CULTURAL CARNIVAL
Goa Carnival (In Feb. 3 days long)

Come February and Goa is all bustling with activity. A three day Goa carnival is what hooks everyone for this is something Goans await anxiously the entire year. Such celebration is unknown in any other part of the country and with time the Goa carnival has become not just a delight to Goans but a major tourist attraction as well.

Though, essentially a Christian festival, with passing of age all communities have begun to participate in this carnival. Preparations start much in advance for three day non stop fun and excitement. And once it starts, all Goans do and think is music, dance and merrymaking. The fun, the frolic, the soothing climate - few can resist of not being a part of it. Old and young, kids and adults, everyone gets into this party mood.

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Pushkar Fair (November 18 - November 21

Pushkar Fair is the world's largest camel fair held in the holy town of Pushkar in Rajasthan. A spotlight of one's holiday in India, the Camel festival hosts around 50,000 camels in this magnificent event which are sold, decorated, shaved and raced. From a mere 14,000 to a massive 200,000! This is how the population of Pushkar swells during the Pushkar Camel Fair.

Pushkar Camel Fair is an occasion for villagers from far and near to gather together and enjoys a welcome break from their harsh life of the arid desert. The village women dress in their best colorful clothes and finery for this five-day Camel festival. It is an occasion for Hindu pilgrims to converge for a holy dip in the sacred Pushkar Lake to "wash away the sins of a lifetime" and pay obeisance at the only Brahma temple in the world. Read more about Pushkar Camel Fair.

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Kerala Festivals

Onam Festival (August 14 - August 23

Onam is celebrated as a national festival of Kerala. It synchronizes with the tourist week celebration, which starts formally on the day of Atham asterism. The image of Thrikkakara Appan (Vishnu in the form of Vamana) is installed in every Hindu home during the Onam season. Children go around collecting flowers and decorate them in the front portion of the house in various designs and patterns. The most important days of the Onam festival are Uthradom and Thiruvonam days. On the latter, a grand feast is held in every home. Onam also provides an occasion for family get-together among the Keralites. It's a perfect example for the religious harmony of the state.

Vallamkali or Snake Boat Races (2ndSaturday of August)

This is a typical keralite festival of boat races. It is held in August in the Punnamada Kayal, which commemorates the visit of former Prime Minister, Late Jawaharlal Nehru to Alleppey. Similar boat races are held also at Aranmual and Champakulam, which has a religious significance. The later commemorates an episode involving the idol of Sri Krishna, which was lifted from Kurichi by the Chempakasseri Raja's men for consecration in the Ambalapuzha. The idol had to rest in the house of a Syrian Christian at Chempakulam. Therefore, even today the flag and coir rope required for the Chempakulam boat race is supplied from the local Kallurkad Church.

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Rath Yatra - Puri (July 13)
One of the four most famous holy pilgrimages of the Hindus in India is the Jagannath Temple of Puri. The festival of Rath Yatra celebrated here, is world famous for the enormous crowd of devotees that gathers to witness Lord Jagannath's yearly journey in his huge chariot. Perhaps the only deity to be brought out of the temple every year, Lord Jagannath, with his brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra, goes to his garden house for five days, visiting his aunt on the way. At the end of the five days, the three siblings are brought back to the Jagannath temple in a procession called the Ultarath.

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Durga Puja (Oct. 14 - Oct. 17)

Durga Puja, the most happening festival of the Bengalis can be sensed with its spurt of fanfare on all the four days of the festival. This autumnal festival recalls the power of female Shakti symbolized by the Goddess Durga who slays asura to reestablish peace and sanctity on earth again.

The word Navaratri means 'nine nights.' During Navaratri, we worship the goddesses Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswati, in that order for three days each. The most important day is the 10th day, Vijayadashami. The word Vijayadashami means '10th day of victory.'

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