25 Best Places to Visit in February in India in 2016
The world celebrates February as the Month of Love, thanks to St. Valentine. It’s like romance has been set default for this month with everything around you turning in one or the other shade of red and Righteous Brothers’ Unchained Melody being played in the background all through one’s waking hours. Have I taken you to another level of imagination instead of helping you decide where to go in February 2016 in India? Yes, well apologies. Let me quickly take you through the list of places that are apt to visit in India in this beautiful month, when the weather is pleasant across the country. February is also a month when the festivals and fairs are raining cats and dogs in different parts of India; the country infact is like how Salman Khan would quote it ‘Too Much Fun’. Therefore, if you have travel plans in February, let me assure you, you are going to attain a lifetime experience as there are way too many events and festivals in February 2016 that you could have expected. And in order to get the maximum of this eventful month, all you need to do is to choose from the list that we provide you. So, before the introduction becomes sloppy, let us go straight to our list.
February is a great month to take a trip to Kutch region of Gujarat. The name of Kutch conjures an image of wide white salt desert, the traditionally dressed village women, big turban folk singers and camels. Yes, indeed this is the visual treat that one can enjoy in the region; however there is lot more that Kutch has to offer. Only tourists who visit Kutch region will be able to cherish the lesser known gems like Dholavira, an ancient site; Mandvi, an ancient ship-building town; Bhuj, an earthquake-hit city which is developing rapidly and the Little Kutch that boasts one of its kind Indian Wild Ass Sanctuary. The flavoursome food that is devoid of the overt sweetness of Gujarati food is the highlight of the Kutch trip. Take my advice and give rural tour a chance; the tour will make your Pineal Gland work twice and will help you understand India better. Also, ensure to include Narayan Sarovar and Koteshwar to your Kutch itinerary for adding an extra flavour to your trip.
Since February is the last month for the famed Rann Utsav, it is a great time to catch the Kutch region come to life. You shall be able to enjoy dance and music performances along with the sight of migratory birds that include flamingos.
Date for Rann Utsav: Dec 24, 2015– Feb 29, 2016
Here’s one thing that you should do in February…you should visit Ludhiana in Punjab. Enough of spending money on international fests, this February get a slice of some DESI fun. For those who do not understand the term Desi, it is a way of calling oneself ‘Traditional’ in a pejorative manner. Now coming back to the topic as to why you should visit Ludhiana in February, well the simplest answer would be to enjoy uniqueness. In the month of February Kila Raipur Rural Olympics take place some 15kms away from Ludhiana, this event has grown up in six decades to become one of the most happening sports events in Punjab. Held for three days, the event witnesses a gathering of 4,000 sports men and women participating in various sports activities. It is believed about 1 million people throng during Rural Olympics, which has interesting events like a dog race, horse dance, camel race, tractor race, and a tug-of-war. The highlights of the event however remain bullock cart race and off-beat activities like lifting bicycles with teeth, pulling cars with teeth or ears, or riding a bicycle ringed with a burning tyre.
Date for Kila Raipur Rural Olympics: Feb 4-7, 2016
If you enjoy events that are one of their kind then this February, you can also plan a trip to Mumbai. Not only you be able to enjoy one of the biggest events on Mumbai’s social calendar, Indian Derby, but also the pleasant climate that prevails during this time of the year. Believed to be attended by 25000 each year, Indian Derby is high society sports event and it is truly a must-see in Mumbai. In addition to horse racing, there’s international aerial ballet, professional salsa dancing, and live bands that can be enjoyed here. Do not settle for only this but also ensure to enjoy Mumbai Darshan, the beach life and the delicious street food of the city. And since you’ve arrived here, do not miss the opportunity to take a tour of the Film City (You never know which Bollywood Star you might just bump into.Hush!).
