In the ever-fluctuating climatic landscape of India, April is perhaps considered a boon when pitted against the draining heat of summer and frosty winter days. Majority of the country is basking in the afterglow of winter and as spring slowly winds down, every turn is awash with vivid colour. What’s more is that April is widely regarded as the month of festivals. You have the starting of spring, blossoming of flowers and also the harvest season--each of these momentous ocassions celebrated in full swing! Here are some worth travelling for this month.
Tulip Festival, Kashmir
Ranked among the top 5 tulip sighting destinations in the world at the Tulip Summit 2017 in Canada, Srinagar is such a land of blooms. From the first step into the many gardens, you just know you’re in for a riot of colours radiating from multiple varieties of tulips and surrounding daffodils. Apart from the rows of colourful, well-manicured flower beds is the location itself. Nestled in the foothills of the Zabarwan Range in Srinagar the tulip gardens are an absolute dreamland. Alas, this reverie breaks once the month is over.
Dates: April 1 – May 5, 2019
A historic day for the Sikh community, Baisakhi is marked as a major Sikh festival (mainly in Punjab) to honour the birth of the Sikh order in 1699 under Guru Gobind Singh. The month of April is also the harvest season for the Rabi crop during which time people are known to adorn themselves in traditional garb, prepare an assortment of delicacies, indulge in dancing and merrymaking, and visiting local Gurudwaras as well. This is widely regarded as the best time to visit Punjab, as its true colours are never more visible!
Date: April 14, 2019
Aoling Festival, Nagaland
This festival centers around the Konyak Nagas, a formidable tribe who were once deemed as the deadliest hunters in all the lands. The Aoling Festival is primarily celebrated in the Mon district (a region known to have a high concentration of Konyak people in Nagaland). The tribe who have since changed their deadly ways (pun intended) have now taken up agriculture. And it is in this period all the tribespeople band together and pray for a prosperous harvest. Their beliefs dictate this celebration to be an obligatory act to welcome the spring season and offer heartfelt prayers for a bountiful harvest. In turn, the people believe the generosity of the divine spirits will bless the people and their lands.
Dates: April 1 – April 10, 2019
Bohag Bihu, Assam
Yes, you guessed it correctly--yet another harvest festival! Its popularity is flabbergasting as the state welcomes the Assamese New Year during this period. The three-day festival has differing rituals associated with each day, the first day of Bihu is dedicated to the cattle (their means of livelihood) who are bathed, adorned with flower garlands, and fed vegetables. In addition, their ropes are severed, allowing them to pasture in any field without any restraint for the day. When the cows return home, they are then tied new ropes in a symbolic gesture for a fresh start. The following day revolves around food, with special treats such as flattened rice, curds and jaggery being prepared and shared. Day three is associated with Bihu folk songs and dances with fairs organised and an aura of festivity being omnipresent throughout the state.
Dates: April 15 – 21, 2019
Next in the list of festivals falls Easter, a prominent occasion for Christians in India. The occasion is marked to rejoice the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the country celebrates it enthusiastically. 'Tis the season for Easter egg hunts and long elaborate dinners. The festivities don't just end at the church--the Goan streets have been known to carry out processions and colourful carnivals as well, and it's definitely a visual treat worth watching.
Date: April 21, 2019
Therefore, those of you who seek culture, April is the month where you shall have it!