October marks the most joyous and auspicious month in India as it hosts some vibrant festivals and bountiful celebrations when families, friends and even entire communities come together to mark the occasion. Starting from Navratri or Kali Puja, the festive mood lingers on till Diwali and Bhai Dooj. Each of the festivals has its own significance and the people perform rituals wholeheartedly in order to seek blessings from the Gods and Goddesses. There is much to rejoice about as these festivals are further enhanced by colorful lights, music, and dance. Plan your India Tour to partake in the fervor of the celebrations all through this joyous month and take back a little more about this vast land of festivals.
Here are a few significant festivals to celebrate in the month of October in India.
Observed on 2nd October every year, Gandhi Jayanti is celebrated as a National Holiday in India to mark the birth anniversary of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the ‘Father of the Nation’. On this occasion, several cultural programs will be held all over the country in remembrance of the great man who led India’s struggle for freedom and popularized the concept of ahimsa or non-violence. Also, the United Nations General Assembly was declared 2nd October will be praised as the International Day of Non-Violence in 2007. Porbander, the birthplace of Gandhi Ji, is the best place to witness Gandhi Jayanti celebrations as part of the Gujarat Tour Packages.
Navratri / Durga Puja
Navratri or Durga Puja is one of the most celebrated festivals in October in India with much fervor and enthusiasm. Observed in the lunar month Ashwin or Ashwayuja, Navaratri is a nine-night festival celebrated in honor of Mother Goddess or Shakti in all her manifestations, including Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswathi. Held this year from 29th September to 8th October, the festival culminates with Dussehra, the victory of good over evil, on the tenth day. Kolkata is one of the main city to witness Durga Puja on a large scale that attracts thousands of devotees and tourists from all over India as part of West Bengal Tour Packages. The city is dotted with hundreds of different theme based pandals where the life-size idols of Durga and other family members are worshiped for 5 days. Overcrowded streets, huge pandals, minarets, domes, mountain cliffs, and magnificent lightings make the 4 days of Durga Puja in Kolkata an unforgettable event.
Observed from 29th September to 8th October this year, Dasara or Dussehra is the most famous and royal festival of Mysore. Mysore Dasara also called Nadahabba is the state festival of Karnataka. The main attraction of the 10 day Mysore Dasara festival is the Mysore Palacethe which is illuminated daily with nearly 100,000 light bulbs on all days of the festival and is among the must-visit place as part of Mysore Tour Packages. On Vijayadashami, the traditional Dasara procession (locally known as Jumbo Savari) is held on the streets of Mysore city. According to Hindu Mythology Goddess Durga slew the demon Mahishasur on Vijayadashami day. The main attraction of this procession is the idol of the Goddess Chamundeshwari which is placed on a golden mantapa on the top of a decorated elephant. Colorful tableaux, dance groups, music bands, decorated elephants, horses, and camels form a part of the procession. Kullu in Himachal Pradesh is one of the popular places to witness grand Dussehra celebrations.
The state festival of Telangana, Bathukamma is a flower festival that showcases the symbol of the cultural identity of the state. This festival is devoted to Goddess Maha Gauri, who is considered to be the life-giver and goddess of womanhood. Held from 29th September to 8th October this year, it starts on the day of Mahalaya Amavasya and the 9-day festivities will culminate on “Saddula Bathukamma” or “Pedda Bathukamma” festival on Ashwayuja Navami, popularly known as Durgashtami. During this festival, women arrange seasonal flowers of different medicinal value in the shape of a temple spire. Women sing old folk devotional songs and take the Bathukammas out in procession to immerse them in the water on the last day. The capital city of Telangana is the best place to partake in Bathukamma festivities as part of Hyderabad Tour Packages.
