When love is in the air and your beloved is by your side you feel like hiding yourself in a cosmic zone where no one disturbs your privacy. But, life is not a fairy tale and finally most of us end up spending our romantic dates in a mere charmless manner. But, there are lively souls who try exploring fresh elements and they meet their loved ones in an earthly paradise. Am I sounding philosophical? Nah! Perhaps I am going romantic due to this charming weather of pre-Feb month. Free of scorching heat and chilling winter, February in India turns to be the best month to travel with your beloved or even alone. To help you out during your India trip in February, I have prepared a list of activities to relish in India. Here are the details:
I am sure the love birds can’t wait any longer to spend their intimate moments in some exotic destinations this Valentine’s Day. And in this league without even giving a second thought, book your hotels and flight tickets for Pondicherry and have an unrivalled experience. Unlike the crowded tourist spots of the country, Pondicherry keeps itself distinctive with the old French colonial houses, quaint environment, and French-sub continental aesthetic touch in its buildings. Sit by the seashore with your beloved and spend your evening walking through the lifestyle shops or visiting Auroville. Try to mingle with the local people, some of whom still speak French or English with British accent.
The Casanova of India, Goa hardly has any other rival in terms of coastal beauty and rejoicing fun and festivities. This Casanova state really knows how to party hard! Right from celebrating Christmas to the Sunburn Music Festival and New Year Bash the festive season floats in the air of Goa till the grand celebration of Goa Carnival. Unlike other festivities, Goa Carnival is observed following the Christian tradition of Mardi Gras which involves hedonistic feasts and dancing & drinking bouts. During this 4 day extravaganza, Goans across the state organise huge parades accompanied by live bands and dances. The streets of Goa are decorated with colourful lights and balls and several artist groups perform dance wearing wigs and masks.
When to Visit: This year Goa Carnival will start from 14th February and will continue till 17th February.
Even in this age of Kindle and online PDFs when all the knowledge stores are concentrated in your palms, I am sure there are a lot of readers for whom book fairs are another name for celebration. And if you are among those avid readers, who do not mind travelling far to get uncountable varieties of books then attend Kolkata Book Fair, the hub of cultural meets. Almost every popular publication of India and several international book sellers will be here on this festival where you can have your pick. Unlike other book fairs of India, this fair is not centred on the sole benefits of whole-sale distributors, so you will love the environment of the ground. The festival presents a real experience of fair ground with the flavour of books along with the enjoyment of listening to the famous lyricists, singers and Indian poets. Every year the theme of the festival keeps changing where different countries are chosen as the theme. This year the theme of the festival is Great Britain.
Location: Milan Mela Ground, EM Bypass, Dhapa, Kolkata – 700105
When to Visit: This year the festival is starting from 27th January and will continue till 7th February.
How about attending a festival which is not merely centred on religion, rather fun and festivity of a cultural extravaganza? If you are looking for the same, this February try attending the Desert Festival of Jaisalmer. Organised on the colourful land of Sam Sand Dunes, this festival includes several fun-filled activities like camel races, turban tying competitions, puppet shows and moustache exhibition. The festival continues for three days where local artists perform dances or organise folk song events. You can also buy exclusive handicrafts made by the local artisans. The authentic Rajasthani feel is the best thing which every traveller would like to experience in this fair for the presence of well-decorated camel rides, Gair and Fire dancers, unbound sand dunes and the picture –perfect settings of Jaisalmer Fort.
Location: Near Jaisalmer Fort, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan
When to Visit: Jaisalmer Desert Festival, 2016 is starting from 20th February and will end on 22th February.
The lovers of classic art and festivity across the globe would love attending this exclusive dance festival organised in the premises of Khajuraho Temple. This week long fiesta presents unparalleled events of Indian dance forms which are nourished under the patronage of several kings. The graceful gestures of the artists and their way of depicting several mythological instances through various dance forms amaze the audience. This year during Khajuraho Dance Festival you can witness the live performances of some of the best dance maestros like Geeta Chandran (Bharatnatyam), Aruna Mohanty (Odissi), Sujata Nair Sanjay (Mohini Attam) and many other eminent dancers of India.
Location: Temple Premise of Khajuraho.
When to Visit: Khajuraho Dance Festival 2016 will start from 20th February and continue till 26th Feb.
