Rajasthan celebrates traditional, religious, state and national festivals. Other than the traditional fairs, recently established festivals that involve elephants, camel races, dance and music have been specially organised for the tourists. Some of the known fairs celebrated in different parts of rajasthan are given below.
Camel Festival (Jan-Feb)
The festival held in the city of Bikaner highlights camel and cultural heritage of northern Rajasthan. Gaily caparisoned camels can be seen at this Festival. Many camel performances like camel races, camel tug war, camel acrobatics, camel dances and camel milking competition are held as part of the celebrations. The city comes alive with music and dance. It is fast gaining popularity as the visitor gets an opportunity to to explore Bikaner and the surrounding places.
Nagaur Cattle Fair (February)
Nagaur is a little town located 131 km from the city of Jodhpur and 45 km from Khimsar. It is the venue of annual cattle fair, one of the largest in India. . During the four-day festival, thousands of horses, cattle, camels and other livestock are brought in for trading. As many as 2,00,000 livestock are brought and sold by some 80,000 farmers coming from as far as Punjab and Haryana. Cock and bullfights, camel races, folk dances and music enhance the excitement of the fair.
Baneswar Fair (Feb - Mar)
It is a religious festival of the Bhils of Rajasthan, Gujarat and M.P. offering prayers to Lord Shiva. They assemble near the confluence of Mahi and Som rivers to take a holy dip, immerse the mortal remains, worship, sing and dance. Magic shows and acrobatics displays add fun to the religious celebrations.
Desert Festival (Feb - Mar)
Desert Festival is a spectacular event coinciding with the full moon in the heart of the desert. The rich culture of the region is on display during this three day long festival when sands around Jaisalmer come alive with the brilliant colour, music and laughter of the Desert Festival. The very rich and colourful Rajasthani folk culture is on show here on these days. The famous 'Gair' and 'Fire' dances, folk dances, contests including Mr. Desert contest and camel races enhance the festivities. A trip to the Sam sand dunes marks the grand finale, where one can enjoy camel rides and brilliant performances by folk artistes against the backdrop of picturesque dunes.
Elephant Festival (March)
A festival celebrated around Holi, great occasions for the visitor, to watch several elephant sports and enjoy the festival of colours. A magnificent spectacle, it unveils the majesty and grandeur of elephants. A royal procession of sixty elephants in their best finery, a match of elephant polo and an elephant race are main events of the festival.
Gangaur Festival (April)
This spring festival is held in honour of Gauri, the consort of Lord Shiva, the goddess of abundance. During the festival young girls dress up in their finest wardrobe and pray for grooms of their choice and the married women do the same for the well-being of their husbands. Though celebrated throughout Rajasthan, in Jaipur it has its own charm and attraction. Girls worship the goddess throughout the preceding fortnight. Colourful images of Gauri are taken out in procession with the town band.
Mewar festival (April)
Welcoming the spring season, Mewar festival is also dedicated to goddess Parvati. The main attraction of the festival is colourful processions of women carrying images of the goddess to the Gangaur Ghat of the Lake Pichola and the boat procession starting from the Lake Palace. The festivities diverge into song, dance, processions, devotional music, rituals and fireworks where almost everybody participates.
Summer Festival (May - June)
The summer season is the time for exuberant festivities in Mount Abu, the only hill station of Rajasthan. This three-day festivity highlights the dances of tribals (the Garasias) and other folk dancers of Rajasthan and Gujarat. Folk dances and classical music performances amidst the lush surroundings and lovely lakes, make it a memorable event giving the tourist ample time to relax and enjoy himself
Urs Festival (To Lunar Calendar)
Held in the memory of the revered Sufi saint Khawaja Moinuddin Chisti, Ajmer Urs is from 1st to 6th of the Islamic month of Rajab, when thousands of believers come to congregate at the shrine and offer their prayers. Several cultural programmes are organized during the festivities.
Teej Fair (Aug)
It is a festival to mark the advent of monsoon. Essentially a women's festival, Teej celebrates the home coming of Parvati to the abode of Shiva, her consort. Mainly married women who idolize Parvati for her devotion to her husband Shiva celebrate Teej. Unmarried girls also join in the worship to achieve husband like Shiva. Parvati's idol is taken in a procession escorted by elephants, camels and musicians. The festivities end with exchange of gifts and the arrivals of Shiva to escort Parvati home and the husbands to fetch their wives.
Dussehra Mela (Oct)
Dussehra in Kota is the beginning of a festive period when people gather to offer prayers to Lord Ram and celebrate his victory over Ravana . Celebrated in Sept./Oct., it is a celebration of victory of good over evil. Huge effigies of Ravana, the demon king, are burned on the last day of festival. The heroic deeds of Lord Rama who destroyed Ravana are enacted in songs and dance.
Marwar Festival (Oct)
Colourful extravaganza celebrating the 'Maand' style of folk music brings out the romantic lifestyle of Rajasthani' rulers. A festival devoted mainly to the music and traditional dance. Folk artistes performing under the full moon bring alive the legends and the folklores of the land. This is a festival that allows the visitor to feel the glorious culture of this Rajputs' state.
Pushkar Fair (Nov)
Pushkar is renowned for its colourful cattle fair held in Nov., in conjunction with Kartik Purnima. The biggest camel fair is also held on these days. Besides camels, horses and bullocks are sold here. Pushkar is one of the two pilgrim centres dedicated to Lord Brahma. Thousands of devotes from all faiths gather here to give offerings and to take a dip in the holy lake on the full moon day. The place come alive two days before the full moon night with village folks trooping in to trade horses camels and cattle. Camel races, cattle auction, display of handicrafts, dance, music, gaily-attired folks and various cultural events enhance the occasion.
Chandrabhaga Fair (Nov)
Chandrabhaga is considered the holiest river in this part of Rajasthan. On Kartik Purnima (full moon) night, thousands of Hindus gather here for a dip in the holy waters of the river. A big cattle fair is also held here on this occasion. Trading is done on cows, bullocks, buffaloes and camels. The fair provides an opportunity to acquaint with the people of Hadoti, their culture and traditions.