Date for Indian Derby Weekend: Feb 6-7, 2016
Where: Mahalakshmi Race Course
Kolkata, West Bengal
Kolkata can be another incredible place to visit in India. This culturally rich capital city is an apt reflection of Indians who are still attached to their traditional roots. Being a metropolitan city, the modern day Kolkata is paradoxical as one can see many cultures developing gradually with the mainstream Bengali culture. As far as February is concerned, the international Sufi Music Festival gives you all the right reasons to visit Kolkata. Apart from enjoying this event that is able to transcend you to another world, there are a lot of things that you will be able to do in Kolkata due to pleasant weather in February. Coming back to the Sufi Music Festival, 2016 will be the sixth year for this event in Kolkata and like each year Sufi musicians from Brazil, Burkina Faso, Hungary, Portugal, Scotland and Turkey will be ready to perform. There shall also be music workshops in the daytime and free concerts in the evenings. Exhibitions are likely to be part of the festival.
Date for International Sufi Music Festival: Feb 5-7, 2016
Where: Rabindra Sadan-Nandan campus
Wow! Now this one is one my bucketlist as well. The vineyard city, Nasik is the ideal place to visit in February for those looking for a non-conventional holiday in India. Let me give you a brief of what your vacation in Nasik will include: You will be camping in proximity to large grape vineyard and shall be the part of an eclectic mix of activities like music, food and wine. Sounds fun enough? Well wait till you here this, this is one of the exclusive GourmetWorld Music Festivals in India, and so it is definitely a place NOT to miss this February.
Date for Sula Fest: Feb 6-7, 2016
Where: Sula Vineyard amphitheater, Nashik
Will I be sounding rude or clichéd if I say that you do not need a reason or season to visit Goa? Even if I do, I cannot help it! Goa is the place where every season has its own charm. The vivacious state has nights and days devoted to fun and frolic activities. Be it the beach parties or the traditional carnivals, you will see Goa always in a pleasant and whimsical mood. And the vivaciousness is contagious here. One of the good reasons out of many to visit Goa in February would be the celebration of Goa Carnival. What the Portuguese started in 18th century is now an integral part of the culture of Goa. During the carnival people can be seen dancing on the streets; parades, floats, music and masked dancing groups are sighted across the state. A formal ball dance called the Red and Black Dance can also be enjoyed during the carnival along with food and culture festival that is held in Panaji.
Date for Goa Carnival: Feb 6-9, 2016
Where: The carnival moves from city to city (Panaji, Margao, Vasco and Mapusa) in Goa. The parade starts out from Panaji.
You must not miss out on taking the opportunity of visiting Rajasthan in the winter season. Apparently, Rajasthan is reckoned to be the hottest state in India and therefore visiting it in summer season is a tough row to hoe. That is why it is ideal to visit Rajasthan in winter season. The month of February adds to the already existing reasons for those planning a trip to Rajasthan. It is that of the year when the famed Jaisalmer Desert Festival takes place in this magnificent city. The Desert Festival is the lovely opportunity to experience the cultural richness of this sandstone city. A parade of camels, camel races and polo matches, turban tying competitions, finest facial hair competition and acrobats, puppeteers, and jugglers are the highlights of the event that will leave you quite amused.
Date for Jaisalmer Desert Festival: Feb 20-22, 2016
The month of February gives a brilliant opportunity to walk back in time in the Shekhawati region of Rajasthan. Mid-February enjoys the celebration of Shekhawati Festival. The fest includes of assorted cultural programs and activities like Mehendi and Rangoli competitions, Matka Race, Tug-of-War and Folk dance and music performances. It is also the perfect opportunity to sight the traditionally built havelis that Shekhawati region is famous for. You shall also have the opportunity to savour the delectable Rajasthani cuisine and cherish the massive shopping experience.
Date for Shekhawati Festival: Feb 4-7, 2016
Where: Surya Mandal Stadium, Nawalgarh
Some 150kms away from the charming Blue City, Nagaur is the destination to learn about the rural life of Rajasthan. And what better time of the year to do so than the month of February, when the second largest cattle fair in India takes place here. Identical to the Sonepur Cattle Fair, only a lot more happening, Nagaur Cattle Fair is the event you must-see in Rajasthan in February. Here you are likely to witness the trading of 70000 camels, horses and bullocks and number of traditional and cultural activities. Folk dances, tug of war competitions, and camel races are the highlights of the festival along with the decorated animals, a huge red chili market, and traditional handicrafts.
