Somewhere over the Indian ocean, there are (hopefully) clouds getting heavier with water as they head towards India to drench the country in monsoon rains. June marks the end of the hot and humid summer and the start of the monsoon, when the parched landscape turns a bright hue of green and the flora and fauna come alive. With the arrival of rains, India will have plenty of places to visit. The month will also see several festivals being celebrated across the country. Here is a look at the festivals in June 2017 in India that you absolutely must not miss. ALSO READ: List of long weekends in India in 2017: Escape to these amazing holiday destinations this year Also Read - The New Normal? Salon Workers Covered In PPE Kits While Giving Haircuts, Images Go Viral
Ramadan and Eid ul-Fitr
Let’s begin with the biggest festival of the month: Ramadan. The holiest month of Islam actually began on 26 May, but it will end on 24 June with Eid ul-Fitr. Throughout the month, you will find some of the best street food on offer in India during the evenings. The Iftar feasts on offer are a treat to every meat lover, and it all culminates in a grand celebration of Eid. Ramadan is celebrated throughout the country, but you get the best food and celebrations in places like Lucknow, Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad and Kozhikode in Kerala. Also Read - Grand Theft Auto 5: Full List of All PC Cheat Codes
When: May 26 to June 24/25, 2017 Also Read - Punjab And Haryana News: No Home Delivery of Food After 8 PM, No Thumb Impression of Customers
Where: All over India, especially in major metros and Muslim-majority regions
Sao Joao Feast of St John the Baptist
The feast of St John the Baptist is a very, very interesting festival that shows off everything that is good about Goa, from men jumping into wells, ponds and streams to get bottles of Feni to community dancing and singing performances. The festival celebrates the life of St John the Baptist and the arrival of the monsoons. According to Christian scriptures, St John jumped with joy while still in the womb of his mother when she heard of the birth of Jesus, and he baptized the prophet in the Jordan River years later. The Sao Joao Feast is marked by colorful dresses, carnival-like floats and boats and lots of Feni.
When: June 24, 2017
Where: Siolim and other parts of North Goa
Feast of St Peter and Paul
Candolim beach, Goa
Goa is not to be missed in June, when the Christian festival of the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, or the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, is celebrated by the state’s friendly and welcoming fishing community. On this day, fishermen in North Goa celebrate the arrival of the monsoon and the martyrdom of the saints with local drama shows, music and dances at the banks of the river. This is also the time to witness the Sangodd tradition; you can see rafts carrying idols of the saints float down the river by the St Peter chapel. Along the way, entertainment programs are held on makeshift stages made of rafts and boats tided together and firecrackers are burst.
When: June 29, 2017
Where: Candolim, Agassaim and other parts of Bardez
Ganga Dussehra, also known as Gangavataran, marks the day that the sacred Ganga River descended from heaven and onto earth, according to ancient Hindu mythology. It is said that the goddess Ganga descended unto earth after years of prayers by the sage Bhagirath. Ganga Dussehra is a festival that goes on for ten days, ending with the Shukla Dashami, and it is said that praying to the goddess on these days grants you atonement from ten sins. During the festival, you will find several sages and pilgrims at the various major ghats of Ganga, dipping in the holy river to wash away their sins and singing and praying in praise of the goddess.
When: June 3, 2017
Where: Varanasi, Prayag, Rishikesh, Haridwar, Garh-Mukteshwar and Allahabad
Uttar Pradesh Mango Festival
The Uttar Pradesh Mango festival is the newest entrant in this list. It began only in 2013 as a way to promote the mangoes harvested in the state, to encourage more women to enter agriculture, and to support the small farmers that take part in the state’s mango industry. The festival takes place in Lucknow, where farmers set up stalls to directly sell their mangoes to visitors. For entertainment, special folk dances and music programs are held along with mango eating contests. You can taste on the delicious locally-made cuisine from the villages and you will learn more ways to make mango dishes than ever before.
