Here are the top festivals of Gujarat that will make you fall in love with the beautiful Indian state!
What is it: The first thing that pops up in one's mind when they talk about festivals of Gujarat is Navratri. The most celebrated festival in Gujarat is commemorated gleefully in other parts of India as well. Three things sum up Navratri; Dandiya, Garba and lots of fun. Navratri is a festival of nine nights and on the tenth day, Goddess Durga, who is worshipped throughout the nine days, is immersed in holy water after performing a pooja. Loud music, exciting competitions, flea markets and exhibitions, delicacies that are a treat for your tongue and large crowds dressed in the most beautiful, most lively clothes is what you will witness during Navratri in Gujarat.
Where is it celebrated: Throughout Gujarat
When is it celebrated: 29th September to 7th October 2019.
2. Rann Utsav
What is it: Rann Utsav is celebrated at The Great Rann Of Kutch, a salt marsh located in the Thar Desert which spreads over an area of about 7,500 square kilometres. Enthralling music, authentic handcrafted items, Bandini sarees and traditional ornaments are somethings that you will experience on the dazzling white sand. The festival reflects the Gujarati folk culture in its purest form. Experiment with the delicious cuisine of Gujarat while staying in tents in the desert for a heavenly experience.
Where is it celebrated: Rann Of Kutch
When is it celebrated: 1st November 2019 to 20th February 2020
What is it: Uttarayan or most commonly known as the Kite Festival was originally a festival in Gujarat and is now celebrated all over the country. The sky fills up with colourful kites of all shapes and sizes, and people engross in fun-filled competitions wherein the goal is to cut others' kites while keeping your own in the sky for the longest time possible. The festival marks the day when winter recedes to summer. It is a sign for the farmers that the harvest season is on its way and a sign of amusement and joy for others. Ready. Set. Kai Po Che!
Where is it celebrated: Throughout Gujarat
When is it celebrated: 15th January 2020
4. Shamlaji Melo
What is it: Devotees in large numbers arrive at the Shamlaji fair on foot or camel carts, singing devotional songs. People dancing and carrying banners bearing sacred symbols is a common sight which sets a cheerful mood. They worship the deity and bathe in the holy waters of the Meshwo river. The fair, along with being the heart of the festivities, happens to be a market for trading silverware, cloth, and ornaments.
Where is it celebrated: Shamlaji temple (situated near the Gujarat-Rajasthan border)
When is it celebrated: 31st October to 4th November 2019
5. Vautha Mela
What is it: Vathua Mela is an animal trading festival. As strange as it sounds, the festival is like Diwali to the locals. Animals, mainly donkeys and camels are painted and dressed in fancy clothes elaborately to attract buyers. The place is full of life with vendors and their animals that are all decked up and the heart of the festivities. You will also find local food stalls and handicraft stalls to shop from. Wait for the sun to go down as to witness diyas being lit up in the river.
Where is it celebrated: Vautha
When is it celebrated: 4th November to 5th November 2019
6. Rath Yatra
What is it: The rath yatra entourage passes through different parts of the city. The devotees pull three small chariots with the idols of Lord Krishna, his brother Lord Balarama, and their sister Subhadra throughout the city. Devotees, in thousands, take to the streets on that holy day to worship the deities.
Where is it celebrated: Although the yatra is held in various cities and towns in Gujarat, the most celebrated amongst all is the Ahmedabad Rath Yatra.
When is it celebrated: 4th July 2019
7. Modhera Dance Festival
What is it: Modhera Dance Festival in Gujarat is all about the celebration of art, music, dance, and culture to flaunt the Golden age of the Solanki era. The unique traditional dance forms of Gujarat showcased in this event take you back to the past and are thoroughly entertaining. What's more is that as part of visiting this festival, you could also explore the gorgeous Sun Temple.
Where is it: Sun Temple in Modhera
When is it: 19th January to 21st January 2020, after the conclusion of the Uttarayan festival.
8. Bhadra Purnima
What is it: Bhadra Purnima Fair is a festival in Gujarat that is held on the full moon of Bhadrapad at the temple of the goddess Ambaji in the city of Ambaji. On this day, people, especially agriculturists visit the temple for a favourable view of the diety and to attend readings of the Sapatashati, the seven hundred verses in praise of the goddess. In the evening the Bhavai and Garba dances are performed, setting a serene mood.
Where is it celebrated: Ambaji
When is it celebrated: 14th September 2019
9. Bhavnath Mahadev Fair
What is it: Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the Bhavnath Mahadev Fair is a Gujarati festival held for five days during Mahashivratri in February. The events which are associated with the fair are very colourful. Elephants decorated majestically are a common sight. During this fair, the visitors are served free meals by the organisers. There are special stalls that sell idols, sarees from Ayodhya and Mathura, utensils of brass and copper, sweets and fruits. The event is summed up with dance and music performances. It is one of the most happening festivals in Gujarat.
Where is it celebrated: Bhavnath Mahadev Temple, located at the foot of Girnar hill in Junagadh.
When is it celebrated: 21st February 2020
What is it: Janmashtami celebrates Lord Krishna's birth in an exhilarating manner. You must have seen a group of people forming a human pyramid, and then one amongst them climbs to the top to break the Dahi handi and the crowd cheers. This famous religious festival in Gujarat is known for its Dahi handi ceremony, devotional singing, dances and feeding Lord Krishna his favourite food, butter.
Where is it celebrated: Dwarka
When is it celebrated: 24th August 2019
If traditional and cultural celebrations are your thing, then Gujarat is the place to be. Festivals in Gujarat have rituals, devotional and entertaining dance and music performances, local food, and handcrafted products everything one could ask for. Visit Gujarat and join in the celebrations, loosen up and breath the religiosity in the air.