From yoga festival to elephant parades, dance festivals to celebrating the festival of colours, events in March are as varied as India. Travel.india.com presents a list of events worth attending in March.
What: International Yoga Festival
When: March 1-7, 2013
Why: Organized by Parmarth Niketan Ashram, the annual festival is a good opportunity to learn yoga from traditional masters. During the one-week festival, you can learn multiple styles of Yoga including Kundalini Yoga, Power Vinyasa Yoga, Iyengar Yoga and Kriya Yoga.
Yoga, the ancient science of holistic health, has become very popular especially in the west. The International Yoga Festival explores the eight limbs of Yoga and how they apply to our lives whether we consider ourselves Yoga students or not.
What: Paripally Gajamela
Where: Paripally in Kerala
When: March 3, 2013
Why: Nothing can match the spectacle of over 50 caparisoned elephants on a parade accompanied by music.
A veritable feast for the eyes, the gajamela or festival of elephants is held on the last day of the 10-day festival at the Kodimoottil Bhagavathy Temple at Paripally near Kollam. Kodimoottil Sree Bhagavathy Temple is dedicated to Goddess Bhadrakali.
Cultural programmes are also held as part of the 10-day festival. Gajamela is held on the last day of the festival.
What: Natyanjali Dance Festival
When: March 10th, 2013,
Why: A tribute by dancers to the Lord of dancers. The Natyanjali festival held at Chidambaram temple is an opportunity for all dancers to perform and to pay their tribute to Lord Nataraja.
Lord Nataraja, the cosmic dancer, is believed to be the lord of all dancers. No wonder then that the festival is held within the temple complex
The festival is designed to promote the message of ‘unity in diversity’ conveyed through the universal language of music and dance.
What: India Design Forum
Where: NCPA, Mumbai
When: March 15 and 16
Why: It is India’s most influential design-related event. As always, it has an interesting line up of speakers. Speakers at IDF 2013 include architects, product designers, acclaimed interior designers and experts such as William Russel, Christian Louboutin and Anouska Hempel. Listen to experts in design and aesthetics discuss the relevance and importance of design.
What: Elephant Festival
When: March 26, 2013
Why: Held on the day of Holi, the parade of the pachyderms is a sight to behold in the Pink City. In addition to the parade, the pachyderms also compete for the best decorated animal title. Elephants are adorned by the mahouts with brightly coloured scarves, embroidered head-plates, velvet parasols, ear danglers, gold embroidered rugs and large anklets.
The procession starts from Ravindra Manch and ends at the Royal Chaugan stadium. Another must watch event is the tug-of-war between 19 men and an elephant.
Where: Across India
When: March 27
Why: The most boisterous of Hindu festivals, Holi celebrates the advent of spring and the end of the winter season. Predominantly celebrated in the north of the country, it is known as the Festival of Colours.
Be a part of the revelry by throwing gulal (coloured powder), splashing water using water pistols and gorging on sweets.
Holi is celebrated with fervour at places associated with Lord Krishna like Mathura, Nandgaon, Vrindavan and Barsana.
What: Hola Mohalla
When: March 28
Why: Touted as the Sikh Olympics, it celebrates the martial prowess of the Sikhs, in which the Nihangs (translated to: army of god) take the lead. Celebrated a day after Holi, it was started by the tenth Sikh guru Guru Gobind Singh to develop the martial spirit of Sikhs.
It is celebrated all across Punjab and in every place where you can find a sizeable number of Sikhs.
Mock battles with gatkas, swords, spears and lances are the highpoint of the festival. A military-style procession near Takht Sri Keshgarh Sahib marks the end of the festival.
What: Taste of Mumbai
Why: Touted as the ‘the world’s greatest restaurant festival’, Taste of Mumbai is part of the worldwide Taste food festival. Taste of Mumbai was to be held in February but was postponed by a month.
Taste Festivals have been held in cities like Amsterdam, Cape Town, Dubai, London, Milan and Sydney. The festival will witness the coming together of masters of the culinary art and food-lovers together.
Alain Fabrègues, who specializes in French cuisine and runs The Loose Box in Australia, will be the international guest chef for the event. Celebrated chefs like Ritu Dalmia, Vicky Ratnani, Manu Chandra and Abhijit Saha will present their signature dishes at the fest.
Dates for the Taste of Mumbai are yet to be announced.
What: Konkan Turtle Festival
Where: Velas, Ratnagiri
When: February-March, 2013
Why: If you are looking for an activity holiday and contribute to the conservation of nature, then this is the festival to attend. The fest is aimed at increasing awareness about Olive Ridley Turtles and to give a boost to their conservation.
The festival is organized by Sahyadri Nisarga Mitra (SNM), a leading non-government organization, at the coastal village of Velas in Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra. Velas is a popular nesting site for turtles on the Konkan coast.
What: SAARC Festival of Literature
When: March 10-12, 2013
Why: Acclaimed writers from South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation would brainstorm on mismanagement of ecology, mishandling of problems and the pressing need to conserve environment as articulated in literature of the region at the three-day festival.
Organised by Foundation of SAARC Writers and Literature, the litterateurs will try to find answers to the problems in the written text.
What: Shigmo Festival
Why: It is Goa’s answer to Holi. A boisterous celebration of colour and music, Shigmo is marked by widespread celebrations and parades. Shigmo parades are held in several parts of Goa, the most important being held at Panaji.
Traditional folk, street-dancers take, elaborately built floats form part of Shimgo parades. Shigmo festivities span a fortnight, with different days earmarked for celebrations in different areas.
The second day of celebration is Dhulvad when people play with colours.