Ecstatic, tumultuous, paradisaical.
This is what this May will be for you, unlike the regular frenzy that you are a part of to evade the heat once the exams get over. While the temperatures keep a lot of festivities off the calendar this month, there are sure a good few, to keep you busy. The best of music, dance and cultures will be on offer, bringing out glimpses of this country’s diversity.
Here we are with some of the best options available this May:
1. International Flower Festival
When: 1st – 31st May, 2016
Where: Governor’s residence, Gangtok
This festival brings together a range of fun filled activities, the beauty of flowers and some decent knowledge about plantations. Many species of orchids, gladioli, cacti, roses, trees, ferns, alpine plants, creepers, climbers, are displayed during the show. A range of regional delicacies for your taste buds are also there. For the ones who love adventure, there is river rafting. Another interesting feature of the Flower festival in Sikkim is the Yak Safari. Apart from this, lectures and seminars about indigenous plants are conducted.
2. Summer Festival
When: 20th – 21st May, 2016
Where: Mount Abu
The festival is held every year in the month of May on Buddha Purnima to celebrate the warmth and cheerfulness of the people of the hill station. Rajasthan Tourism, Municipal Board of Mt. Abu and District Administration jointly organize this extravaganza. The festival kicks off with a ceremonial procession which starts from RTDC Hotel Shikhar, and is followed by the folk performances of Rajasthan and Gujarat. The second and third day are more interesting as they bring out the adventurer in every tourist. Skating race, boat race, horse race, tug of war and panihari matka race along with CRPF band show, skaters’ show and Deepdan make the festival quite a success.
3. Buddha Poornima
When: 21st – 22nd May
Being an important landmark of the Indian Buddhist Circuit, Sarnath hosts an elaborate fair and is home to a public procession of Buddhist relics. A huge number of Buddhists are seen coming to Sarnath for the occasion. Apart from Sarnath, almost every other Buddhist capital celebrates Buddh Poornima with much fervor. Find all that falls on the Buddhist trail here.
4. Ooty Summer Festival
When: 2nd – 3rd week of May, 2016
Where: Ooty, Tamil Nadu
Held in the fresh air of the Nilgiris, this festival is just like any other summer festival, yet different from it. No other festival promises such scenic beauty and relaxation as this festival does. A flower show to showcase the beautiful floral arrangements, vegetable carvings, flower rangoli etc. is there. Apart from this, rose show, fruit show, dog show, spice show, vegetable show, and boat race and boat pageantry are also part of the celebrations.
Since the dates for the festival keep on changing, do confirm them if you plan to go for it.
5. Ganga Dussehra
When: 14th June
Where: Any place on the banks of Ganges
According to the legends, Ganga’s descent happened during this time, and it came down reluctantly. So to avoid her fury, Lord Shiva took her on his matted locks, and from those matted locks, Ganga descended to Earth in seven streams. It is considered as a really auspicious day, and devotees flock to cities like Varanasi, Haridwar and Rishikesh to bathe in the holy waters. In Haridwar at twilight, ‘artis’ are performed and a large number of people meditate on the banks of this river. A great occasion to feel the sanctity of nature.
6. Moatsu Festival
When: 1st – 3rd May 2016
Moatsu festival is one of the most eagerly awaited festivals in this little yet beautiful state of Nagaland. Making the entire state lively with its vibrant festivities, Moatsu Mong festival is celebrated by Ao tribe of the state. To seek the blessings of God, is the main idea behind the festival. Rice beer is brewed in large quantities. Pigs, fowls and cows are fed to make them fat for the festive feasting. Eulogies are sung to commemorate the traditional heroes. And then, one learned person forecasts the god and bad days the village is going to encounter.
The festival is a lot of fun, and although it sounds like a festival in which only locals enjoy, it isn’t one. People from the entire country come and witness Nagaland’s culture at its best.
7. Chithirai Festival
When: 21st April – 11th May
This festival is held in the famous temple of Madurai, 500 kms away from Chennai. It is said that Lord Vishnu rode on a golden horse to Madurai for the wedding of Goddess Meenakshi with Lord Sundareshwar. A decorated chariot carrying idols of the couple are taken around the city which are welcomed by all with great enthusiasm. The beats of drum, the spiritual ambience, people offering coconuts, flowers, camphors, all of this make for a great festival. Trade exhibition and fairs are also organized which make it more interesting for the visitors.
8. Igitun Chalne
When: Specific dates are extremely difficult to determine without speaking to a local. We recommend contacting the Goa Tourism Development Corporation before planning to attend this event.
Where: Sirigao, Goa
Igitun Chalne, literally translated from Konkani, means walking through fire. It is celebrated every year in May, in the temple of Sirigao, which is around 30 kms away from the capital, Panjim. Both the visitors and locals, crowd around the temple to watch the rituals. This is followed by walks on the fire, undertaken by a few courageous people only, while other people encourage them. These are devotees of goddess Lairaya, who believe in going through the trial by fire and submitting their feet and faith. One hell of a festival, for sure.
While you are in Goa, stay till the Beach Bonanza as well, which sees a number of cultural dances and other festivities about the beaches of Goa
To get a feel of how Nirvana must be, check out these amazing places – Jainism at its best.
9. Thrissur Pooram
When: May 5, 2017
Where: Thrissur, Kerala.
This is one of the greatest festivals in April held in Kerala. One of the largest celebrations hosted by Thrissur, this one is almost an essential if you are anywhere in the state during that time. The celebrations, with elaborate lights, hues and decorations also tend to be amazing for all the photography lovers.
You may also read about the Best Places to Visit in May in India.