Date for Nagaur Cattle Festival: Feb 13-16, 2016
Similar to Goa, Kerala has all its seasons open for tourists and there is not even one reason, none, that can stop you from visiting this travellers’ paradise. One of the finest holiday destinations in Kerala would be Alleppey. Yes, the famed backwater destination where the romance gets its new meaning. However, in February, you can visit Alleppey to alter the experience; along with romancing with the loved one and the nature, devote some time in attending the Chettikulangara Bharani Temple Festival. A visually fascinating event, it includes a lively procession of brightly decorated structures. Celebrated in the honour of Hindu Goddess Bhagavathy, Chettikulangara Bharani Temple Festival is one such event that will certainly add a memorable dimension to your holiday in Kerala.
Officially the last winter month, February is perfect for a trip to the capital. Ideally the best time to bask in the sun, which will soon become a fireball in the succeeding months, February is also the time to attend two significant events in Delhi i.e Udyanotsav and the Surajkund Fair (Faridabad). It is also the right time to visit places like Chandani Chowk and Jama Masid, the two of the most crowded places in Delhi , where one can enjoy ‘Shopping Till Dropping’ and mouth-watering Mughlai and street food. Focusing on our two main events of February in Delhi, the Udyanostav, which is the annual public opening of the Mughal Garden at President’s residence. Tulips are the main attraction, with nearly 10,000 blooms and Roses are also featured prominently, with more than 120 varieties. The garden remains open for about a month and is a great place to visit if different aspects of Delhi has to be enjoyed by the traveller. The Surajkund Fair held at Faridabad is the showcase of the finest handloom and handicrafts of India. About 400 artisans from across the country display their crafts during this 15-days fair held a short distance away from Delhi. There are also cultural programs, and an amusement zone for children and each year has a different theme, last year it went international with the participation of 14 countries from around the world.
Date for Udyanostav: Yet to be Closed
Where: Rashtrapati Bhawan
Date for Surajkund Fair: Feb 1-15, 2016
Where: Surajkund, in the Faridabad district
Agra, Uttar Pradesh
Whether I tell you to visit or not to visit Agra, you will eventually end up visiting this home of Taj and obviously for the love of it. February seems ideal for planning a trip to Agra, where in the second half of the month the famed Taj Mahotsav is organized. The lovely weather is accompanied by one of the finest events; hence a holiday idea in Agra during February can in no way turn out to be unwise. The event focuses on arts, crafts, Indian culture, and recreating the Mughal era. The procession of elephants and camels along with drummers is one of the major attractions of the festivals. Elephant and camel rides are also on offer, even there are games for kids, and a happening food festival to mark the event.
Date for Taj Mahotsav: Feb 18-27, 2016
Where: Shilpgram, Agra
Just when you thought a trip was Alleppey was enough to judge Kerala, the district of Palakkad will catch your eye. February seems to be a month of celebration for the state; after you are done celebrating the Chettikulangara Bharani Temple Festival in Alleppey, it will be time to be part of another celebration in Kerala. In the Palakkad district Pariyanampetta Pooram Festival is held in mid-February. The temple fest features a procession of 21 decorated elephants, shadow puppetry (Tholpavakoothu) and religious and folk arts like Kathakali and Chakiyarkoothu. The major attraction of the festival is the ritual (Kalamezhuthu Pattu) of drawing the image of the presiding deity Bhagavathy with the help of nature colours on the floor. Folk arts like Kaalavela (bull effigy spectacle) and Kuthiravela (horse effigy spectacle) and others like Poothanum Thirayum can be witnessed in the procession on the final day of the festival.
