India's Monsoon Festivals São João, Hemis, Ganesh Chaturthi Exhibit Tech
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Celebrating India’s Monsoon with Festivals like São João, Hemis and more

Celebrating India's monsoon with festival

India, a land of diverse cultures and traditions, transforms into a vibrant mosaic during the monsoon season. The arrival of the rains brings not just relief from the scorching heat but also a plethora of festivals that celebrate the rejuvenating spirit of nature. Monsoon festivals in India are a testament to the country’s deep connection with its natural surroundings, where communities come together to honour the rains with joy, fervour, and colour. Here’s a journey through some of the most captivating monsoon festivals and events across India.

São João Festival, Goa

Goa, known for its beaches and vibrant culture, bursts into an extraordinary celebration during the São João Festival. Held annually on June 24th, this festival is dedicated to Saint John the Baptist. The highlight of São João is the tradition of jumping into wells, ponds, and streams, symbolising the baptism of Saint John. Locals don colourful headgear made of leaves, fruits, and flowers and sing and dance to the beats of traditional Goan music. The festival, replete with folk dances and feni (a local drink), truly embodies the Goan spirit of joy and celebration.

São João Festival, Goa

Nehru Trophy Boat Race, Kerala

The Nehru Trophy Boat Race is one of the most awaited events in Kerala, held on the second Saturday of August every year on the Punnamada Lake in Alappuzha. This thrilling spectacle features the famous snake boats or ‘chundan vallams,’ rowed by hundreds of oarsmen. The synchronised rowing, the rhythmic chants, and the cheering crowds create an electrifying atmosphere. Named after India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, who inaugurated the race in 1952, this event showcases Kerala’s rich maritime heritage and competitive spirit.

Nehru Trophy Race, Kerala

Hemis Festival, Ladakh

During the monsoon season, the Hemis Festival brings colour and vibrancy to the stark yet stunning landscape of Ladakh. Celebrated at the Hemis Monastery, the festival commemorates the birth of Guru Padmasambhava, the founder of Tibetan Buddhism. Monks dress in elaborate costumes and masks to perform traditional cham dances, depicting the triumph of good over evil. The festival, held in June or July, attracts tourists from all over the world who come to witness this unique cultural extravaganza.

Hemis Festival, Ladakh

Teej Festival, Rajasthan

The Teej Festival, celebrated primarily in Rajasthan, is dedicated to the reunion of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Women wear beautiful green, pink or red sarees, adorn themselves with jewellery, and apply henna on their hands. They swing on beautifully decorated swings hung from trees, sing traditional songs, and perform folk dances. The festival, marked by fasting and prayers for marital bliss, typically falls in July or August, during the monsoon. The procession of Teej Mata in Jaipur is a grand affair, drawing tourists and locals alike.

Teej Festival, Rajasthan

Behdienkhlam Festival, Meghalaya

In the lush green hills of Meghalaya, the Behdienkhlam Festival is a significant event for the Pnar tribe. Celebrated in July, this festival seeks to drive away plagues and ensure a good harvest. Men carry large, decorated wooden logs called ‘rots’ through the streets and immerse them in a river. The climax is a football match played with a wooden ball, symbolising the victory of good over evil. The festival is a vibrant display of community spirit and cultural heritage.

Behdienkhlam Festival, Meghalaya

Ganesh Chaturthi, Maharashtra

Ganesh Chaturthi, celebrated with unmatched zeal in Maharashtra, especially in Mumbai, marks the birthday of Lord Ganesha, the remover of obstacles. The festival begins with the installation of beautifully crafted Ganesha idols in homes and public pandals (temporary structures). Over ten days, devotees offer prayers, sweets like modaks, and sing devotional songs. Mumbai transforms into a sea of colour and music, with thousands of idols parading through the streets to the sounds of drums and chants. The celebration culminates on Anant Chaturdashi, when the idols are immersed in water bodies, symbolising Ganesha’s return to his celestial abode. 

Ganesh Chaturthi, Maharashtra

Rath Yatra, Puri

Rath Yatra in Puri, Odisha, is one of the most spectacular festivals marking the monsoon season. Celebrated in June or July (this year, on 7th July), this grand chariot festival honours Lord Jagannath, his sister Subhadra, and his brother Balabhadra. The deities are carried on gigantic, elaborately decorated chariots from the Jagannath Temple to the Gundicha Temple, amidst ecstatic chants and drum beats. Millions of devotees throng Puri to pull the chariots, believing that participation will absolve them of sins. The vibrant energy and devotion during Rath Yatra create an unforgettable experience.

Rath Yatra, Puri


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