Festivals in North and South India - India

Festivals in North and South India

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There are contrasting schools of thought about trying to plan a trip around a particular festival or celebration.

On the one hand, being in a city for a major event like Diwali (the festival of lights, observed in late October or November) or Holi (the famous welcoming of spring festival usually held in March ) can be a spell-binding experience and the exuberance and joie de vivre on display during events like these is life-affirming.

The other point of view is that India is a riot of colour, celebration and non-stop action on any day of the year, and that in the company of a driver with his ear to the ground, you’ll very likely stumble across something exciting like a wedding, a village fair or a special market day. In fact, it would be hard to imagine being in India for more than a few days without something very special happening.

The downside of big festivals is that crowds can get somewhat out of control, and while the level things rarely get out of hand it can be rather disconcerting if you find yourself in the middle of a large crowd where no-one seems to be maintaining even a semblence of order. Additionally, hotel rooms can be hard to find, and in some cases hotels will charge exorbitant rates over festival periods to cash in on demand.

There are some festivals which are absolutely recommendable, particularly Pongal, the harvest festival held in Tamil Nadu in mid-January, and Diwali, observed right across north India. Holi is not to be taken lightly as this seems to be the festival which inspires the most bad, even dangerous behaviour with excess alcohol consumption often resulting in less-than-pleasant outcomes.

But, as noted above, India loves festivals and celebrations of any kind, and the sheer passion and lust for life here is such that even a ‘dull’ day in India will be full of excitement and action.

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