Fairs and festivals have been an integral part of the Indian culture. Fairs, popularly called as ‘melas’, have played a major role especially in the rural parts of the country where the majority of the population would go to shop various items. Over the years, some of the fairs have become so popular that it attracts many people from all over the world and the country to witness the celebration and the grand affair. Some of the fairs in India are colorful, vibrant and a tribute to creativity, while many fairs are also held for religious purpose. Many craftsmen, artisans and other villagers come to sell their products in these fairs.
Some of the popular Indian fairs that tourists should not miss are:
Naguar Fair, Rajasthan: This fair is held in the town of Naguar where people come to buy and sell cattle, horses and camels. After the price of all animals is settled, the day closes with dances, songs and merrymaking.
Gangasagar Mela, West Bengal: This fair is held annually and is attended by a large number of pilgrims from all over India. This fair takes place in January at the island of Gangasagar.
Beneshwar Fair, Rajasthan: In this fair, tribal community called the Bhils, immerse the ashes of their near and dear ones at the meeting point of two rivers, Som and Mahi. After that, they bathe in the river to purify themselves and worship at the Shiva temple.
Sonepur Fair, Bihar: This is yet another cattle fairs held in the Sonepur district of Bihar. It is one of the largest cattle fairs in the country. Cows and oxen are painted in bright shades of red, orange, yellow and purple. Their horns are decorated. The sound of the bells put on the animals adds to the glamour of the fair.
Ganguar Fair, Rajasthan: Celebrated all over Rajasthan, especially in Jaipur, Udaipur & Mandawa, idols of Issar and Gangaur which are the manifestations of Shiva and Parvati, are worshipped by women. Women take part in processions through the streets of towns, carrying images of the Lord.
Pushkar Fair, Rajasthan: This fair attracts many tourists from across the world. It is one of the largest cattle fairs on the world. Camels are a special attraction here. One can witness camel race as well. It is also quite beautiful as many lamps are lit in the evening near the lake in Pushkar.
The Goa Carnival, Goa: This exotic carnival is held in the month of December every year and it lasts for a week. This carnival is a time when people in Goa celebrate, feast and dance. There are balls and parade and an atmosphere of fun and frolic. With the parade, the carnival marks the beginning and ends to the solemnity at Lent.
Tarnetar Mela, Gujarat: This unique mela is held annually at Tarnetar which is located in Saurashtra in the state of Gujarat. The fair is a marriage market for the local tribes that are the Kolis. Tarnetar festival is well known for its folk dances which are the traditional Gujarati garba, ras and haro.