When: June 24, 25, 26, 2017
Where: Janeshwar Mishra Park and other parts of Lucknow
Rath Yatra procession, Photograph courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
The Jagannath Rath Yatra is also called the Puri Rath Yatra or simply the Rath Yatra, and is a festival celebrated at the famous Puri Jagannath temple in the coastal city of Puri, Odisha. It is also called the Chariot festival for the elaborate chariot procession of the gods that take place from the temple. The key deity, Jagannath is carried out from the temple along with his siblings Subhadra and Balabhadra, to visit his birthplace of Mathura. As the legendary wooden idols of the gods make their way from the Jagannath temple to the Gundicha temple, the streets overflow with devotees and the atmosphere rings with the sound of conch shells and chants. ALSO READ: 9 most mesmerizing beaches of Odisha
When: June 25-July 7, 2017
Where: Jagannath Temple, Puri
Shimla Summer Festival
Shimla Summer festival
The Shimla Summer Festival is a series of dances, shows and events that celebrate the best of the hill station. Shimla is typically full of tourists during this time of the year, but the festival is still worth checking out simply because of the new sights and sounds you get to experience. The summer festival has been around since the swinging sixties, and you can find folk dance performances, flower shows and even an ice skating event. The Himachali Film Festival is also held at this time, and there are also several musical performances. The atmosphere in Shimla during this festival is electric. School children, popular singers, folk dancers and the entire community come together for the festival.
When: Not decided yet
Where: Shimla, Himachal Pradesh
Ambubachi Mela Festival in Kamakhya Temple in Guwahati
The Ambubachi Mela in Assam is a rather unique festival in India that celebrates the annual menstrual period of the goddess Kamakhya. The Kamakhya temple in Assam remains closed for a three-day period to observe this period, during which time certain activities are restricted for the devotees, like praying or farming. On the fourth day, the goddess is bathed and the temple doors are opened to the devotees. The temple distributes spring water as a symbol of the goddess’ menstrual fluids and red cloth that was used to cover the Yoni. The festival even attracts the otherwise reclusive ascetic Tantrics who worship the deity and devotees from across the country and the world. The holy men perform their own rituals during these four days.
When: June 22-26, 2017
Where: Kamakhya temple in Guwahati, Assam
South Face of Mount Kailash, Tibet
The month of Saga Dawa is considered the holiest of all for Tibetan Buddhist and the Mahayana Buddhists of Sikkim. The full moon day of this month marks the birth, enlightenment and death of Buddha, and the monasteries of Tibet and Sikkim commemorate these events with several rituals. Buddhists come to the monasteries and temples to pray and give their thanks to Buddha. Butter lamps are lit at the temples to honor the Buddha, who is said to enlighten the path of travelers who have lost their way. Monks hold processions through the streets, chanting prayers and hymns and holding the holy scriptures. The main procession begins from Tsuklakhang Monastery.
When: June 9, 2017
Where: Gangtok, Sikkim and Darjeeling, West Bengal
Sindhu Darshan Festival
People are celebrating Sindhu Darshan festival
In the scenic region of Leh in Ladakh, the full moon day of June is marked as the day to celebrate the Indus River, also known as Sindhu. The Sindhu Darshan festival venerating the river is a surprisingly recent construct. It began only in 1997, but in a short span it has grown into a celebration of cultural harmony and the role of the river in unifying the nation and forming its cultural roots. The Sindhu Darshan festival hosts an incredible variety of sights and activities. Participants come from all over the country, bringing water from the rivers of their states to immerse in the river as a symbolic mixing of India’s different cultures. A sightseeing tour is organized along with cultural programs and a campfire at night. The festival goes on for three days.
When: June 23-26, 2017
Where: Leh, Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir
The Kottiyoor Vysakha Mahotsavam, also known as the Kottiyoor Mahotsavam or simply the Kottiyoor festival, is a 27-day long festival that takes place at the temporary Akkare Kottiyoor temple along the banks of the Bavali River. The temple, essentially a collection of thatch huts, is disassembled at the end of the festival, while the permanent Ikkare Kottiyoor temple on the other side of the river remains. The festival commemorates the Daksha Yagna, an important story in the mythology of the god Shiva in which his first consort, Sati, immolates herself, earning the wrath of the god. Pilgrims from all over the country come to see the ten-day festival, especially the rituals of the first and last day. NOW READ: Bank holidays in June 2017 to plan a short vacation
When: June 6-July 2, 2017
Where: Kottiyoor village, Kannur, Kerala
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