September 2017 kicked off the festival season in India, starting with Ganesh Visarjan processions and ending with Vijayadashami or Dussehra, with Navratri and Durga Puja preceding it. Now, October will continue with the festive season, with arguably the biggest pan-Indian festival happening in the month: Diwali. But that’s happening towards the end of the month. Before that, we have plenty of festivals and events in India in October 2017 to check out. Here’s a look at them. ALSO READ: List of long weekends in India in 2017: Escape to these amazing holiday destinations this year

Kullu Dussehra

Dussehra in Kullu, Himachal Pradesh, Photography courtesy: Wikimedia commons/Kundephy

Dussehra in Kullu, Himachal Pradesh, Photography courtesy: Wikimedia commons/Kundephy

For most of India, Dussehra is a one-day affair on the tenth and final day of Navratri, celebrating the victory of the righteous king Rama over Ravana. But the scenic Kullu Valley of Himachal Pradesh celebrates its own version, starting on September 30 and going on for seven days. The gods of the valley are taken in processions to Dhalpur, where the deity of Raghunathji, or Rama, is brought to be venerated. The fair grounds come alive for seven days of festivities and cultural programs.

When: September 30 to October 6, 2017
Where: Dhalpur Maidan, Kullu, Himachal Pradesh

Ramleela in Varanasi

Ramnagar Fort, Varanasi

Ramnagar Fort, Varanasi

Speaking of Dussehra and the Ramayana, the first few days of October will also be the final chance for you to head to Ramnagar near Varanasi for the oldest performance of Ramleela in the world. Ramleela is the traditional stage performance of the Ramayana, and a major part of Dussehra celebrations. At Ramnagar, located beside the Ganga River, the Ramleela goes on for a month, starting from Anant Chaturdashi and ending on the full moon night of October 6.

When: September 5 to October 6, 2017
Where: Ramnagar, near Varanasi

Eruvathiyetam Onam

Devotees bring huge bullock effigies as a procession to Parabrahma temple during the temple festival in Oachira, Kerala

Devotees bring huge bullock effigies as a procession to Parabrahma temple during the temple festival in Oachira, Kerala

For most of Kerala, the harvest festival of Onam is far behind, celebrated early in September. But the 28th day after Onam marks one of the biggest festivals in Oachira in the district of Kollam, Kerala. The festival, called Eruvathiyetam Onam, which is literally 28th Onam, celebrates the cattle that is so vital to Kerala’s agricultural produce. As part of the festivities, massive idols of bulls are pulled to the ancient Oachira Temple in a procession called Kala Kettu. Around 100 bulls from nearby villages come together, with a competition held for the biggest one of them. CHECK OUT:

When: October 1, 2017
Where: Oachira Parabrahma temple, Kerala

Muharram

Lake Pichola

Lake Pichola

Muharram is a solemn occasion to mark the martyrdom of Prophet Muhammad’s grandson and the third Imam of Shia Islam, Hazrat Imam Hussain ibn Ali. The ten-day event ends with the Ashura, an evening procession of replicas of the Imam’s coffin, called Taziyas. The best place to witness the procession is arguably in Udaipur, Rajasthan, where the procession ends at scenic Lake Pichola and the Taziyas are immersed.

When: October 1, 2017
Where: Lake Pichola, Udaipur, Rajasthan

Marwar Festival

A group of performers were performing in traditional during the Marwar Festival in Jodhpur, Rajasthan

A group of performers were performing in traditional during the Marwar Festival in Jodhpur, Rajasthan

While we’re in Rajasthan, let’s head to the Marwar region in the southwestern part of the state, where the two-day Marwar Festival will celebrate its unique culture. Held during the two full moon days of the month and originally called the Maand Festival, the Marwar Festival in Jodhpur city was created to honor the legendary heroes of the region. You can catch folk dance and music performances, polo and horse riding games, and much more. ALSO READ: Hindu Calendar 2017: Month-wise list of auspicious Hindu days of 2017

When: October 4-5, 2017
Where: Mehrangarh and Mandore Forts and Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur, Rajasthan

Rajasthan International Folk Festival

Mehrangarh Fort, India

Mehrangarh Fort

Rajasthan is the place to be this October, and if you want to experience the culture and folk music of the state, head to the Rajasthan International Folk Festival that follows just after the Marwar Festival. Local and international artists come together to make beautiful music, and the festival offers plenty of opportunities to learn more about the culture of Rajasthan.

When: October 5-9, 2017
Where: Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur, Rajasthan

Diwali

Diwali fireworks in Delhi

Diwali fireworks in Delhi

And we finally come to the main attraction of October 2017: the festival of lights, Diwali. While Dussehra marks the vanquishing of Ravana by the legendary king Rama, Diwali marks his return to the kingdom of Ayodhya, his home, after a 14-year exile. The great homecoming festival for Rama is marked by candles and diyas and fireworks all across India. Head to any place in the country, and you’ll find lights and festivities welcoming you. CHECK OUT: 8 festivals that keep India’s spirit alive!

When: October 19, 2017
Where: Anywhere in India

Samsara Festival and Bir International Yoga Festival

Bir Billing

Bir Billing

The final days of October 2017 will mark the Samsara Festival, a global event that celebrates traditional Indian, Chinese and Tibetan medical practices and combines it with a music festival. The Himalaya Edition will happen in the Bir village of Himachal Pradesh, combining with the Bir International Yoga Festival. Head here to experience Tai Chi, Yoga, Ayurveda and Tibetan acupuncture therapies and other alternative forms of healing.

When: October 22-31, 2017
Where: Bir, Himachal Pradesh

Kabir Yatra

Desert Festival, Rajasthan

A scene from the Desert Festival, Rajasthan

We are back in Rajasthan, this time for the traveling Kabir Yatra music festival. Listen to the music of artists from all over India traversing all kinds of musical genres, and see the work of photographers, painters and sculptors that reflect the culture of Rajasthan. The Kabir Yatra is relatively young, only in its third iteration this year.

When: October 25-29, 2017
Where: Jodhpur and Barmer, Rajasthan

Chhat Puja

Bihar and Uttar Pradesh Hindus observe Chhat Puja at banks of river Ganges and other water bodies in Calcutta

Bihar and Uttar Pradesh Hindus observe Chhat Puja at banks of river Ganges and other water bodies in Calcutta

The festival of the sun, Chhat Puja is a massive celebration in Jharkhand and Bihar, where people offer their prayers to the rising and setting sun. Folk songs and special food and sweets are part of the festivities too. Chhat Puja brings communities and families together, and you can catch the ceremonies in other parts of India too.

When: October 26, 2017
Where: Bihar, Odisha, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Assam

Pushkar Fair

Pushkar Fair

Pushkar Fair

Also called the Pushkar Camel Fair, this massive occasion is essentially a camel trading event. Thousands of camels come to the town of Pushkar by the Aravali hills, all shaved and readied to be raced and paraded. Contests and competitions take place to find the best camels in the group; a rare occasion indeed. The Pushkar Balloon Festival or International Hot Air Ballooning Festival also takes place at the fair. NOW READ: List of holidays in 2017 to plan your vacations right away!

When: October 28-November 4, 2017
Where: Pushkar, Rajasthan