India is known to be a land of festivals, festivals that not only celebrate gods and goddesses but also the the flora and fauna, the elements and the seasons. Our calendar is dotted with the multitude of festivals (and bank holidays that we as Indians are so accustomed to), barring a few months, like June. But if you thought the month of June that heralds the onset of monsoons across the country, isn’t celebrated in India, you might be surprised (or maybe not). Here’s a list of festivals held across various parts of the country which brings people together to welcome the change in seasons in their own unique and traditional way.
From the varied festivals that celebrate the diversity of India to a festival that is especially made for the newlyweds, June has something to offer for almost everyone.
Date: 1st-3rd June
Place: River Sindhu(Indus), Shey Manla, Ladakh
Celebrated on the banks of river Sindhu in Leh, this festival lauds the diverse traditions of India. The otherwise serene Ladakh is in a frenzy of celebration for three days straight. The main attraction of the festival is the process of immersing earthen pots filled with water that is drawn from various rivers across the country. This signifies the blending of cultural hues at that particular place. People from different regions and religions are seen performing the act together thereby depicting the multi-dimensional cultures of India. The entire coterie of participants enjoy the grand ceremony followed by performances from local folk troupes. Experience this unique festival and be enthralled by the great music, phenomenal food and a slice of culture.
Date: 15th of June
Place: Gangtok, Sikkim
One of the most important festivals of the Mahayana Buddhists is celebrated in the tranquil hills where the snowclad Kanchenjunga is a treat to the eyes. This is a festival that is both fun and spiritually enriching. Saga Dawa is also known as the Triple Blessed Festival, as the three most momentous events of Buddha's life (birth, death and attainment of Nirvana) are celebrated amidst thorough fanfare. The revelry and burst of colours is a visual treat. The most spiritual and significant highlight of the festival is the religious procession in Gangtok where the monks are seen carrying the Holy Scriptures that contains the teaching of Lord Buddha.
Date: 24th of June
Place: Across Goa
The feast of St. John the Baptist is celebrated every year on June 24 in Goa. If you have tied a knot with your loved one recently, you must book your tickets for the feast of Sao Joao. Newlyweds are known to be the spotlight of this grand festival of Goa. The feast involves the husbands getting inebriated on the local, popular spirit, feni, and jumping into wells in order to impress their wives, adorning floral wreaths on their heads. And if the rain gods are kind, they shower their blessings in the form of a heavy downpour, which lends a surreal feeling to the merriment. People revel delectable food and good music while they are witnessing one of the eccentric and quirky, yet interesting celebrations in the coastal region. Prospective couples, are you listening closely?
Date: 26th-27th June
Place: Ladakh, Jammu & Kashmir
The five day long Hemis festival is held in the Hemis Monastery of Ladakh in the state of Jammu & Kashmir, the biggest Buddhist monastery. Ladakh is the perfect place to be during the month of June as it is immersed in multiple festivities throughout the month. The festival of Hemis has more to it than meets the eye at the very first instance. The Lamas from the local community masquerade as artistes and perform to indigenous folk music. Soulful music and dance rituals are seen to occupy every quarter of the place, and visitors are sure to be spellbound by the blend of spirituality and festive fervour.
Date: 1st - 9th June
Place: Shimla, Himachal Pradesh
The Summer Festival in Shimla is a beautiful amalgamation of various talented people of India who make it an event that is remembered for a long time to come. Come June and the capital city of the Himalayan state gears up to bid adieu to the summer season, which makes it a tourist's delight. There is a sports tournament with a variety of activities for both children as well as adults. Colourful flower shows are organised, which add fun and colour to the whole atmosphere thus making it even livelier. The local artistes give live musical and dance performances with many popular personalities performing on the stage everyday. What sets the festival apart is its heartfelt dedication to showcasing the folk culture of the place. The local cuisine is perhaps the best you would ever savour.
Date: May 31st to June 27th
Place: Kannur district, Kerala
The Kottiyoor Utsavam is reputably one of the holiest events to be experienced, as no other temple festival celebrates mother nature like this one. The festival is held in two temples, Akkare Kottiyoor and Ikkare Kottiyoor, which are situated on either banks of the River Bavali, enclosed in a deep jungle. Visit the 28 days festival and witness nature being worshipped at its best. Watch religion and nature merge together here and be ready to get mesmerised.
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