10 Best Arts and Cultural Festivals of India Not to be Missed!

Are you an ardent fan of arts and culture? Do you like to attend annual events that celebrate arts and culture? If so, you would enjoy the art and cultural festivals happening around you. Whether it be dance, drama, music or literature; India has a fair share of festivals exposing such astounding talents. Undoubtedly, the ambience and fervour of incredible performances transcend you to another world!

The experience of each of them is so magical, that you eagerly wait for the next one. Certainly, there will be a few of them which you attend without fail year after year. But are you aware of the real mega events filled with impeccable performances happening in India?

Here goes the list of best art and cultural festivals that you should never miss.

1. Delhi World Book Fair

Image by Maruthu Pandian via Flickr

Starting from the capital city, Delhi World Book Fair is the oldest book fair in India and happens in Pragati Maidan at the heart of Delhi. With more than 12,000 publishing houses churning out around 9000 titles every year, India stands third in the list of biggest market for English books.

Held with an aim of promoting active readership among youth, the book fair is really a gala event organised by the National Book Trust in winter months. What could be a better accompaniment than a hot cup of black tea while browsing through millions of books this January?

2. Jaipur Literature Festival

Image by Kirk Kittell via Flickr

The JLF (Jaipur Literature Festival) is a 5 day mind boggling festival held in the month of January in the Pink City of Jaipur.

Dignified authors from all over the world, especially South Asia, meet up for discussions, readings and debates on literature on this occasion.

With a backdrop of Rajasthan’s rich culture heritage wrapped in the Diggi Palace Hotel, JLF is a rendezvous of literature stalwarts exchanging literary ideas from their part of the world.

The literature admirer in you will cherish this opportunity to interact with contemporary thinkers and writers in one platform, isn’t so?

3. International Film Festival of India, Goa

Image by Frederick Noronha fredericknoronha1@gmail.com via Flickr

IFFI Goa, the biggest international film festival is a mesmerising event which portrays hundreds of finest movies from all over the world.

Movie enthusiasts from around the globe invariably land up in Goa every November, to support global cinema immaterial of their cultural diversities.

Appreciating excellence of film art, IFFI acts as a platform to extend friendship and co-operation among the people connected by love for movies!

This year’s film festival has already begun from 20th Nov. It will wind up by 28th Nov. Wouldn’t you love to live in the dazzling world of cinema for 7 days once in a year?

4. Kochi Biennale

Here goes the big one from God’s own country! Kochi Biennale is an extraordinary international exhibition of contemporary art by Indian and International Artists, held only once in two years.

The striking feature of Biennale is that the medium of art can be anything. Say, from painting, sculpture, installation, film, performance art to new media.

Set up in and around the islands of Cochin, this art celebration has a historical backdrop of yester port of Cochin called Muziris (hence the event is called as Kochi-Muziris Biennale).

Why don’t you plan your trip in advance for this two month long mega event starting on 12th December?

5. Kshitij, IIT Kharagpur

Image by newyorkannie via Flickr

Do you like Robot Wars? Kshitij is the annual technical cum management fest conducted by one of the finest technical institutions of India, IIT Kharagpur.

The event is a platform for young tech enthusiasts to showcase their talent and expertise at a national level and earn rewards as well.

For the technical lover in you, Kshitij is an ideal chance to witness the budding talents of India and to appreciate their efforts this January.

6. Saarang, IIT Madras

Image by Pratheesh Prakash via Flickr

IIT Madras, another pioneer technical institution in the country reflects upon its art and cultural talents through the festival called Saarang!

Performances like dancing, speaking, quizzes, word games and thespian as well as events like professional shows, workshops on fashion, art, music and dance, attract more than 70000 people every year.

This 5 day long programme (usually held in the second week of January), run by students alone makes it the biggest fest of its kind in India. Watch out! The ambience of Saarang will make you want to go back to your college days!

7. Kerala School Kalolsavam

Image by Krish9 via Wikimedia

How about a time travel back to school days? Regarded as the biggest cultural extravaganza in Asia attracting over 10000 participants, the Kerala School Kalolsavam is an annual art and cultural festival held for high school and higher secondary students of Kerala.

Conducted by the Government of Kerala in the month of January for a period of 7 days, the fest comprises of showcasing talents in art, drama, dance and music with a competitive spirit.

The highlight of the event is the ever rolling Gold Cup (worth 117.5 sovereign gold) which is awarded to the revenue district that tops the point table.

8. India International Trade Fair, New Delhi

Image by Arvind Khanna via Flickr

Enough of fun, now let us talk some business here! India International Trade Fair (IITF) is a major event for business community across the subcontinent to interact with buyers as well as counterparts from other countries. It is the common platform for manufacturers, traders, importers and exporters to showcase their products and services.

Held at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi every year from November 14th to 27th, IITF is a mega even organised by the Government of India’s trade promotion wing. Don’t you think you will get a better place to showcase your business?

9. International Kite Festival — Uttarayan, Gujarat

Image by Nisarg Lakhmani via Flickr

Uttarayan is the colourful kite festival celebrated in the state of Gujarat. The event happens on Makar Sankranti day (January 14th), marking the happiness of switching from cold winters to pleasant summers.

The International Kite Festival celebrated in the city of Ahmedabad, especially at the Sabarmati riverfront, attracts dignitaries from various countries. Can’t wait to sport a vibrant coloured kite and unleash the child in you, right?

10. Tansen Samaroah, Madhya Pradesh

Image by Tinkubasu via Wikimedia

How about tuning in for some good music? Tansen Samaroah marks as a rendezvous for musical lovers from all over India to perform as well as appreciate the musical legends in the making.

The 4 day long musical extravaganza happening in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh commemorates the musical legend, Tansen. The yearly event occurs near the tomb of Tansen in the village of Behat in the month of December.

Adding onto that, Guruvayur in Kerala hosts Chembai Sangeetholsavam for Carnatic vocalists across the sub continent. Likewise, Khajuraho Dance Fest, Rajasthan International Folk Fest and Kolkata Youth Theatre Fest attract thousands of dance and drama lovers. Amazingly, such passion packed performances transforms the audiences to better enthusiasts!

Apart from these, technical fiestas like Techfest (IIT B), Shaastra (IIT M) and Ragam (NIT-C) are major festival organised by students of reputed colleges.

Movie enthusiasts come together again every year after Goa IFFI at International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK), Thiruvananthapuram.

Surely, India’s flavour for celebrating any genre of art and culture is uncomparable with the rest of the world. And the highlight of each festival is the new acquaintances who become your friends for life. Sharing same taste as yours, they are the first ones to keep you updated about the upcoming cultural fest!

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