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Being a highly spiritual country, festivals are at the heart of people's lives in India. The many and varied festivals held throughout the year are the best way to see Indian culture. Do not miss these popular festivals in India for an unforgettable experience.

Holi festival in Spanish Fork, UT.
Photo by John Thomas / Unsplash

1 Holi

Holi, often called the "festival of colors", is one of the most famous festivals outside India. The festival is centered around the burning and destruction of the demon Holika, which was possible due to unwavering devotion to Lord Vishnu. However, in the really fun part people throw colored powder at each other and spray each other with water guns. It is associated with Lord Krishna as an avatar of Lord Vishnu, who loved to prank the girls of the village, drenched in water and colors. Bhang (a paste made from cannabis plants) is also traditionally eaten during ceremonies. Holi is a very carefree festival which is a lot of fun to attend if you do not feel like getting wet and dirty. 2nd Ganesh Festival The magnificent 11-day Ganesh Chaturthi festival honors the birth of Lord Ganesha, the beloved elephant of Lord Hindu. The beginning of the festival sees huge, elaborately sculpted statues of Ganesha installed in homes and public podiums, which are elegantly decorated. The idols are worshiped daily throughout the festival. On the last day, they parade through the streets, with much singing and dancing, and then drown in the sea. The best place to experience it is in Mumbai.

A Durga Devi temple in Mumbai, India during the festival of Navratri in 2019
Photo by Sonika Agarwal / Unsplash

3 Navratri

The nine nights of Navaratri celebrates Goddess Durga in all her incarnations. The tenth day, called Dussehra, commemorates the defeat of the demon king Ravana in North India by Lord Rama and the demon lord Hanuman. This coincides with Durga's victory over the evil buffalo demon Mahishasura. In eastern India, the festival is celebrated as Durga Puja. It is the biggest festival of the year in Kolkata. Huge statues of Goddess Durga are made and immersed in the river there. In Delhi, Ramlila plays are organized around the Red Fort at night, in which episodes of Lord Rama's life are narrated.

Photo by CHIRU QI / Unsplash

4 Diwali

Diwali honors the victory of good over evil and shine over darkness. It commemorates Lord Rama and his wife Sita's return to their kingdom of Ayodhya after the defeat of Ravana on Dussehra and the rescue of Sita. It is known as the "light festival" for all fireworks, small earthen lamps, and candles that are lit to guide their path. For Indian Hindu families, Diwali is the most awaited festival of the year.

5 Onam

Onam is the biggest festival of the year in the South Indian state of Kerala. This long crop festival festival marks the return of the legendary king Mahabali, and reflects the culture and heritage of the state. People welcome the king in beautiful patterns to decorate the ground in front of their houses. The festival is also celebrated in new clothes, banquets, banana leaves, folk dances, games and snake boat races.

Kaal Bhairav
Photo by Shaouraav Shreshtha / Unsplash

6 Krishna Janmashtami (Govinda)

Krishna Janmashtami, also known as Govinda, celebrates the birthday of Lord Krishna. An extremely fun part of the celebration consists of teams of people climbing each other to form a human pyramid to reach and reach the curd-filled open earthen pots, which have risen high from the buildings. This activity called Dahi Handi occurs on the second day. This is the best experience in Mumbai.