Well! I am sure my ultra-modern friends who are not much into classic things haven’t got their pick yet. Don’t worry! In February you are destined to visit Odisha for its soulful India Surf Festival. Perhaps, the only one of its kinds in the country, this festival exhibits a couple of quirky and camera-friendly activities like Yoga on water and yoga on the beach, live music show, Projection Mapping, Interactive Installations along with live painting events. Unlike other festivals where classic India plays the main role, Surf Festival introduces you with the innovative works of the fun-loving youths. The highlight of the event is the India Sup Cup which involves the biggest Paddle Championship of India.
Location: Ramchandi Beach, Orissa (around 7 km from Konark Sun Temple)
When to Visit: This 3 days long extravaganza will start from 7th February and end on 9th February.
This fascinating festival, Jashn-E-Rekhta celebrates the poise and elegance of Urdu Language. With performances like ghazal, it creates a spellbinding ambience for those who keep a warm interest in this soulful language. During this event, apart from ghazals, live discussion sessions and poetry performances can also be witnessed. Some of the well-known artists of the country hum some soulful, melancholic yet romantic verses. Perhaps, this one in a million live stage show is an ideal to cherish an evening romancing the surrounding and just the life as we know it moment.
Location: New Delhi
Losar is a popular festival denoting New Year for Tibetan Buddhist and it is celebrated in places like Ladakh and Dhasa (Himachal Pradesh) and states like Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. It is during this annual fiesta, the locals dress themselves for the well-known mask dance, it looks fascinating yet rare. Its colourful ambience surrounded by pleasing people and unique music welcome the visitors coming from every nook and corner of India and the world. During the festival, the locals decorate their houses with images of Ibex on their kitchen walls and doors as it is considered auspicious. A gift ‘khatak scarf’ is presented to the elders of the family and prayers are offered to God. The main highlights of this enthralling event are its dance of the Ibex deer, staged dance dramas and the battles between the king and his ministers. As well as, gastronomic Tibetan Buddhist cuisine are laid everywhere. In Arunachal Pradesh, along with Losar, you can keep an eye on other amazing festivals in February such as Nyokum, Boori Boot, Loku and Sangken.
Location: Ladakh, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh
Agra celebrates Taj Mahotsav, an annual fiesta with great spirit in the Shilpgram complex, near the eastern gate of the Taj Mahal. This ten days long festival displays wonders of Indian culture and traditions organized by the Uttar Pradesh Tourism. An iconic event in Agra, Taj Mahotsav truly speaks of tradition, the ambience it creates makes it appear like a small carnival equipped with mini stalls for shopping like handicrafts, woodwork, antiques, ivory work and other unique items. During this festival in February, the Indian classical dances, songs, arts and crafts are displayed along with the creme de la creme of Indian music, where artists gather to vivify the ambiance.
Run through the bare land of Rajasthan in this auspicious Nagaur fair. Full of colour and vigour, it is a perfect event to witness the trading of camels, bullocks and horses. This livestock trading fiesta is the second largest cattlefair in India, first being the Sonepur Mela in the state of Bihar. As you enter the grounds of the event, you will fall in the lap of enthralling ambience; with traditional Rajasthani music and dance performance being displayed, you will also be able to witness performances by local artists, get a real feel of excitement seeing the camel races and also partake in various games, one being the famous tug of war.
The major highlight that makes Diu Island even more attractive place to visit is for its longest beach festival, Festa De Diu. As crazy it may sound, this frolic event keeps kicking up one’s heels for 75 days, from December to February. It also celebrates all events that comes on the way like Christmas and New Year. Festa De Diu is organized by the Diu tourism department, it also showcases music concerts and dance performances. And if the aerial view of the Island is what you want to experience, then you can head to the adventure zone and hop in a hot air balloon. For a change of mood, other activities are also available throughout the festival such as zip-lining, bungee-jumping, heritage walks, yoga and jam sessions.
Location: Diu Island
Celebrated by the Angami Tribe, Sekrenyi Festival is a 10-day festivalof acquiring sanctity. Thus, the name denotes the same, Sekre means sanctification while Nyi means festival. Sekrenyi Festival follows a series of rituals that involve cleansing the house and the well outside. It literally has a strong purpose, obtaining strength during war and seeking good fortune during hunting. During the event, the locals wear traditional attire and gather in a common field to celebrate performing traditional songs, dances as well as feasting on delectable Naga Cuisine. Being celebrated annually at Touphema Village organized by the government of Nagaland, Sekrenyi Festival must be visited by all those who enjoy experiencing diversity.
