For Indians, August marks a rather important month. Indian Independence Day falls in the middle of the month, and this is also the time when you will find giant sculptures of the Indian elephant-headed god Ganesha in many parts of the country. Weather-wise, the Indian monsoon would continue to bless the lands with rains. And for Hindus, August makes up the majority of Shravan, an auspicious month in the Hindu calendar during which several major and minor festivals happen. In short, there’s a lot happening in the month. To make things easier for you, here is a look at the festivals and events in India in August 2017. ALSO READ: List of long weekends in India in 2017: Escape to these amazing holiday destinations this year Also Read - Coronavirus in Maharashtra: Total Positive Count Crosses 1,000-mark, 150 New Cases in Last 24 Hours
The festival of brothers and sisters, Raksha Bandhan, will happen early in the month. It is a more private festival, with families coming together and women tying the ceremonial rakhis (decorated threads) on the wrists of their brothers, neighbors, friends and family members. The festival is often referred to as Rakhi itself, and it dates back centuries. There are tales of gods, kings and freedom fighters tied to this fascinating festival, and you can see it being celebrated across India and Nepal. Also Read - Maharashtra: Police Personnel Deployed at 'Matoshree' to be Tested For COVID-19 After Tea Vendor in Area Tested Positive For Coronavirus
When: August 7, 2017 Also Read - With Highest Toll of COVID-19 Cases, Maharashtra Becomes First State to Hint Lockdown Extension
Where: All over India
Nehru Trophy Snake Boat Race
From the more private and nationwide celebration of Raksha Bandhan, we move on to the Nehru Trophy Snake Boat Race, one of the most prestigious boat races that takes Kerala by storm every year. Scheduled to happen on the second Saturday of August, the Nehru Trophy competition sees around 70 snake boats and their teams in a neck-to-neck battle for the top prize. The 2017 edition is a little more special too, because it is the 65th year of snake boat race. If you ever wanted to see Kerala’s legendary snake boats, this is the best chance to experience it.
When: August 12, 2017
Where: Punnamda Lake, Alleppey
Dahi Handi during Krishna Janmashtami
August will see two of the biggest festivals happening in Mumbai. The first one to take place will be Krishna Janmashtami, which is basically the birthday of the Hindu god Krishna. He is one of the most revered gods in the Hindu pantheon, so naturally you’ll find celebrations happening everywhere in India. Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra and some more states will celebrate the birthday of the ‘naughty’ god with the Dahi Handi, a festive sport in which teams of people make a human pyramid to break a clay pot of curd tied high up from buildings.
When: August 14-15, 2017
Where: All across India, especially Mumbai for its local Dahi Handi competitions and Mathura, Uttar Pradesh, said to be the birthplace of Krishna.
Red Fort, where Indian Independence Day celebrations are held
We talked about Independence Day at the start; it happens on 15 August, and this year marks the 70th year of independence from the British Raj. As such, expect bigger than usual celebrations this time. Usually, you will find cultural programs and flag hoisting ceremonies happening everyone across India. Special film screenings and exhibitions at various museums and national monuments will happen, especially in Delhi, where some of the iconic monuments are. If you are visiting India, this is a good time to attend the cultural events around you and, if in Delhi, visit the Red Fort and other national monuments. ALSO READ: 6 places to enjoy the true sense of freedom on Independence Day!
When: August 15, 2017
Where: All over India, with major festivities happening in Delhi
The famous Gogamedi Fair happens every year in Rajasthan, venerating the folk deity Gogaji, who is seen as a warrior saint and a snake god in Rajasthan, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. The celebrations during the Gogamedi Fair are smaller than other pan-India festivals, but they are charming nonetheless. Beginning on the day of Goga Navami, the festival is a three-day affair that involves some of the best handicraft from Rajasthan, folk dance and music dedicated to the god, and local delicacies.
When: August 16-18, 2017
Where: Ganganagar, Rajasthan
We move onto another snake festival, this time in West Bengal. The Jhapan Mela is basically an all-out fair for the traditional snake charmers that we are all familiar with. The Jhampania snake charmers come to the fair to showcase their pet snakes, including the King Cobra, and the wonderful feats that they can do. Traditionally, the fair was organized to venerate the goddess Manasa, a serpent god and offspring of Hindu god Shiva. The festival typically happens on the final day of Shravan in the Bengali calendar.
When: August 17, 2017
Where: Bishnupur, West Bengal
We come back to Maharashtra, specifically the Khandoba temple in the town of Jejuri. Bhandara translates to turmeric and, as you would expect, it involves lots of turmeric. For some background, Khandoba or Malhari is a local deity said to be manifestation of Shiva. The Bhandara Festival venerates the god, whose deity is taken out of the temple for a bath in the nearby water body. But it is most famous for the turmeric that is thrown everywhere around the temple as the people sing and dance in praise of their god during the procession. On this day, the roads and leading to the temple and much of the temple itself turn yellow, as do to the people themselves.
When: August 21, 2017
Where: Khandoba temple in Jejuri, Maharashtra
Madras Day is basically the birthday of the city of Chennai, Tamil Nadu, and it comes with all the celebrations expected from such an occasion. There are special exhibitions and food festivals at certain parts of the city, along with bike tours and walks along some of the most iconic parts of the city. On this day in the year 1639, it is said that the Madraspatnam or Chennapatnam village was purchased by the East India Company from the Vijayanagar Empire. Despite being nearly 400 years old, the idea of Madras Day only came forth in 2004. Still, it has seen widespread celebration ever since it began, prompting demand for a Madras Week for longer celebration.
When: August 22, 2017
Where: Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Athachamayam marks the start of the ten-day Onam festival in Kerala, and what better way to do that than with a carnival. The festival includes a street parade where you can see floats, musicians and elephants in full regalia, with the best of Kerala’s traditional art forms on display. The day traditionally celebrates the victory of the king of Kochi. In the past, the king himself would take the tour to the Thripunithura Fort, allowing his subjects to see their beloved king. Today, the procession happens without the king, but with just as much fanfare.
When: August 25, 2017
Where: Tripunithura, Kochi
One of the biggest festivals in India, Ganesh Chaturthi celebrates the birth of the god Ganesha. The 11-day festival marks the time of the year when the god comes down to earth from the heavens, stays with his devotees for 10 days and then heads back into the ocean. As such, you will find statues of the god in all sizes being paraded through the streets as they make their way to households and temporary podiums in neighborhoods. NOW READ: 7 offbeat places in India you must visit in August with your friends
When: August 25-September 5, 2017
Where: Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Goa and Tamil Nadu