In India, all festivals are celebrated with great enthusiasm and joy. Many festivals are also organized with the aim to support different art forms, cuisines, and spiritual and educational affairs. Whatever be the reason or the occasion, many of the festivals have also become quite popular among tourists and expats. If you like to explore colourful cultural nuances, you would also do well to book tickets to the country, when some major festivals are underway. Check out five popular festivals during the spring season in India.

Paripally Gajamela, Kerala

Every year, Paripally Gajamela festival is celebrated in Kollam district of Kerala on the last day of the annual carnival of Goddess Bhadrakali. The highlight of the Paripally Gajamela is a grand procession of 50 Elephants well- decorated with colorful embellishments, traditional trunk masks, and shields. One can reach there either by flight or train. The nearest railway station is at Kollam Junction and the nearest airport is Trivandrum International Airport. In 2016, the Paripally Gajamela festival will be celebrated on 6th March.

Thirunakkara Arattu, Kerala

Thirunakkara Arattu is another famous festival in Kerala. The ten day festival is performed at the Thirunakkara Temple where nine to eleven elephants participate in the Arattu procession. Other major highlights are Peacock dance and all-night Kathakali performances on the third and fourth day. Witness this extravagant event from 14th to 23rd March at Thirunakkara Mahadeva Temple in Kottayam district of Kerala.

Holi, India

Holi is a festival of colours celebrated during the spring season in India. Holi celebrations start on the night before the main day with an event called ‘Holika Dahan’. People gather to perform rituals, sing, and dance in the night. Next day, there is lot of fun with people throwing water and colour on each other. Sweets are also exchanged. Some of the most spectacular celebrations are held at Braj, Mathura – the birth place of Lord Krishna. Here the festival is celebrated for 16 days in remembrance of the divine love of Radha for Krishna. In 2016, Holika Dahan will be held on 23rd night and Holi carnival on 24th March.

Konkanturtle, Maharashtra

The Konkan Turtle Festival is held on Velas Beach, Ratnagiri. Every year, Olive Ridley turtles from the Arabian Sea come to the shore to lay eggs. The festival’s idea is to productively preserve these eggs and release the baby turtles back into the sea after they hatch. Thousands of tourists attend this unique event, where they get a chance to meet different people and share their experiences. Velas Beach is located in Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra. It is celebrated for 14 days. In 2016, Konkan Turtle festival will start on 5th March and last till 3rd April. One can reach easily by road, train or air.

 Shigmo, Goa

Shigmo is Goa’s biggest spring festival, celebrated for five days with lots of music, dance, colours and decorations. The highlight is the traditional dance ‘Ghode Modni’ known as martial arts horse dance. A grand street parade is also held, depicting scenes from the Ramayana and Mahabharata, complete with drums and folk dances. One can try a variety of authentic Goan cuisine and local drinks during the carnival. The festival honours the homecoming of the warriors who had left their homes and families at the end of Dussera to fight the invaders.  In 2016, Shigmo celebrations will last from 24th March to 7th April.

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