India is one ultimate land known for the different kinds festivals and fairs. Talking particularly of the fairs today, there are a number of them celebrated across India in different ways. Fairs in India are called Mela, this word takes me back in time when I used to hold my daddy’s hand and walk all around the mela staring at those gigantic wheel swings and beautiful lightings. A maximum number of Fair’s or Mela’s or in our country are conducted either to celebrate the change of seasons or they are simply religious mela’s. Today we shall discuss some of the most popular Mela or Fairs in India.
India A Land Of Fairs And Festivals
As I mentioned earlier, there are many popular fairs held across the country. Particularly they are held in significant pilgrimage destinations, I am sure you would have heard of the Khumbh Mela. This one is one the major gathering across the globe and is conducted at three Holy cities in the countries. Another one is from West Bengal, the Kolkata Book Fair, this is the world’s 3rd biggest annual accumulation conducted specially for books. It is also the world’s largest non-trade book fair. How can I forget to mention the Sonepur Cattle Fair conducted near the city Patna, this is one of the largest cattle Mela in the Asian continent and also the major animal fair across the globe.
India without any doubt is a land of carnivals and festivals, you would notice that almost each month there is some festival and a fair held in some area of India. Few of the most popular religious fairs in India are Gangasagar Mela, Nagaur Mela, Tarnetar Mela, Pushkar Mela, Baneshwar Mela, and Chaitre Chaudash mela.
Popular Fairs In India
Photo by -.-Paul-.-
1. Kumbh Mela, Allahabad, Ujjain, Haridwar and Nashik
Kumbh Mela has to be on number 1, this is the major peaceful gathering across the globe. Kumbh Mela is celebrated once in every 12 years at 4 different holy locations. Prayag in Allahabad, Ujjain, Haridwar and Nashik, these holy cities witnessed the largest gathering of Hindu pilgrims coming from across the globe to take a holy bathe in a sacred river. This is a great grand event which is conducted by rotation, near the banks of the holy rivers Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari, and Kshipra. One of the major attraction of this fair is the parade of Naga Babas (Sadhus or Blessed Men of India) and also the march of Akharas. In Feb 2013, approximately 80 million people had attended this grand event.
2. Sonepur Mela. Bihar
Held in the month of November, on a full-moon day in the state of Bihar the Sonepur Cattle Fair is one of its kind. This is one of the largest animal fairs that is held on the convergence of river Gandak and Ganges. Also, popularly identified as the Harihar Chhetra Mela, this Mela as I said is ultimate and unique not just in the country but across the globe. One of the chief attraction at this Mela is the Haathi Bazaar, this market is specially set up to sell elephants. Apart from elephants, several types of buffaloes, ponies, donkeys, and birds are put up for sale here. Being the largest animal mela in the world, this fair attracts tourist from all around the Asian continent.
Photo by sheetalsaini
3. Pushkar Fair, Rajasthan
Held at the oldest city of Rajasthan “Pushkar”, the Pushkar Mela is one of most popular and the world’s largest camel Mela or fair conducted in the month of October-November). This fair attracts a huge number of tourist from all the corners of the world, Israel being on the top. This fair is held on the bank of the beautiful Pushkar Lake, and over time has become a significant tourist attraction. Some special competitions that draws thousands of tourists are the matka phod competition, longest mustache competition, Hot air balloon competition and bridal competition. Around 50,000 camels are sold, decorated, shaved and raced at the feast every year.
Photo by madpai
4. Hemis Gompa Fair, Ladakh
The Hemis Fair is one of the most popular fairs in the country. This is a spiritual festival and is conducted on one of the most propitious events for the of Buddhist community in the country India. This grand festival is held at the at the world’s biggest Buddhist monastery- Hemis Gompa, i.e. situated in Ladakh in the month of January/February. This monastery is enclosed by massive mountain rocks and hidden inside the popular National Park, i.e. the Hemis National Park.
5. Kolayat Fair, Bikaner Rajasthan
Also, popularly known as the Kapil Muni Mela, this is another big cattle festival held in the months of September to October in the Bikaner district, Rajasthan. One of the main attraction of this festival is when the pilgrims take a holy dip in the calm waters of the Kolayat lake and leave ignited oil lamps to float in the holy waters, the view is totally enchanting. There are around 52 different Ghats near the lake, and each one is beautifully decorated for the fair. This fair is mainly associated with the birth of the river Ganges. Rajasthan also known as the Noble state of India is also quite popular for hosting Desert fairs of Jaisalmer, the Nagaur Mela and also the most popular camel fair in Bikaner.
6. Chandrabhaga Mela, Orissa
Magha Saptam Mela or the Chandrabhaga Mela is another grand fair from the state of Orissa, this fair is held in the month of February at Khandagiri near Bhubaneswar. This is one of the most important fairs that is celebrated every year all through the full moon phase at the holy River Chandrabhaga. The festival is celebrated for seven days and thousands of pilgrims visit it and take bathe in the holy waters of the Chandrabhaga River.
Photo by yogasanft
7. Gangasagar Mela, West Bengal
Gangasagar Mela, this one doesn’t need any introduction I feel. After the holy Kumbha Mela, this Mela is the second-largest parishioners of the mankind. This massive fair is held every year where the divine river Ganga amalgamates with the Bay of Bengal. Thousands of people visit this fair, they mainly come here to take a holy bath which is believed to free them from all their sins. Once the devotees take a holy dip, they offer their homage at the Kapil Muni Ashram.
8. Baneshwar Fair, Rajasthan
The most known tribal fair conducted in the state of Rajasthan in the Dungarpur district. This is a religious fair that is conducted thru the month of February. It is a simple fair that is carried out with old-style rituals to respect Lord Shiva. Being a focus of attraction, this fair attracts a huge amount of tribals from the adjacent states of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. The fair booms with beautiful songs, magic shows, folk dances, animal shows and acrobatic feats.
9. Ambubasi Fair, Assam
This popular fair is one of the several spiritual fairs and festivals that are celebrated across the country. It is a three-day traditional fair that is organized every year during the monsoon season in the Kamakhya temple located at Guwahati, Assam. Thousands of devotees from diverse parts of the country visit the Kamakhya Temple to witness this three-day long traditional fair. This is the celebration of the annual menstruation course of Kamakhya Devi.
Wasn’t this some really interesting information? So the next time you plan to visit any of the above states, try to plan it based on these fair timings. Trust me if you ignore the crowd factor, every thing else would be all the worth.
Have you already visited any of the above fairs in India? Then why don’t you share your experience with us as comments below?
Featured Photo by sheetalsaini