Date for Pariyanampetta Pooram Festival: Feb 20, 2016
Where: Pariyanampetta Bhagavathy Temple, Kattukulam
Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh
Winter is the best time to visit the tourist destinations of Madhya Pradesh. The balmy afternoons are ideal to loiter and linger at the heritage places, wildlife sanctuaries and naturally scenic destinations. If we talk about the specific month of February, then this Month of Love is ideal to take a tour of the famed destination of Madhya Pradesh, Khajuraho. Not only the bearable heat will allow you to spend more time exploring the incredibly sculptured temples but February is the time when the much acclaimed Khajuraho Dance Festival also takes place. Held against the alluring backdrop of Khajuraho Temples, this festival showcases classical dance style from all over India. The dances are performed in the Western group of temples, mainly infront of the the Chitragupta Temple (dedicated to Surya the Sun God) and the Vishwanatha Temple (dedicated to Lord Shiva). A lively event, it is the highlight of the month of February in India.
Date for Khajuraho Dance Festival: Feb 20-26, 2016
Where: Western Group of Temples
We know how the charms of Blue city, Jodhpur can mesmerize the travellers. Now, February adds more to this experience and gives tourists a chance to transcend into a spiritual world by organzing World Sufi Spirit Festival. It’s one of those unprecedented events that you might not be able to find anywhere else; and that is why you should a plan trip to Jodhpur in February. The World Sufi Spirit Festival aims to take one on an amazing spiritual and musical journey through the Sufi traditions prevailing in the East, Asia, Africa, and India. Hundreds of performers attend this festival and make it an experience that can be cherished forever.
Date for World Sufi Spirit Festival: Feb 26-28, 2016
Where: Mehrangarh Fort
Another invitation in the month February from down South comes from Trivandrum, Kerala. Are you interested in witnessing a Guinness Book of World Records type of an event? Well, if the answer is yes, then Trivandrum is the place to be in February because here one can witness the largest women gathering in the world. Deployed to cook a special offering for Goddess Attukalama, this massive gathering of women gets a lot tourist attention. In 1997, the Guinness World Record was created when 1.5 million women attended this festival. You would be happy to be informed that ever since that number is gradually increasing.
Date for Attukal Pongala: Feb 23, 2016
Where: Attukal Bhagavathi Temple
Ok, this one is the special from North Kerala and you must choose to witness this festival in Kerala. Every year in Kasargod district of North Kerala, Kuttikkol Thampuratty Theyyam Festival is celebrated. During this festival the Theyyam form of Kerala, which is a sacred dance ritual is showcased. The artists dress up and, in a trance, channel gods and goddesses through their bodies. It is one of a kind festival in South India and therefore is a must see in during your February trip to Kerala.
Dates for Kuttikkol Thampuratty Theyyam: Feb 24-27, 2016
Where: Kuttikkol Thampuratty Bhagavathy Temple at Kuttikkol
Puri and Konark, Odisha
February is the time to witness the tranquil beaches of Odisha come alive. The reason of such a drastic change is Indian Surf Festival. Organized by Surfing Yogis (a group of like-minded people who combine surfing, yoga, and nature), this is an eco-friendly celebration that provides a common platform for freedom of expression, indulging into adventure, and enjoying music, dance, art, and photography. The main events at the festival are the Surf Expressions Championship and India SUP Cup. It is to be noted that the SUP Cup is India’s biggest Stand Up Paddle (SUP) competition, where racers from different countries test their skills along a challenging river course.
Dates for Indian Surf Festival: Yet to be Announced
Where: Ramachandi Beach, near Puri and Konark,
If you are not a beach person and have more inclination towards culture, Odisha sends you second invite of the month of February to be a witness of its Dhauli-Kalinga Mahotsav. Organized by Odisha Dance Academy (ODA), the event combines martial dance, which is reckoned to celebrate the victory of peace over war, with classical and folk dances of the state. The Mahotsav is held in the hills alongside Daya River, which is believed to be the site where Emperor Ashok fought the last battle of the Kalinga war before surrendering embracing Buddhism.
