Kashmir, one of the popular tourist places in India, is renowned for its snowcapped Himalayas, enchanting valleys, and green landscapes that create a calming and soothing atmosphere for tourists as well as locals. Besides, the state of Jammu and Kashmir has known for its diverse cultural traditions that reflect in numerous festivals celebrated by the locals throughout the year. Even though the population of Jammu and Kashmir comprises largely Muslims, the region of Jammu & Kashmir celebrates both Hindu and Muslim festivals with great enthusiasm. Marked by folk dance, songs, and local rituals, participating in these festivals is a great way to witness the culture and traditions of Jammu & Kashmir as part of India Tour Packages.
Here is our list of some popular festivals celebrated in Jammu & Kashmir.
Hemis Festival is one of the most colorful festivals celebrated in the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir. This event is observed every year at Hemis Gompa in Ladakh, among the top places to visit in Ladakh. It is a 2-day event celebrated on the 10th day of the Tibetan lunar month by the people of Ladakh to commemorate the birth anniversary of Guru Padmasambhava, the founder of Tibetan Buddhism. During the festival, the locals get dressed up in traditional clothes, where men wear cummerbunds and women wear vibrant headgear and loads of jewelry. This joyous event is further lit up with the splendid Mask Dance or Cham Dance by Lamas which mark the victory of good over evil. The festival takes an auspicious turn every 12 years in the Tibetan Year of the Monkey when the two-story high ‘Thanka’ depicting Padmasambhava is displayed. The festival attracts a large number of domestic as well as international tourists as part of Jammu & Kashmir tour packages.
One of the most prominent festivals of the Sikh Community, Baisakhi is celebrated throughout the country on 13th April this year. It marks the new year for the Sikhs and the day embarks the harvesting season in India. Due to the good number of Sikhs in the region, this festival is celebrated here with great pomp and fervor. Also, Baisakhi has special meaning for the Sikhs as their guru Gobind Singhji formed the Khalsa sect on the day of Baisakhi in 1699. During this festival, the Gurudwaras are filled with devotees who come to listen to Kirtans, offer prayers, and feast on the prasad from the common Kitchen (Langer).
Tulip Festival is another popular festival celebrated every year during the first 15 days of April in Jammu & Kashmir. Home to hundreds of Tulip Gardens, the state flourishes with Tulips during the spring season, and it is a sight to behold that attracts nature lovers, horticulture, and floriculture enthusiasts from across the world as part of Srinagar tour packages. Srinagar plays host to the great Tulip Festival every year as it is home to the largest Tulip Garden in Asia, the Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden. There are about 50 varieties of tulips in different colors prepared specially for the festival. Also, the festival features a showcase of local handicrafts, authentic Kashmiri cuisine, and cultural programs.
Shikara Festival is another popular festival of Kashmir that is celebrated in the pristine waters of Dal Lake every year in July or August. Dal Lake is one of the most popular places to visit in Srinagar. This festival was started by the government of Jammu & Kashmir in 2016 to promote tourism. During the festival, the Dal Lake is filled with the traditional Kashmiri Shikara boats that are painted, designed, and decorated beautifully. The main highlight of the event is the Shikara Race, Dragon Boat Race, Canoe Polo Match, and other cultural programs which will give you a glimpse of the Kashmiri culture.
Situated at an altitude of about 8,000 feet, Gurez is a picturesque valley located in the northern region of Kashmir that offers various breathtaking views. The tourism department of Jammu & Kashmir started the Gurez festival with the main aim of promoting tourism in the region. Celebrated in July or August, this 2-day event displays the cuisine, handicrafts, sports, and rich culture of this unexplored valley. Many competitions such as painting and drawing also take place during the fest. Some fun activities also happen on this day which include trekking, rafting, cycling, and zorbing. Besides, many musical programs displaying Kashmiri culture are held. Neelum River flows amidst the Gurez Valley and is a perfect destination for river rafting activity.
Sindhu Darshan Festival
Sindhu Darshan Festival is one of the main events celebrated in Jammu & Kashmir since 1997. Observed on the banks of River Sindhu in Leh, the festival was celebrated every year in June on the full moon day of Guru Purnima. Organized by Sindhu Darshan Yatra Samiti and Ladakh Pandey Tsogspathe, this event is celebrated with the motive of endorsing the river as an icon of communal harmony in India. People from different parts of the country bring water from the rivers of their states to further immerse in Indus. Held for 3-days, the first day’s reception ceremony is managed by a committee that is made up of various religious communities. The cultural exchange program on the second day involves artists from across the country showcasing their art and their wares while the third day involves grand celebrations that include dance and music performances along with a symbolic salutation to the brave soldiers of our country who lost their lives while saving ours. This festival draws a large number of people both domestic as well as foreign tourists as part of Ladakh Tour Packages.
Dedicated to Lord Shiva, Amarnath Cave is one of the popular places of pilgrimage in India for Hindus. Surrounded by snowy mountains, Amarnath Yatra is a 46-day long annual yatra to the holy cave shrine of Amarnath that will begin in the month of June or July every year. The cave itself is covered with snow most of the year except for a short period of time in summer when it is open for pilgrims. Managed by Shri Amarnath Ji Shrine Board (SASB), it is one of the toughest pilgrimages in India to visit as it features extreme weather, dangerous track, as well as very high altitude. To pay homage to Lord Shiva, thousands of Hindu devotees make an annual pilgrimage to the Amarnath cave on challenging mountainous terrain as part of Jammu & Kashmir Tour.