When someone mentions Gujarat the first few things that come to mind are color, vibrancy, warmth, and celebration. From the incredible places to explore in Gujarat to the people here, everything is unique and truly one of a kind. One of the best things about Gujarat is its festivals which are not only celebrated with great zeal and enthusiasm by the Gujarati people residing in this coastal state but are also admired by the people from all over the world.
Here are some of the festivals in Gujarat:
This had to be one of the most famous festivals in Gujarat and also the rest of India. On dividing the name of the festival it translates into 9 nights, which is the duration of this festival which takes place in the autumn months of wither late October or early November. This is the time when the entire state springs to life and color and the people celebrated the 9 forms of goddess Durga and the 9 days she took to beat the evil demon King Mahishasura. Dandiya Dance and Garba are performed in every street, nook, and corner for these days where people dress up in their best Gujarat is folk attire and groove to their traditional music up to wee hours. It is also one of the most awaited festival or event of the year and is also celebrated by people living in abroad as well.
02. Rann Utsav:
Famous for being one of the unique festivals in Gujarat, this celebration of the culture, traditions, and lifestyle of the people of Gujarat takes place on the great white salt desert of Rann of Kutch. Its location, vibe and interesting activities are what make it truly an experience to remember and something which cannot be done anywhere else in the world. This particular festival is famous for displaying Arts, Crafts, and Musical, theatre and dance performances which makes the state very different from the rest of India. People attending this 3 month long festivities stay in luxurious tented accommodations, participate in various activities like yoga, meditation and adventure sports as well among a range of others. One can truly comprehend the enormity and uniqueness of this coastal state by being a part of this festival.
Janmashtami is one of the most widely celebrated festivals in the Indian subcontinent. This is the time when the birth of Lord Krishna or the incarnation of Lord Vishnu is celebrated with great and unparalleled zeal. Huge and massive celebrations take place in Dwarka which was once a kingdom of the Lord himself after he had come here form Mathura and Vrindavan, where he had celebrated a majority part of his childhood and youth days. The day is also marked with various traditional and interesting activities like Dahi Handi where people make a human pyramid and break the Handi containing Dahi, the lord’s favorite food, hanging high up. Throughout the night different devotional songs and dance festivities take place and since Krishna Ji is said to have born at midnight the women swing the cradle containing the baby idol of the lord and welcome him into this world.
Marking the commencement of the harvest season in India and the change of weather this particular is not only one of the most sought after holidays in India but is also celebrated with unmatched enthusiasm and zeal. One of the most unique and defining features of this day is the flying of numerous colorful kites that fills every inch of the sky. This is also the day when the international kite festival takes place and is very much admired by the local people of Gujarat. People go up to their terraces and fly their traditionally made colorful kites and some localities even take part in kit fights which are looked forward to not only by the people here but also by the kids. This festival brings together everybody and they also make traditional sweets while exchanging gifts and well wishes to one another.
05. Modhera Dance Festival:
Also commonly referred to as the Uttarardh Mahotsav these 3 days of colorful dance festival celebrates the different forms of this beautiful art. Organized by the tourism corporation of Gujarat, this festival takes place in the iconic temple of Modhera which is the sun temple and is truly an architectural masterpiece. This temple which attracts not only historical but architectural buffs as well for these three days sees psychedelic colored lights forming the backdrop for this remarkable dance performance from all over the world. It is truly another one of the efforts shown by this state that it respects art forms and displaying it to the world. Being a part of this dance festival is a wonderful experience and should definitely be a part of your bucket list.
06. Bhadra Purnima Fair:
This is not only one of the most awaited of the region but is also the largest celebrated festivals of Gujarat. Panning for a period of 3 days and the festival is dedicated to goddess Ambaji the central focus of this festival takes place in the sacred temple of Ambaji. The interesting part about this celebration of the goddess is that there is no idol worship and the deity is represented with a universal representation of the goddess in the form of a triangular entity called Vishwa Yantra. People and the devotees of the goddess gather together and read the Saptashati or the 700 verses of prayer together as one. They also celebrate this day by doing their traditional Garba and Bhavai Dance form. It is quite a unique festival and fair which a very exciting experience to be a part of.
07. Shamlaji Melo:
This fair or meal takes place in the banks of river Meshwo and is marked by the presence of numerous devotees and travelers. The number of people arriving here for celebration on foot or on camel backs always come here to worship the deity and take a holy dip in the nearby river. The entire atmosphere is filled with amazing devotional musical numbers and a very cheerful mood. The main point of this festival where trading of clothes, ornaments, and silverware takes place. A large number of devotees arrived here during the auspicious eve of Kartik Purnima and it is also celebrated in Rajasthan also. The various activities going down here also include dancing, singing, and merrymaking by the people attending this festival.
08. Vautha Mela:
Agricultural activities and cattle are very precious for the people of Gujarat since they are a source of their livelihood and income. This is an animal trading festival which is most awaited by animal traders and buyers as well. Although it may not seem like a big deal to the normal people, but for the local people here it is like Diwali for them. Some of the animals here for trading includes donkeys and camels in large numbers. People elaborately decorate their animals for sale in great detail and colorful glittering clothing to attract buyers who come from other villages and towns to buy these animals. One of the best features of this festival is that by sundown the entire close by river lights up with a number of diyas which creates a wonderfully spiritual and positive environment.