What makes any place special? Sure the food and people deeply define the real spirit of a region but it is the festivals that truly capture and display the authenticity of that place. Darjeeling is culturally eclectic and its festivals are anything but lackluster. People know this hill station for its rolling green hills covered in tea gardens, the omnipresent sight of the mighty grand Kanchenjunga mountain range, and a unique culture that cannot be found anywhere else in India.
This little hill town which graces the foothills of the mighty Himalayas is home to some of the most interesting and unique festivals. Although there are many festivals that are celebrated the same way throughout the subcontinent, there are other festivals which are specified only to the people of these parts. The best way to experience any place is by going there during their festival time. Thinking about booking your ticket to Darjeeling but don’t know when?
Check out these festivals in Darjeeling to make a sound Decision
1. Chaita Dasai
Chaita Dasai which is also known as Ram Navami to the rest of India is one of the most hugely and extravagantly celebrated festivals of Darjeeling. This Hindu spring festival celebrates the birthday of the 7th form of Lord Vishnu i.e. Lord Ram. Lord ram is an important god among the Hindus of India and even some other South Asian nations. Other than Ram Kathas a procession is carried out among great fun and celebration where the people’s prayers are also offered to Devi or Shakti for her triumph of good over evil.
2. New Year Celebration
You may wonder what’s so special about a regular new year’s celebration. It is celebrated all over the world with equal fun, frolic, and elaborate celebrations. But when it comes to celebrating New Year’s in Darjeeling, it’s a whole different vibe. The Lepchas and Bhutias come out on the streets and offer vibrant traditional performances on the street. It sure is a treat for photographers and people looking to learn all about the culture of people in Darjeeling. Around this time, fairs are also organized to welcome the New Year with good wishes.
3. Teesta Tea and Tourism Festival
What do you think of when you hear Darjeeling? Darjeeling tea! This hill town, although small, is popular all over the world for its premium tea quality and flavors. Most of the people in Darjeeling are involved with tea plantations in some way or the other so it’s understood that tea holds a super important place in the life of every local. Celebrated during the months of November and December, Darjeeling attracts tourists from far and wide. The event includes a grand display of varieties of tea, exhibitions, and tasting sessions.
4. Cham Dance
Cham is an extremely unique, traditional, and heritage dance which is performed by the Buddhist monks along the Himalayan region during any special Buddhist Festival or occasion. This is a lively dance that is accompanied by upbeat music to match the steps. The unique part? The dance is performed wearing incredibly detailed elaborate and large masks and costumes. It is truly a sight to behold and is hugely celebrated in Bhutan, Lahaul and Spiti, Tibet, and Darjeeling to name a few. Darjeeling should definitely be visited during this time to understand and experience the real culture, colors, and vibrancy of this quaint Himalayan Hill Town.
In the simplest terms, Losha or also referred to as Losar, is the Tibetan New Year. You can imagine the amount of excitement people share during this festival mainly because a majority of the people living here have their roots in Tibet. The lunisolar places this New Year during the months of February or March and is celebrated across Tibet, Bhutan, Nepal, and India. The best part is that unlike any regular New Year, Tibetan New Year is celebrated for over a week at times. The 11th day of celebration marks the celebration of Cho Nga Chopa. Everything is dedicated to Lord Buddha and people wear new clothes, people cook delicious traditional cuisines, and dance their hearts out.
6. Buddha Jayanti
As the name makes it clear that Buddha Jayanti is the celebration of Lord Buddha or Prince Siddhartha Gautama’s birthday. Since over 3 million people in the world and especially the people in East Asia follow Buddhism, they celebrate the birthday of the founder of this religion with incredible vigor and unmatched enthusiasm. The exact date of his birth is based upon the lunisolar calendar which is followed by the Buddhists. Other than India, Buddha Jayanti is also observed in places like Mongolia, Japan, Taiwan, and other regions of south and Southeast Asia. As a part of tradition kheer or milk, porridge is prepared in homes along with delicious veg and non-veg cuisines.
7. Darjeeling Carnival
This will be a festival or rather a carnival unlike any other you may have experienced ever. Celebrated mainly during the winter month of November, this is a 10-day carnival that is hosted in the main town of Darjeeling. The festival was initiated by the youth of Darjeeling as a part of Darjeeling’s initiative to bring in throngs of tourism. The main purpose of this carnival was to get over the violent period of the 80s. It is all about rock music performed by the locals of Darjeeling in Bengali, Nepali, and English. It truly is a one-of-a-kind experience and also includes exciting activities like poetry reading sessions, photography exhibitions, painting and so much more.
8. Darjeeling Orange Festival
This has to be one of the most unique festivals in Darjeeling without question. As peculiar as it sounds the name of the festival is pretty self-explanatory. That’s right! This festival is all about oranges, types, varieties, and conservation methods. You will feel like you have learned a lot about one of the most nutritious fruits on the planet. It takes place during the winter month of December that attracts participants from over 50 villages near and far. You can either participate to see the fruit or you can go there as a visitor and check out the incredible marketplace. Either way a time of your life is guaranteed.