Rann Utsav celebrates the rich cultural heritage of Gujarat. It highlights the beautiful arts and crafts as well as the folk songs and dances. With an attractive display of embroidery, block printing, terracotta and wood carving; you can find a number of bestsouvenir to buy as the artisans are widely known for their silver craft work and seashell toys. The event also offers mouth-watering cuisine of Gujarat. During this event, recreational activities to entertain the visitors like bird-watching, camel safaris, horse rides and hot air balloon rides are also hosted. Surrounded by a vast white desert, it offers an eye-popping sight of the barren stretch, especially during the sunset and sunrise. And the fact that it lies near the border of Indo-Pak makes it even more interesting.
Witness the exciting event of rhythm and joy at the Surajkund International Crafts Mela. This cultural affair showcases the regional and international crafts and traditions. Performances at both the chaupal (community building) and the open-air theatres also take place during this fair in February. Multi-cuisine food corners are also set up for the visitors tooffer them lip-smacking meals from across the globe. There is also a corner for kids to be entertained with adventure sports and joy rides while the elders dive into the smell, taste and feel of the crafts mela.
Rajasthan is popularly known for being called a colourful festive destination and with that, an addition to celebrate in the region of Shekhawati is Shekhawati Festival in the month of February. This beautiful festival highlights the rich heritage with display of traditional dance and folk music. While places like Jhunjhunu, Churu and Sikar in the Shekhawati region also host this festival, the most iconic event takes place in Nawalgarh. Here, the event organises laughter shows, cultural programs, painting competitions and handicraft bazaar.
Lui-Ngai-Ni is a harvest festival zestfully celebrated in all the Naga inhabited areas of Manipur. It marks the onset of seed-sowing season and many rituals are performed by the different Naga tribes. During this festival, surplus cultural displays and events are held. The main traditional highlights of the festival are lighting of a sacred fire, log drum beating, folk dances and songs as well as fire making ceremony. Apart from this, a melange of Naga and Manipuri cuisines are made available, it can be said that, Lui-Ngai-Ni apart from being a sowing festival offers a message to bring peaceful existence for the entire region.
In order to seek peace and solitude amidst wildlife, Kaziranga National Parks will baffle you with its untouched beauty and most importantly it’s endangered Rhinoceros. Although the national park can be visited throughout the year except during monsoon (June to September), February seems to enchant the most as it allows visitors to witness Kaziranga Elephant Festival. You can be a part of this festival that is organized by the Forest Department and Tourism Department of Assam to spread awareness about the protection and conservation of Asiatic Elephants. During this event, you can see the elephants all washed, groomed and beautifully decorated from head to toe in splendid colours, floral motifs and glittery jewels. Few fun and unique addition in this festival are the competitions involving elephants like football matches and race.
Location: Kaziranga National Park
Get your bags packed for a holiday in Goa this february because it is filtered with appealing weather and soothing ambience that will calm your senses. It is the perfect month to rejuvenate while the weather is still cool and you get access to the beaches and popular cafes with less interruption from tourists. This month also boosts with a famous goan gala, ‘Goa Carnival’ that displays people wearing wigs and masks parading around the coastal state. Despite being a major crowd pulling extravaganza, this fiesta is vigorously celebrated with lesser crowds as compared to other events making it much more appealing to partake in.
Delhi entices every wanderer with its charming vibrant combination of rustic beauty and modernity. To relish all the flavours of Delhi, February seems to be the best time to visit because the weather remains pleasant and cool. It is a great place to be for family vacations and solo tripping. You can even visit its nearby places such as Agra, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and more. During this month, Maha Shivratri is celebrated with great zest and zeal, although the festival is observed throughout the country, Delhi looks amongst the best with its temples and streets glittering with lights and flowers. The ideal place to visit for this auspicious festival in February is the Chhatarpur temple complex.
Speaking of Uttar Pradesh’s offer for February, Varanasi allures many travellers mainly for being one of the holy destinations in India. Pilgrims come to the ghats, the bank of the River Ganges to wash their sins. And to also come delve in the famous Ganga aarti that intrigues and fascinates every onlooker. Varanasi oozes a slow pace of life that can be seen from the ghats as you simply cruise through the holy river.
It may appear as a tiny dotted part of Indian Territory but once here, its shimmering blue waters, white sandy beaches and illuminating aura of calm and serenity simply baffles you. This Island is one of the few marvels of India that attract many couples for honeymoon especially in the month of February. This pleasant weather month invites all sorts of vacationers who can look forward to an amazing time relishing adventure water sports, the salubrious day and night time, and a luxury holiday.