Diwali is one of the most significant and biggest festivals in India. Also known as ‘Festival of Lights’, Diwali is celebrated to commemorate the return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya after defeating Ravana in North India while in South India, it is a celebration of the victory of Lord Krishna over the demon Narakasura. Observed on 27th October this year, it is celebrated by people of all religions with full enthusiasm and fervor. On this day people decorate their houses with candles, earthen lamps or electric bulbs. Goddess Lakshmi, the deity of wealth, is thanked on this day and everyone prays for a good year ahead. The sky is lit with colorful firecrackers on this day. Renowned throughout India, Varanasi, Amritsar, Goa, Jaipur, Kolkata, Madurai, Pushkar, Gujarat are some of the famous places to celebrate Diwali.
Held on 23rd October 2019, Mannarasala Ayilyam is one of the most auspicious and unique Hindu festivals celebrated in October in India. Dedicated to serpent gods, this traditional celebration takes place at Sree Nagaraja temple of Mannarasala, an ancient and secluded snake temple in Kerala. The unusual temple is a pilgrimage center for devotees of serpent gods and has Brahmin woman chief priestess. During this festival, the serpent deities are taken out in a grand procession to the Brahmin ancestral home, where special prayers and offerings are made which is a spectacle to watch. So, make sure your Kerala Tour itinerary included a visit to this festival as while it may not be very famous, it is surely a celebration of its kind.
Rajasthan International Folk Festival
Also called Jodhpur RIFF, Rajasthan International Folk Festival is an art and music festival celebrated to promote Rajasthani traditional folk dances, music, and artwork. Celebrated from 10th to 14th October this year, this festival is held in the majestic Mehrangarh Fort and is patronized by Gaj Singh of Marwar. This 5day event is tagged as one of the best 25 international festivals and has been declared as the People’s Platform for Creativity and Sustainable Development by UNESCO. More than 250 specialists from various areas around the globe perform in this celebration that includes singers, dancers, instrumentalists, and storytellers from various Rajasthani folk communities, as well as nationally and internationally recognized artists. One can also witness the Marwar Festival which is celebrated on 12th & 13th of October here as part of Jodhpur Tour Packages.
Also called as Somvati Utsav or Turmeric Powder Festival, Bhandara Festival is one of the popular events in October in India. Observed two or three times in a year, it is celebrated on a new moon day that falls on a Monday at Khandoba Temple of Jejuri, Maharashtra. Held on 28th October this year, this is a unique festival involves an astonishing amount of turmeric being thrown all over the temple premises by devotees. During this festival, the temple deity is taken out in procession and given a holy bath in the nearby river, which is the main highlight of the occasion that attracts a number of devotees as part of Pune Tour Packages. This temple’s deity is said to grant wishes for bearing children and thus, one can find young couples in this temple.
Held from 29th – 31st Oct 2019, the Tawang festival is a three-day annual fest organized by the Arunachal Pradesh Tourism Department, to showcase the culture of the state and promote adventure tourism. Tawang festival starts with a religious tradition known as “Sebang” where the monks of Tawang town move to the festival spot in rallies from the Tawang monastery. The local markets and roads of the whole hill station will glitter with many stalls in colorful decorations. The major attractions and events that take place in the festival are Yak Dance, traditional and tribal dances, monastic dances, the traditional parade, exhibition of crafts and arts by the tribes, hand-loom products, photography exhibition, paintings, etc. Apart from celebrations, the pleasantness and tranquility of the town also attract tourists to visit the festival.
Organized by Lokayan in partnership with Rajasthan Tourism and Rajasthan Police, the Rajasthan Kabir Yatra is a traveling folk music festival in Rajasthan. Observed from 2nd to 6th October this year, this musical gala aimed at celebrating the philosophies and teachings of the Bhakti and Sufi saint poets such as Kabir, Mira, Bulleh Shah, etc. Performed by more than 50 artists from across India, this event attracts music lovers from all over the globe. Jodhpur, Bikaner, and Jaisalmer are some of the places that witness this event with great enthusiasm as part of your Rajasthan Tour. Besides, this is also the perfect venue for witnessing the exquisite arts and crafts, sculptures and paintings designed by artists from Rajasthan taking inspiration from Bhaktism and Sufism.