costumes and masks representing different deities and demons.
The Hemis festival is also an opportunity to taste the delicious local cuisine, including momos, thukpa, and butter tea. Visitors can also indulge in shopping for traditional handicrafts and souvenirs and witness the stunning landscape of the region.
Date: 14th– 20th April 2023
Key Attraction: There were many delicious foods prepared for the occasion, with Pithas being the most iconic.
Bihu is a vibrant and energetic festival celebrated in Assam during the summer season. It is a celebration of the harvest, marked by dancing, singing, and feasting. The three main types of Bihu – Rongali Bihu, Kongali Bihu, and Bhogali Bihu – are celebrated with great enthusiasm and joy.
During Rongali Bihu, people wear new clothes, perform traditional dance forms like Bihu and Jhumur, and enjoy delicious food like pitha and laru. Kongali Bihu, on the other hand, is a more subdued celebration, marked by lighting lamps and offering prayers for a good harvest. Bhogali Bihu, also known as Magh Bihu, is a time for feasting and merrymaking, with people gathering around bonfires and enjoying delicacies like rice cakes and meat dishes.
Bihu is a summer festival in India that celebrates the spirit of Assam and its rich cultural heritage. It is a time for communities to come together, dance, sing, and create memories that will last a lifetime.
So, there you have it – 10 festivals of the summer season in India that you simply can’t afford to miss. From the colorful and lively Gangaur to the harvest celebrations of Baisakhi, there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re looking to dance the night away, feast on delicious food, or simply soak up the cultural atmosphere, these festivals will leave you with unforgettable memories.
So why not take a break from the usual summer vacation routine and experience the vibrancy and diversity of India’s festival scene? Trust me, you won’t regret it – just be prepared to come back with some crazy stories, a full belly, and a whole lot of colorful memories!