Festival of Rajasthan


Another festival dedicated to the worship of Shiva and Parvati, this time it is married women who pray for a long, happy marital life during the monsoon months of July-August. Though celebrations are held all over the state, they are particularly colorful in Jaipur where a procession wends its way through the heart of the old city. Women dress in their finery and spend time in groups at swings that are specially erected for the festival.


Held in the holy town of Ajmer in honour of the Sufi saint, Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti, special prayers are offered at the mosque, and huge amounts of consecrated food offered from the large, steaming cauldrons that were a gift from Akbar. While quwwalis -folk songs are sung at night, the celebration unite people of all faiths, and the complete town is decorated with buntings, and wears the spirit of festivity.


Among the most easily identifiable of Rajasthan’s many fairs, Pushkar has come to symbolize the heartbeat of the people of the state. Held in November in Pushkar, the temple town close to Ajmer, where an 8th century temple of Brahma draws the faithful, it is located on the banks of lake. Pilgrims bathe here and pray in the temple, while the actual fair is held in the vast stretching desert around it. Here, traders set camp to strike deals at India’s, and probably the world’s largest camel fair, though horses are also sold. It is also a time for friends and families to get together, camp in the desert, entertain each other with folk songs and dances, cook meals over camp fires, and wander through the exuberant melee of people looking for handicrafts, or merely to stand in a queue for the giant wheel… Special tented camps are set up on the occasion for visitors but such is a draw of this fair internationally, that even these are soon exhausted, and people may have to stay in nearby Ajmer, or even as far as Jaipur, visiting here by day


Held at Baneshwar at the time of Shivratri (January – February), this is a tribal fair on the banks of the Mahi and Son rivers. Bhil tribals from all three states gather here to worship Shiva, and set up camps in this forested area in colorful groups.


A gathering of people from Jaipur's rural pockets collects here in almost all forms of transport – laden into tractor trolleys and jeeps – at what must be one of the most colorful events on the Rajasthani fair calendar.


Jaisalmer exercises immense charm, but with the staging of the annual Desert Festival (January – February), it has also become one of the stretching sands around this desert citadel. A number of amusing events at the stadium include turban tying competitions and camel races.


On the occasion of Holi in Jaipur, this festival of pachyderms includes several interesting attractions including elephant polo. The caparisoned elephants, their bodies painted with floral decorations by the mahouts, are a sight to behold.



Idols of Issar and Gangaur, manifestations of the Hindu God Shiva and Goddess Parvati, are worshipped by women, particularly the unmarried who pray for a consort like Shiva. Celebrated all over Rajasthan, it has women taking processions through the streets of town, carrying images of the divine couple.


The sacred site where Kapil Muni is supposed to have meditated, a fair is held here on banks of its lake, the air bristling with excitement. Kolayat can be visited from Bikaner.