Dates for Dhauli-Kalinga Mahotsav: Yet to be Announced
Where: Shanti Stupa/Peace Pagoda, Dhauli Hill, on the suburbs of Bhubaneswar
Like Goa and Kerala, there is no season unfit for visiting the city of Bengaluru. Blessed with a lovely weather, the city is the hub of many interesting and upbeat activities. Since, you don’t need to be persuaded much to visit Bengaluru in February or in any season, I am going to straightaway come to the point. Adding another dimension to the city is the event Neralu, which is held in the month of February. Neralu is a festival that aims at bringing people together to appreciate the city’s natural heritage. Activities included in the event are nature walks, interactive storytelling, nature workshops, photography, and art walks. Sounds interesting? Then go book a trip. Just Go!
Date for Neralu: Yet to be Announced
Where: Cubbon Park
Plan a trip to Ratnagiri in the month of February for an out of box experience for it is a place where you can witness the newly hatched, endangered Olive Ridley turtles take their first march into the sea. The locals are responsible for organizing this unique Konkan Velas Turtle Festival, where it will also be an opportunity for you to sample the Indian village life by stopping over at local homestays in the area. This festival is probably one of the finest events that can be witnessed in February.
Dates for Konkan Velas Turtle Festival: February to April, 2016
Where: Velas Village
Yes, they say that the ideal time to spot animals in a wildlife reserve would be summer, when the animals have to frequently trudge to the waterholes to keep themselves well-hydrated. But, winter is also not a bad time after all to visit the reserves as the weather let you have the advantage of sighting animals including tigers basking in the sun. The balmy afternoons of February are perfect to game in wildlife reserves like Ranthambore National Park. Boasting a rich wildlife, this wildlife reserve is a home to some famous tigers like Machli and Ustaad and recently resighted Sultan. Apart from the tigers, Ranthambore is the home of number of mammals, reptiles, amphibians and birds. Therefore, watching them all enjoy the warm sun and strolls in the woods is one of the best ideas for the month of February.
Kaziranga National Park, Assam
There are not only the tigers that enjoy the warm day time in the wilderness. In Kaziranga National Park, the One-Horned Rhinoceros allow their almost impenetrable skins to get some warmth from the sun as well. Amidst the dry yet still upright grasslands, many animals can be spotted enjoying varied activities in this National Park. The local birds enjoy their flights with the migratory ones, the little ones of various inhabiting animals play around their folks who keep keen eye on them while taking in some share of Vitamin D themselves. At Kaziranga in February a lovely and lively picture is expected and that is why this can be the destination of your choice. Click here to read more about Kaziranga Park.
Gulmarg, Jammu & Kashmir
February is ideal for visiting Gulmarg in Kashmir Valley. Infact it is that time of the year when the adrenaline junkies get maximum share of thrill in Gulmarg. It frequently snows in Gulmarg during February and that is why you will see a decent number of adventurers up on the skiing gradients. There are separate arenas for beginners and veterans; the novices have the opportunity to learn skiing from the experts and try their hand (in this case foot) at skiing on relatively easier slopes. Let me tell you, it is once in a lifetime experience to ski in Gulmarg and it is further enhanced by the journey taken up the mountain by Asia’s longest cable car project called Gulmarg Gondola.
Diu, Daman & Diu
If visiting snow-clad places sends chill down your spine and you suddenly feel that you belong to the other side of the world, where Sun, Sand and Beach are your companions then you have to pack your bags to go meet them at Diu in February. But we recommend that you visit before 15th February in order not to miss longest beach festival in India, Festa De Diu. Spanning for about three month, from December to February, the festival is your place to enjoy concerts, carnivals and jam session. The fest includes performances by 20+ musicians, 10+ comedians and 15+ Bands from all over India. Also featured are more than 30 workshops and a few heritage walks. All in all, a great experience that is unlikely to attain anywhere in the country.
I hope you find this list extremely helpful in planning your visit in February. Since Err is Human, there could be events and places I may have missed to include in the list. Please feel free to share your holiday ideas in February with us in the comment box below.
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