A festival of turtles, prophecies, puppets, yoga, quirky versions of Holi and one too many elephant festivals, together, welcome spring to the Indian subcontinent, this March. As various parts of the country, welcome the new season in their own way, hue, language, version, parades and traditions, March has enough excuses for you to step out as the sceneries bid farewell to monochrome landscapes and enter the season of countless tints.
1. International Yoga Festival
When: March 1 to March 7
Where: Parmarth Niketan Ashram, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand
By the Ganges, the birthplace of Yoga hosts one of its most global and awaited celebrations. Spread over a week, IYF sees trainers and experts from over the world, Ganga Arti, speakers, saints and more. Also, the way Rishikesh effortlessly turns from a religious hub to a cluster of cafes outlined by a hushed hippie culture, will let you open another layer to this one by landing here this Holi. Registrations for IYF remain strictly online.
When: March 1 and 2, 2018
Where: All over India
Holi is one of the most celebrated festivals in India. It starts with lighting a bonfire ‘Holika Dahan’ to celebrate the victory of good over evil. On the next day, the celebrations involve applying colours to each other. To experience grand Holika Dahan, visit City Palace in Udaipur where the royal family of Udaipur celebrates it with full zest and zeal.
3. Chinakkathoor Pooram
When: March 1, 2018
Where: Chinakkathoor Bhagavati Temple, Palakkad, Kerala
A sparkling and extravagant procession of elephants, a ritualistic shadow puppet show, Kerala orchestra and countless local art and cultural practices come together to create the perfect Kerala festival. Stay another 4 days to witness the state’s popular elephant festival, Paripally Gajamela on 8th March.
4. Jaipur Elephant Festival
When: March 1, 2018
Where: Jaipur, Rajasthan
For a March, which apparently has elephant festivals marked all over its calendars here is another colourful, grand and glittering one, a day before Holi. This one, however, managed to stumble over multiple animal rights groups and has also been cancelled due to the same in the past. At the same time, while a festival may take place, the elephants may be missing. There isn’t much news at the moment, but make sure you check with the proper authorities before planning your trip around this one.
5. Konkan Turtle Festival
When: Depends on hatching period- Keep a look out from March beginning. Batches for viewing the festival will start from 10th Match and go on until the 1st of April
Where: Velas Beach, Ratnagiri, Maharashtra
Part of a conservation programme, one of the cutest and most unique things that March has on its calendar is the Konkan Turtle festival, where you watch tiny, rare and highly endangered Olive Ridley turtle babies, as they hatch and make their way towards the sea. There are usually 4 batches in which you can visit this one. The dates seem to vary immense since they are hard to predict accurately, so you will need to stalk the websites and lines a bit for the exact dates, but it will be absolutely worth it.
6. Oracle Matho Narang Festival
When: End of February
Where: Matho Monastery, 26 kms from Ladakh
While Matho Monastery may not make it to a traditional itinerary to Ladakh, it is in March, when it celebrates its annual Matho Narang Festival, something it’s identified with, that it is not to be missed. It is believed that at this time of the year, two oracles inhabit the body of two specially chosen monks, who then predict the future of the village and individuals. There are ceremonial masks, ancient Thangpa paintings and monks performing spell bounding acts.
When: March 3 to March 17, 2018
A festival to celebrate the change of seasons, Shigmotsav is just another specimen of the extended and eternal party and celebration that Goa is. There are local dances, parades, drums and all you need to make the warmer side of calendar feel welcomed.
8. Ajanta Ellora Dance Festival
When: March 2018
Where: Aurangabad, Maharashtra
This one has classical dances and music, an equally enchanting backdrop of the caves and closeby monuments, as well as a whopping 300 stalls to local arts and crafts. Rangoli, Mehndi, Essay, Cookery and many more such competitions also find themselves on the schedule. However, it is best to check dates with MTDC for this one before you plan your trip.
9. Godwar Festival
When: 18-19 March
Where: Pali, Rajasthan
A bit of everything, this one starts with folk dances and music, arts and crafts to turban tying competitions and other local sports all the way to wildlife safaris, horse and camel rides as well as rock climbing at times.
10. Mewar Spring Festival
When: 1st week of April
Where: Udaipur, Rajasthan
Udaipur lets go off winters and steps into spring with the Mewar festival which is essentially a procession of women, who carry images of Goddess Gauri to Lake Pichola, marked by color, festivity, singing, folk dances as well as fireworks. This is also the time when Gangaur is being celebrated all over Rajasthan, defined by similar traditions, making the state quite the center of all festivity.
11. Hoysala Mahotsav
When: Last week of March
Where: Belur-Halebid, Karnataka
With some of the most celebrated artists like Hema Malini, Sudha Chandran, Shobhana, this is a one day celebration of classical and folk dances and music, as enchanting as the its location.
Know of more fests that should be on the list? Let us know in the comments section below
Also, read about the best places to visit in March.