Posted on by Chad F.

The rich cultural diversity of India makes its one of the most incredible countries across the globe, with hundreds of traditions and festivals celebrated throughout the year.  Some are religious; some are regional, while few are known exclusively for their uniqueness. Let us take a look at some of the most exceptional festivals celebrated in India.

Hemis Festival

Celebrated in the honor of Tantric Buddhism Founder, Guru Padmasambhava, the main highlight of the Festival held in Hemis Monastery is the masked dance performed by Lamas in which they portray different characters including a slayer of demons, a wizard, Guru Trapko, the God of Death, Yama and Guru Padmasambhava himself.  The dance is accompanied by the beats of drums, trumpets and cymbals. The whole idea is to recount stories of how goodness prevailed over evil.

Dahi Handi

One of the most popular festivals celebrated basically in the state of Maharashtra, Dahi Handi is held during the Krishna Janmasthtami, which marks the imitation of Lord Krishna’s impish habit of stealing butter and yoghurt(dahi), which are kept safe in earthen pots hanging up on the ceiling.  In recent times, this butter-yoghurt thing has been replaced by moolah with some high stakes on offer. A group of men form a human pyramid to reach the pot (handi) hung high across a building, and whoever manages to break the pot first, wins the game.

Rural Olympics

This local sports festival is held in Kila Rapiur in Ludhiana, Punjab, and is one of the most widely recognized sporting affairs for sports enthusiast. More than 4000 participants take part in this 60 year-old festival, which includes unique events such as riding cycles set on fire, pulling bikes and cars with teeth, horse dances, tractor, camel and dog races.


Celebrated in the Thrissur region in Kerala, Onam is a harvest festival held in the month of September to rejoice a large harvest.  The 4-day event includes feasting, dancing and singing. Thousands of people descend the streets to enjoy the finely detailed dressing up of tigers painted in bright yellows, whites and blacks.  The performers dance to the tunes of musical instruments and take part in the play of tigers known as Pulikali.

Matho Nagrang Festival

A flock of visitors come to the Matho Nagrang Monastery in Leh to witness the celebrations of Tibetan New Year, with prayers and cultural performances. The key highlights of the festival are a couple of oracles and their incredible fetes.  They are basically monks known as Rongstan, who begin their preparations well in advance, purifying their body and soul with severe fasting.  On the festival day, they go into a state of trance, and during the time when they are possessed by oracles, they may ascend the monastery barricades blindfolded.

Have you ever been to any one of these festivals while in India? If you are an Indian working overseas, it’s can be really easy to send money to your loved ones so that they can enjoy these festivals back home. Letting them know that you care is as simple as a few clicks!

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