India is not just one of the largest democracies in the world, it is also an epitome of diversity and vivacity, be it about its people, religions, languages and customs. While the country boasts a melange of cultural delights across the year, there are some festivals that are on the radar for both Indians and international tourists alike. Here’s a list of some of these festivals to look forward to as we welcome 2022.
Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF)
This year, the iconic Jaipur Literature Festival will be back in a hybrid format with both the on-ground splendour (Hotel Clarks Amer, Jaipur) and a virtual presence. A platform with many writers, musicians, fashionistas, and literature enthusiasts sharing their views, ideas, and insights, this event is one of the most awaited festivals in the country. The eminent speakers include the 2021 Booker prize winner Damon Galgut, Indian-born British screenwriter, writer, and playwright Farrukh Dhondy, Delhi-based vascular and endovascular surgeon and writer Dr Ambarish Satwik among others.
- Date: 28 January - 6 February 2022
- Connectivity and Stay: By road, rail, and air. The Pink City of India has its own airport and railway station. From luxury heritage resorts to home stays, choices to stay are plenty here.
- Other Attractions: Hawa Mahal, Amer Fort
- Must-Try: Dal baati churma, laal maans, kachori, and the popular Rajasthani dessert, ghevar.
Khajuraho Dance Festival
One of the most serene dance festivals in India, the Khajuraho Dance Festival is an event for all art, culture, and age-old dance tradition lovers apart from being a great excuse to plan a trip to this magnificent temple town of Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh. Already in its 48th edition, it is best known for eminent artists performing against the backdrop of historic monuments of Khajuraho.
- Date: 20-26 February 2022
- Connectivity and Stay: Khajuraho is accessible via road, rail (Khajuraho Railway Station), and air (Khajuraho Civil Aerodrome). Multiple options of stay are available, depending upon the budget and taste.
- Other Attractions: Ancient temples of Madhya Pradesh with some of the finest sculptures.
- Must-Try: Dal bafla, Bhopali gosht korma, chakki ki shaak, mawa baati.
Celebrated since the 18th century, this carnival is unique to Goa and was introduced by the Portuguese. Celebrated for three days and nights, a local resident presides over the entire event as ‘King Momo’ to proclaim the Konkani message of 'Eat, drink and make merry'. With various parades, floats, and public street parties taking over the streets of Goa, the carnival is an ideal time to see the coastal state at its colorful best.
- Date: 26 February - 1 March 2022
- Connectivity and Stay: Goa is a preferred road-trip destination. Tourists can also reach Goa via train (Margao or Vasco Da Gama station) or by air (Dabolim International Airport). Hotels, resorts, beach-houses, shacks, home-stays, are some common choices for a stay in Goa.
- Other Attractions: Beaches, churches, colorful streets, and buildings.
- Must-Try: Cashews, fenny (alcohol made from cashew), pork vindaloo (and other pork dishes), bebenca.
Kila Raipur Sports Festival
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Held at the Grewal Sports Stadium in Kila Raipur (located in Ludhiana, Punjab), this event, also called the Rural Olympics, is a huge attraction for sports enthusiasts. Some of the most popular unconventional events in this competition include kabaddi, short put, daredevil stunts on bikes and horses, pulling cars with their hair, teeth or ears, tug of war, bull cart-race, mule cart race, horse cart race, tractor race, and many others.
Date: Usually in February
Connectivity and Stay: Ludhiana is well-connected via road, rail (Ludhiana railway station), and air (Sahnewal airport). The city has many hotels and home-stays to choose from, depending upon one’s tastes and budget.
- Other Attractions: Cultural events, folk music and dance in the evening.
- Must-Try: Lassi, makai di roti with sarson da saag (Indian bread made from corn and spinach curry), tandoori chicken, gajar ka halwa.
Popularly known as Phousanyi among the locals, this harvest festival of Nagaland’s Angami Nagas is related to the agricultural cycle. The literal translation of the festival is to ‘make holy’ the entire village by cleansing the body and soul. The main attraction of the festival is the dance celebration and rituals performed by the tribals of Nagaland.
Date: Usually from 25 February. This is a 10-day festival
Connectivity and Stay: The nearest airport and railway station is in Dimapur.
Other Attractions: Folk dance, folk music, nature walks.
Must-Try: Locally prepared food by the tribals, bamboo shoots, axone (a fermented soybean dish in cake form).