If there is one Indian state teeming with heritage and culture in every corner, it must be Rajasthan. And all of that is best expressed through the festivals of Rajasthan. The fairs and festivals of Rajasthan have often made it one of the biggest tourist attractions worldwide.
The folk music, dance, attire and everything else witnessed in these famous cultural festivals of Rajasthan are something a traveller can cherish for a lifetime. After all, these are the best expressions of the colourful cultural heritage passed on through this state’s generations.
Describing Jodhpur as the land of festivities won’t be an overstatement. Jodhpur’s rich culture and royal legacy have endowed India with several vibrant festivals celebrated with much pomp and gaiety.
Every celebration is observed here with the utmost dignity since the people of Jodhpur are incredibly proud of their heritage and are always eager to preserve that atmosphere.
During these fairs, people dress in vibrant clothing and jewellery, gather together, sing songs, and consume delectable food. The peculiarity is that a festival in Jodhpur exhibits splendid architecture and rich culture. During the fairs and festivals of Jodhpur, its ethnicity becomes even more magnetic.
Famous Festivals of Jodhpur
Let’s explore the vibrant festivals of Jodhpur in detail here.
1. Marwar Festival
So let’s begin with the most renowned festival celebrated in Jodhpur- The Marwar Festival.
Initially called Maand Festival, it is held in the Hindu month of Aswhin during the Sharad Poornima full moon, which occurs in late September or early October. The festival lasts for two days.
Music and dance are the highlights of the Marwar festival. People sing folk music centred around the romantic past of Rajasthan rulers. These songs and dance performances take us to the days of Rajasthan’s glorious past. Historical monuments like the Mehrangarh Fort, Mandore, and the Umaid Bhawan Palace are the venues of the Marwar festival. You can also see a camel tattoo and polo competition are the unique features of the fair.
2. International Kite Festival
A whole festival dedicated to kites, isn’t that cool? The International Kite Festival in Jodhpur attracts many kite flyers from around India. It starts on January 14, Makar Sankranti day, and lasts three days. Polo ground of Jodhpur is the venue of the fair.
It is lovely to see the sky filled with lots of colourful kites. Contestants have to work hard to keep their kites aloft in the sky. They also try to disable their opponents while soaring higher into the atmosphere. School children release hordes of colourful balloons in the sky, and the Air Force helicopters spring out even more kites until the sky resembles a vast sea of multi-coloured splendour. A sight to behold for sure!
Women mainly celebrate the Gangaur festival, dedicated to the goddess Parvati. The word gangaur is an amalgamation of the words Gana means Shiva, and Gaur means Gauri, Shiva’s consort. While married, women pray for the achievement of material happiness to the goddess; the unmarried girls make offerings with the hope of getting the best possible husbands during this festival.
Gangaur festival is generally held following Holi and lasts for 15 days. Procession through the streets of Jodhpur carrying a wooden image of the goddess is the central ritual of the Gangaur festival. As an indication of happy married life, the women adorn their hands and soles of their feet with henna or mehendi in the evening, known as sohaag.
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4. Nagaur Fair
The second-biggest fair in India, the Nagaur Festival, takes place in Jodhpur. It is popularly known as the Cattle Fair of Nagaur. The festival spans eight days and is organised by the Animal Husbandry Department and the Rajasthan Tourism Department.
Nagaur’s local art of Kuchamani Khyal is the major attraction of cultural evenings. The main activity is trading animals, where animals are decorated lavishly. All the animals participating in the fair are well-bred; the nagauri breed of cattle is famous. Other interests include the Mirchi bazaar, storytellers, jugglers, puppeteers, camel races, etc.
5. The Jodhpur RIFF
The Rajasthan International Folk Festival (RIFF), established in 2007, is a musical pageant. UNESCO supports it as a Rajasthani cultural celebration. Famous musicians from all over India and other countries participate in captivating the audience with their musical heritage. Even artists from the state’s remote interior travel to display exquisite ethnic dances and songs.
Jazz night and some intriguing Indo-Western Jugalbandis are a treat for the ears and the soul. Unlike the Marwar Festival, the RIFF is held on the grounds of the Mehrangarh Fort and is timed to coincide with the significant full moon of the season Sharad Poornima.
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The festivals and fairs of Jodhpur add life to the barren land of the desert. The traditional folk dance, music, and attire are best witnessed through these fairs and festivals. So, from the above-listed festivals, it’s true to say that blessed with unity in diversity, one must best places in Jodhpur to enjoy the beauty and festivals of Rajasthan.
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