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Top cultural festivals to experience in India

Team AckoApr 25, 2023

India is known for its vibrant culture, which is beaming with life and colour. Across the country, various festivals are celebrated to commemorate different customs, occasions, and values. As a traveler, it’s an incredibly beautiful sight to not just witness but also be an active part of those festivals. This list of top cultural festivals to experience in India serves as the perfect A-Z to start off.





One of the most popular festivals of India, Diwali or Deepavali, is celebrated to mark the return of Lord Rama from a fourteen-year exile. Symbolic of the victory of good over evil, Diwali is celebrated across the country with much fervour and enthusiasm. Beautiful Diyas of bright colours fill up the dark of the night and add an aura of vibrancy. It is a time for an exchange of gifts, sharing of sweets, and indulging in grand feasts.

Durga Puja

Image source: Wikimedia CommonsDurga Puja, also called by the name of Navaratri, is celebrated in the month of September-October in the Hindu calendar. This festival celebrates the power of Maa Durga, who is worshipped as the queen of power. The 9 days of the festival are celebrated with the vibrant procession of idols, especially of Maa Durga, which is immersed in the streams and tanks decorated with lights and flowers. Incredible cuisines, lively music, cultural exchanges, and traditional performance make the festival a great treat for the senses.

Ganesh Chaturthi

Ganesh Chaturthi, or Vinayaka Chaturthi, is the celebration of Lord Ganesha’s birth. On this day, a clay idol of Ganesha is worshipped with flowers and offerings, as per the Hindu customs. There are several processions carried out with the idols of Ganesh. Bright decorations and amazing music help to set the mood of the celebrations. Visiting the pandals and taking part in the activities amidst the zealous devotees is a great experience in its own.


Holi, the festival of colours, is celebrated in the month of March in the Hindu calendar. This marks the victory of good over evil by venerating Lord Vishnu in his Holika avatar. On this day people play with colourful powdered pigments and drench each other in water or coloured water. It is a time for feasting and merry-making, cherishing the spirit of unity and love by embracing everyone in colourful hues. Delicious snacks like gujiyas and other local delights are also a great attraction.

Pushkar Camel Fair

One of the biggest festivals held in India, the Pushkar Camel Fair is held annually in the holy town of Pushkar Rajasthan. This is an incredible opportunity to witness the various vibrant cultures of Rajasthan. Here, you will find traders bringing in camels and cattle to trade, devotees offering prayers to the Lord Brahma temple, and much more. The five days of the fair bloom with bright colours, amazing food, and cultural exchanges. This is a must-experience Indian festival.

Rath Yatra

Rath Yatra is a procession in which Lord Jagannath is taken around the city in a chariot. It is celebrated in the month of July-August in the Hindu calendar in Puri, Odisha, and around the world. During this festival, you can witness fascinating rituals and processions of mammoth chariots that are beautifully decorated. You can also find devotees from all over coming together in allegiance to seek blessings from Lord Jagannath.


Onam is an agricultural festival celebrated mainly in Kerala. This is a 10-day festival when people celebrate the return of Mahabali to his kingdom. While there are various rituals and traditions performed, the basis of Onam lies in the pookalam, a design created with colourful petals and decorated with small yellow flowers. Amazing games and competitions, cultural performances, and grand feasts make the festival a treat for your eyes and ears.


India’s festive calendar is indeed immensely rich, with so many amazing cultural festivals to experience from across India. From the traditional Diwali and Durga Puja to the vibrant Pushkar Camel Fair and Onam, there’s something for everyone. We highly recommend that you try and visit at least a few of these festivals to get a true taste of India’s culture and life.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are the responses to the inquiries about the must-see cultural festivals in India.


Is there an ideal time to visit India for festivals?

Almost all year round, there is some kind of festival happening in India. While some of them are fixed, some others move their dates periodically, so there is no ideal time. We suggest you research the festivals of India first and plan your visit accordingly.

Can solo travelers join in the festivities?

Absolutely! Different festivals in India attract solo as well as group travelers. Festivals are a great way to connect with like-minded people and make some wonderful memories to cherish.


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