It’s summer, which means that most people are slowly cooking inside the hot oven that is India. Everyone wants a respite from the heat, even for a day. Thankfully, the month has plenty of public holidays that you can enjoy at your leisure. Here is a list of public holidays in May 2017, and how you can use them well. ALSO READ: List of holidays in 2017 to plan your vacations right away!
Maharashtra Day and May Day Monday, 1 May 2017
Pratapgad, Satara, Maharashtra
May starts with a nice long weekend, with Maharashtra Day and May Day recognized in most parts of the country. Maharashtra Day, obviously, is celebrated only in that state, while May Day is recognized as a public holiday in the states of West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Manipur, Kerala, Karnataka, Jharkhand, Goa, Bihar and Assam. Folks in Maharashtra can spend their weekend at any of the state’s numerous weekend getaways. Hurry though, because everyone will be flocking to the crowd favorites. You can use this to explore some off-beat locations, and all the states mentioned above have plenty of them. Maharashtra has places like Bhandardara, Tadoba and Chikhaldara, Assam has Majuli and Manas National Park, and Karnataka has Halebid and Maravanthe.
Rabindra Jayanti Tuesday, 9 May 2017
Thakurbari main gate, home of Rabindranath Tagore at Jorasanko, Kolkata
Recognized in West Bengal, Rabindra Jayanti marks the birth anniversary of iconic poet and writer Rabindranath Tagore. Typically celebrated on the 25th day of the first month of the Bengali calendar, Rabindra Jayanti this year falls on a Tuesday. You can stitch with the prior weekend for a nice four-day holiday, or you could just simply enjoy and participate in the cultural revelries that take place this day. Rabindra Jayanti is marked by numerous cultural programs and events that revolve around the works and cultural impact of Tagore. The best place to witness the festival is at the Jorasanko Thakurbari, which is the Tagore family’s ancestral home north of Kolkata. ALSO READ: 6 beautiful places to visit in the pristine city of West Bengal, Siliguri!
Buddha Purnima Wednesday, 10 May 2017
Maitreya Buddha statue in Diskit gompa in Nubra valley, Ladakh
The pan-Indian festival of Buddha Purnima falls on a Wednesday this year, so most people in the country will have to make do with a one-day celebration. However, if you are in West Bengal, the day falls right after Rabindra Jayanti. Take the Monday off, and you can go for a nice five-day vacation. Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri and Bankura are a few popular places. If you would rather not go on a long vacation or live elsewhere in India, you can spend the day observing or witnessing the celebrations of Buddha Purnima. The festival is celebrated in most parts of India, particularly in South India and places with significant Buddhist populations, like Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and Ladakh. This is a good time to visit Buddhist monasteries and pilgrimage sites in India.
Sikkim State Day Tuesday, 16 May 2017
Village woman in Pelling, Sikkim
Falling clean in the middle of the month, Sikkim State Day marks the date when it officially became a state of the Indian Union in 1975. You can spend the day at any of Sikkim’s many destinations, depending on what is closest to you. This is the second-smallest state in the country, though, so you would find a lot of places within your reach. The capital city of Gangtok offers lush forests, pristine rivers and a serene atmosphere, while the rustim hamlet of Yuksom offers trails into the Himalayas. You can also spend the day at Tsomgo or Changu Lake, or visit the historic Nathula Pass. And for the best view of the Himalayas, visit Pelling.
Nazrul Jayanti Friday, 26 May 2017
Ujjayanta Palace, Agartala, Tripura
Tripura will be celebrating Nazrul Jayanti on 26 May, which means that folks in the state will get to enjoy a long weekend. The day marks the birth anniversary of famous Bengali poet, musician, writer and revolutionary Kazi Nazrul Islam, known as the “Rebel Poet” by many. Although the day is celebrated in a more grand fashion in the neighboring country of Bangladesh, many folks in West Bengal and Tripura celebrate it in their own way. Since it is a long weekend, you can take the opportunity to lose yourself in the state’s lush valleys and mountains. Nature lovers can go out and explore the Gumti wildlife Sanctuary at the southeastern end of the state or the smaller Rowa Wildlife Sanctuary up north. Jampui Hills, Sepahijala Wildlife Sanctuary, Unakoti, Pilak and Kumarghat are other great long weekend destinations you can consider.
Maharana Pratap Jayanti Sunday, 28 May 2017
Statue of Maharana Pratap at Pratap Smarak, Moti Magri Hill, Udaipur, Gujarat
Maharana Pratap Jayanti, the birth anniversary of famed Mewar king Maharana Pratap, is celebrated on the third day of Jyestha Shukla, a month in the Hindu calendar. This year, the anniversary falls on the last Sunday of May. It is recognized as a public holiday only in Haryana and Himachal, so people in these states can spend their Sunday attending special poojas and processions held to commemorate the king. Since it falls on a Sunday, others who are interested in witnessing the Maharana Pratap Jayanti celebrations can also travel to Haryana or Himachal Pradesh on that day. For those who are planning a summer trip to Himachal around the same time, you can spend half a day experiencing this rare festival and attending a few of the cultural programs. ALSO READ: 10 pictures show backpacking in Himachal Pradesh is the best thing to do in May!
Guru Arjan Dev Martyr Day Monday, 29 May 2017
Harmandir Sahib, Amritsar
Recognized only in Punjab, Guru Arjan Dev Martyr Day pays tribute to the first martyr of the Sikh faith: Guru Arjan. He was fifth among the ten Sikh Gurus, and the tale of his torture and execution by the orders of Mughal Emperor Jehangir is an important part of the Sikh narrative. His martyrdom marks an important moment in Sikh history. As such, the day sees special services at Gurudwaras in Punjab. Prayers are made to the guru, and many people meditate on his message of peace. You can spend the day at your nearest Gurudwara that is observing the day. Here, you can listen to the kirtans recited from the Sri Guru Granth Sahib and the kathas that are discussed by the head. Given that it is a long weekend, you could also use the chance to explore places around Punjab, like the Harmandir Sahib or Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar, the Garden of Silence by Sukhna Lake, or the Virasat-e-Khalsa museum dedicated to Sikhism in Anandpur Sahib. NOW SEE: Festivals in India in May 2017 that you should not miss
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