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Indian Festivals and Holidays 

There are very few countries in the world that take holidays as serious as India does. No matter the time of the year, you will always find some celebration or traditional holiday taking place. India is a great place to have a vacation. It has been ranked among the top 15 countries that get the most tourists in a year. Planning to visit the country and want to align your stay with India's most exciting celebrations? This article discusses some of the country's top holidays that are worth your time. These holidays are the biggest by far and attract huge crowds when the conditions are favorable. You surely will have an amazing time!

Holi

This is one of the most popular indian holidays abroad. Also referred to as "the festival of colors", Holi is an annual celebration that takes place late February or early March. Some people consider it as the defacto start of springtime. Some of the activities that take place during Holi include lighting bonfires on the night before it, commonly called Holika. The activity involves throwing liquid or powdered colors at your friends, making a lot of people multihued after many hours of playing. The event literally makes you colorful! To make it more exciting, some people mix colors and water then use water guns to throw it at friends. Others consume an intoxicating mix of cannabis and other plants sweetened with milk to form what is called "thandai". One of the best places to celebrate Holi in India is the Twin towns of Vrindavan and Mathura. They are located near Taj Mahal, a popular city in India. Lord Krishna, one of the prominent Hindu Lords, was born and raised in this region; making people here value Holi more than anywhere else in India.

Diwali

It is also referred to as Deepavali. Diwali is an annual festival of lights that is held between mid- October to mid-November. It is among the most important holidays in India. During this period, people working in other parts of the country often go back to their hometowns to spend time with their families. The significance and meaning of Diwali varies across communities, but it is commonly associated with success of goodness over evil and light over darkness. Some of the common traditions performed during this holiday include "pujas", an event that involves giving gifts (sweets and nuts are the most common) to family, friends and neighbors. The common activity is setting off tons of fireworks, creating exciting scenery.

Diwali is surely an amazing holiday that you will enjoy no matter where you go. One of the most ideal locations to celebrate this event in India is Jaipur, Rajasthan's capital city. It is a beautiful city particularly when lit up with thousands of colorful lights during Diwali.

Durga Puja

For the people of West Bengal in India, this is the most important festival of the year. Durga Puja is an exciting five-day holiday that honors Durga, an Indian goddess. It also honors her reign and her triumph over evil. Some of the most common activities done during Durga Puja include dressing up in new finery and beating the "dhak", a huge drum the size of a wine barrel. The drum is struck with wooden drumsticks. The most outstanding and popular tradition done during Durga Puja is the creation of "pandals". They are giant temporary structures that house idols of the goddess. Attendees of the event build these structures in groups, with members contributing both financially and physically to produce elaborate pandals. They use unique designs and approach to build the best pandals. Once the festival is complete, pandals are carefully and ritually submerged into water, returning the goddess back to earth and reuniting her with Shiva, her consort.

Even thou Durga Puja is mostly celebrated by the Bengali communities around the globe, Kolkata is indisputably the best location to celebrate the event. Being the capital of West Bengal, the city virtually comes to a stop during this time. Many from across the world flock the city to experience this unique event. You shouldn't miss out either!

Maha Shivaratri

This is another annual festival dedicated to Lord Shiva. It involves staying up all night worshipping the god and chanting sacred mantras. As much as it's not quite festive as other holidays held in India, Maha Shivaratri is considered one of the holiest nights in India. If you are interested in knowing more about the Indian traditional worship, then this is the event you should attend.

Wondering where to celebrate Maha Shivaratri? Varanassi is the place to be. Considered one of the most holy and sacred cities in the world for Hindus, Varanassi is a perfect place to experience the Maha Shivaratri traditions. The city has plenty of Shiva temples, with this ceremony held on the banks of River Ganges.

Ganesh Chaturthi

This is an annual event held in early autumn and late summer. This holiday honors the elephant deity of Ganesha. The event involves worshipping of idols which are later retuned via ritual submersion in water. There are different sizes of idols, ranging from small statues to enormous ones. The bigger statues are purposely made to be worshipped by the entire community. The Ganesh Chaturthi holiday is linked with Mumbai, where a good number of mandals are created, worshipped and submerged. So if there is any place in India you can get the best experience of Ganesh Chaturthi, it is Mumbai.

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