Whether you’re looking for an excuse to party or end the year on a meaningful note, winter is the best time to trip on culture. Whether it’s a celebration of native customs in the hills of Nagaland or a dance music festival on a Goan beach, each of these festivals offers a unique way of experiencing a destination and bonding with like-minded folks. A heady mix of glamour, culture and unrestrained fun, they are the perfect way to drown out the winter blues. Take your pick from music, art, cinema and dance, and get ready to join the party.
1) HORNBILL FESTIVAL, NAGALAND:
When: 1st – 10th December 2017
The eagerly awaited Hornbill Festival, is one of the most cherished festivals of Nagaland, India’s Far North-Eastern state and celebrated by locals with much enthusiasm and zeal. The festival is named after Hornbill, one of the most venerated bird species in the state whose importance is reflected in several tribal cultural expressions, songs and dances.
There’s a carnival-like atmosphere all around: shops selling beaded jewellery and bamboo products and tribal huts which double up as restaurants serving local delicacies such as rice beer. After sundown, the focus shifts to the Kohima Night Bazaar’s food and handicraft stalls, and the tremendously popular rock and metal festival that features the region’s best bands.
2) MAGNETIC FIELDS FESTIVAL, RAJASTHAN
When: 15-17 December, 2017
This three day boutique music festival unfolds in the dream-like setting of the Alsisar Mahal, a 17th century palace-turned-hotel in Shekhavati. Known as Rajasthan’s open art gallery, this area is dotted with painted havelis decorated with colourful, centuries-old frescoes. Marrying this heritage with alternative dance music, it brings together a mix of Indian and international artistes and includes night-long music sessions, pop-up parties, morning yoga sessions, workshops and demonstrations by local artisans, costume balls, and an array of food stalls dishing out local delicacies.
Expect stylish flourishes everywhere—the accommodations include palace suites with painted walls and ceilings and antique furniture as well as luxury tents set up in the bedouin village camp just outside Alsisar Mahal.
3) SUNBURN FESTIVAL, GOA
When: 28 – 31 December, 2017
Sunburn, India’s first and biggest EDM festival will return to north Goa’s Vagator Beach for its eighth year at the end of December. Known for its mix of Indian and international DJs, it features big names from all genres of dance music. In 2014, the festival plans to up the decibels with a line-up of 150 artists, with multiple stages for EDM genres such as dubstep, house and psy trance. You can also expect huge stages, good acoustics, plenty of drinks and food, and after-parties. In case you want to take a break from all that head-banging, there are flea markets, sunset cruises, and adventure sports like zorbing, volleyball, bungee jumping and stunt biking.
4) RANN UTSAV, GUJARAT
When: 1 November 2017 – 20th February 2018
Rann Utsav also called as rann of kutch festival or just kutch festival, Every year Gujarat Tourism arrange kutch festival as a part of kutch tourism, at the edge of white rann of kutch the entire tent city will set-up by Gujarat tourism and thousands of tourist arrive to witness kutch rann utsav celebration from across the world.
Held for three months every winter, the desert carnival offers a mix of folk music and dance performances, camel rides, as well as adventure sports such as dirt biking and hot air ballooning. The crafts bazaar showcases local artisans working with colourful Kutchi embroidery, hand block printing, wood carving, seashells and sliver jewellery. Guests can stay in comfortable desert tents on the outskirts of the Dhorad village, situated on the fringes of the salt desert. There are also safaris to the Indian Wild Ass Sanctuary in the Little Rann of Kutch, the home of the endangered wild ass and several exotic bird species; the white sand Mandvi Beach; and Kala Dungar, the highest point in the region.
5) DECEMBER MUSIC FESTIVAL, CHENNAI
When: 15 December 2017 – 1 January 2018
Every December, music is in the air in Chennai. One of India’s biggest cultural festivals, this month-long extravaganza is the best time to see and hear the finest classical musicians and dancers in south India performing live. The festival dates back to 1929, when Chennai’s oldest sabha or concert hall, the Madras Music Academy held its first conference.
6) CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL, SHILLONG
When: November 2017
Nature’s beauty gives us enough reasons to travel to different parts of the world. Adding to this charm of nature, cherry blossom festival in Shillong needs a special mention here as it changes the entire landscape of the place. One can get to see cherry blossom in few countries such as India, Pakistan, Japan, Siberia and China. The blooming of these flowers and their short life often symbolise the fleeting form of nature, which keeps changing itself from time to time. Due to its similarity with human life, which is beautiful and yet has to come to an end, Japan celebrates life and mortality during the blooming of cherry blossom. The good news is, the Government of Meghalaya has decided to celebrate Indian cherry blossom festival in Shillong through the second instalment of the International Cherry Blossom Festival in November, 2017.
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