India is a land of diversity, where different cultures meet and live peacefully. With diverse culture comes diverse festivals, that are celebrated throughout multiple states in a big manner. While there are many festivals celebrated throughout India, some festivals stand out more than the others simply due to the sheer magnitude in which they are celebrated, and their power to bring a large population together. So here is a deep dive in 3 amazing festivals that shows the beauty of India in a different corners of the country.
Onam is the biggest festival that is celebrated in Kerela. Onam signifies the homecoming of the demon king Mahabali. The story goes, Mahabali was a very generous demon king, and famous among the people which the god didn't like. So the gods had requested Vishnu to help them. Mahabali used to worship Vishnu, so while Vishnu did help the gods, Vhe didn't fight Mahabali.
The Onam festival has 10 days of celebration namely, Atham, Chithira, Chodi, Vishakam, Anizham, Thriketa, Moolam, Pooradam, Uthradom and Thiruvonam. The whole of Kerela is filled with colours during the celebration. Some of the events that occur during Onam are
Pookkalam- Several designs are made in front of home using flowers
Onasadya- A nice 9-course meal of Thiruonam Onasadya is prepared
Onakalikal- Different kinds of games are played like Talappanthukali, Archery.
Vallamkali Boat Race- The famous boat race in Kerela where 100 boatmen compete with each other
Elephant Procession- Elephants are decorated with ornament, flowers, and jewellery and elephants take a round of Thrissur.
Folk Dances- Folk dance like Kaikottikali is performed by women whilst hailing King Mahabali.
Onam truly showcases the beauty of the people, and how even a demon can be celebrated because of his generosity and good deeds. If you're planning to visit Kerela during Onam you can opt for a day use hotel in Kerela or hotels on hourly basis, so you only pay for the time you stay for.
2. Durga Puja
The biggest festival that takes place in East side of India, specifically Kolkata, Durga Puja is as big a festival can be. Bengalis are known for their extravagant food culture, love for tradition, and big social gatherings, Durga Puja is an amalgamation of everything Bengali. The festivals celebrate the victory of Ma Durga over the demon Mahisasur.
The festival consists of 10 days namely, Mahalaya, Ekadoshi, Ditia, Tritia, Choturthe, Ponchomi, Sosthi, Saptomi, Ashtomi, Nabomi, Doshomi. On the day of Mahalaya in the early morning, the city is met with the auspicious tune of Mahalaya on the radio, and it has become somewhat of a tradition for the locals to wake up early to hear the tunes of nostalgia. Ekadoshi, Ditia, Tritia, and Courthe normally serve as the day of preparations, somewhat calm before the storm some might say until Panchomi comes. From Panchomi to Soshti slowly people start hoarding the streets on the quest of pandal hopping the different ideals of Durga created by the different clubs and committees throughout the city. By Soptomi the festival is in full throttle, and the streets become more crowded as the day passes. The city is alive in any way, there are long queues before every eatery, and everywhere you look, there are people. From colourful street lights to exquisite Pandals that cost millions to make, the experience Durga puja serves is different. Ashtami serves as the day of Anjali, where through different pandals the locals pray to Durga ma, Nabomi serves for many as the day of a grand meal with family or friends, as the festival is over. Dashami, the day Durga ma Slew Mahishasur, is the final day of the festival when the city at last rests. If you intend to visit the city of joy during Durga puja, don't forget to book your hotel in Kolkata prior, and always go for 24-hour check-in hotels, as day and night time become a social construct during the Durga Puja.
Diwali, also known as the festival of lights is perhaps one of the widely celebrated festivals in India. The story of the festival goes, Rama, the avatar of Vishnu on the day of Diwali returned to the kingdom of Ayodha. In the common people's life, mainly of the northern or western states, Diwali is considered to be a huge occasion. It signifies somewhat of a new start. People try to pay off their debts, buy new things, buy new clothes, clean their houses, decorate their home and buildings, and try to spread the same happiness. Everyone receives some kind of bonus from someone working incorporate, to housemaid, because that is the spirit of the festival. Before and during Diwali sweets and chocolates are distributed by people to their loved ones.
On the day of Diwali itself, most of India lights up with firecrackers. diyas and fairy lights. The view is truly spectacular to watch, as the country lights the most on this one single day. Diwali also serves as the homecoming many students who are studying outside or people working away from their home for a livelihood, in a way reminiscent to the way Rama came back to his home, everyone comes to meet their friends and family on the occasion of Diwali. In cities like Jaipur, Amritsar, Mysore and Delhi, Diwali is massive way, and many tourists with their family travel to such cities to witness the massive celebrations. If you are planning to do the same, it is suggested to do your prior bookings in hotels in Delhi or hotels in Jaipur, as the hotels are normally packed closed to Diwali.
These were only 3 of many beautiful festivals celebrated every year in India. There many more amazing festivals in India like Holi, Ramdan, Ganesh Chautharti which are celebrated in large scale and are equally beautiful, but were not covered in the list. The writing was less about the festivals covered, and more about how in different ways large festivals bring people together with their belief, and how the festivals serve as a vantage to celebrate the true beauty of humankind moreover than anything.