'Fairing' well on a cultural treat

'Fairing' well on a cultural treat

Kavita Kanan Chandra has got a handy list ready to help you chalk out your travel itinerary while enjoying a cultural feast

Kite fest

As we ring in the new year with much enthusiasm, the cultural events and festivals earmarked for the first two months across India could well guide the itinerary of any traveller. With a wide spectrum of festivals ranging from art and culture, winter sports to literary ones, travellers have a wide gamut of choices. Not to forget the camels of Thar Desert that feature in desert festivals or the bountiful grapes in Nashik region that has prompted wine tourism in India. Sula wines and Sula fest are high on the list of every oenophile. 

Hot air balloon festival, Araku Valley,
Andhra Pradesh (Jan 17-19)

Organised by the AP tourism, this would be the third edition of Araku hot air balloon festival. Araku Valley has forests rich in biodiversity and is surrounded by hills like Galikonda, Raktakonda, Sunkarimetta and Chitamogondi that present a spectacular view from the hot air balloons. 

Venue: Araku Valley, 114 km
from Visakhapatnam

Modhera Dance Festival, Gujarat (Jan 19-21)

After Uttarayan, tourists in Gujarat are attracted to the Sun Temple of Modhera where a classical dance festival takes place. The temple is brightly lit with psychedelic lights that offer a beautiful backdrop for dancers to perform.

Venue: Sun Temple of Modhera near Mehsana, Gujarat

Jaipur Literature Festival Jan 23-27) 

Acclaimed as one of the best literary festivals in the world, it attracts 4 lakh people to the Pink City of Jaipur. The 13th edition of the festival, like previous years, would see Nobel laureates, Pulitzer Prize winners, Booker Prize winners and best-selling writers of fiction. One of the highlights would be Nobel Laureate in Economics Abhijit Banerjee, Pulitzer Awardee Forrest Gander, journalist Christina Lamb, The New Yorker journalist Dexter Filkins, Man Booker Prize winner Howard Jacobson, Elizabeth Gilbert and popular Indian writers like Shashi Tharoor, Javed Akhtar and Ashok Vajpeyi.

Venue: Jaipur’s Diggi Palace Hotel 

Surajkund International Craft Mela, Faridabad
(Feb 1-17)

The 34th Surajkund International Crafts Mela is the biggest cultural fair of India. The venue is near the ancient reservoir of Surajkund that was built by King Suraj Pal of Tomar dynasty in 10th century. It is organised by the Haryana Tourism to promote local artisans.

Venue: Surajkund village, Faridabad

Wine festival, Nashik 
(Feb 1-2)

The 13th edition of the Sula vineyard music festival would see performances by singers Shveta Salve, Salim-Sulaiman and other acclaimed bands. Touted as the wine capital of India, there would be wine appreciation classes by winemakers, grape stomping and games related to wines. It would be a heady experience with gourmet food, sparkling wine and electrifying music.

Venue: Sula vineyards, Govardhan Village, near Nashik

Konark Dance Festival, Odisha (Feb 1-3)

The 34th Konark festival would see performances of Odissi, Kathak, Bharatnatyam, Kuchipudi, Manipuri, Mohiniattam, folk & tribal music and dance from across the country.

Venue: Konark Natya Mandap, Konark

Kala Ghoda Arts
festival, Mumbai (Feb 1-9)

The art festival offers various programmes in theatre, visual arts, music, dance, street plays, literature, heritage walks and various workshops for children and adults. The festival attracts thousands of people from all over the city and world to witness the various events over the course of the festival. Funds raised from the festival are contributed towards the restoration and maintenance of the area. 

Venue: Kala Ghoda precinct of South Mumbai

Desert festival, Jaisalmer (Feb 7-9)

A cultural festival held on the sand dunes with camel races, camel polo matches, folk dances and music is enticing. Attractions are puppeteers, acrobats, folk dancers, folk musicians and fire dancers in their colourful dresses.

Venue: Sand dunes of Sam, 42 km from Jaisalmer

Taj Mahotsav Festival,
Agra (Feb 18-27)

The Uttar Pradesh tourism department organises the Taj Mahotsav to boost tourism in India as Taj Mahal is one of the most visited monuments by foreigners. There are programmes pertaining to art, crafts, music, dance, culture and cuisines of India. Craftsmanship from all over the world gets a platform here.

Venue: Shilpgram, Eastern gate of Taj Mahal, Agra

Natyanjali Dance Festival, Chidambaram (Feb 19-23)

Organised by the Chidambaram Natyanjali Trust, dancers perform to pay tributes to Lord Nataraj. The uniqueness lies in the devotional aspect that lends serenity to the festival. Bharatnatyam, Kuchipudi, Mohiniyattam, Odissi, Gaudiya Nritya and Pung Chola will be performed in its 39th edition.

Venue: Rajah Sir Annamalai Chettiar Trust premises, Chidambaram

Goa Carnival, Goa (Feb 22-25)

Popularly known as ‘Viva Carnival’, it is held in Goa before the month of Lent when the Catholic season of abstinence from meat and fasting begins. The Portuguese brought this tradition in the 18th century and it continues till date. The central street of the city is thronged by onlookers who gather to watch the procession of floats, marching bands, colourful groups of performers, and masked people dressed in crazy costumes accompanied by foot-tapping music that brings a lot of energy and excitement. The highlight is the finale dance of the carnival known as red and black dance where you can dance with your partner. 

Venue: Panaji, Mapusa, Vasco, Margao

Khajuraho Dance Festival, MP (Feb 25-March 3)

The 46th Khajuraho dance festival will see performances by eminent classical dancers and troupes of Odissi, Kathak, Kuchipudi, Bharatnatyam and Chhau (Sraikela). This is a celebration of Indian dance forms that originated in the ancient temples. The event is held in open air auditoriums in the background of beautifully-lit ancient temples of Chitragupta and Vishwanatha temples. 

Venue: Khajuraho Dance Festival, Madhya Pradesh

Hampi Festival, Hampi
(Feb 25-27)

This one cultural extravaganza that is being celebrated since the Vijaynagar kingdom days. There is dance, music, drama, puppet shows, processions and fireworks. It is organised by the Karnataka Government to attract people to this World Heritage Site. One can enjoy the Janavada Kalavahini (concert of folk songs) and jumboo savari.(elephant march) here.  

Venue: Hampi, Karnataka

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