For travelers, September is a good month to get out and explore India. The monsoon season that delays and cancels so many travel plans is at its tail end in the month. That means lighter and fewer bursts of rain, and a dry but cool climate. This is also the last off-season month, which means you can still avail good discounts on hotels and resorts and avoid peak crowds at museums, monuments and other points of interest. There are also plenty of public holidays in September 2017 lined up, which should translate to plenty of opportunities to go exploring. Here is a look at all the September 2017 holidays to look out for. ALSO READ: 10 best places to visit in September in India
Eid ul-Adha – Friday and Saturday, September 1 and 2, 2017
Jama Masjid, Fatehpur Sikri
The second of the two Eid holidays celebrated across India (the other being Eid ul-Fitr), Eid ul-Adha is a festival of grand celebration among Muslims. It marks the end of the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. Do not miss out on the incredible foods that are served during this festival, also called Bakr Eid or Eid ul-Juha. September 1 is a public holiday in Kerala and Puducherry; for the rest of the country, it is September 2.
Onam – Sunday and Monday, September 3 and 4, 2017
Onam Puli Kali
Kerala will be in a state of celebration in the first days of September, thanks to the religious and cultural festival of Onam. The festival, which falls on a Sunday and Monday this year, is a good time to explore the state’s rich landscape and culture. You can visit natural monsoon sights like Athirapally Falls or places like Thrikkakara Temple, Aranmula and Tripunithura where Onam is celebrated with pomp.
Sree Narayan Guru Jayanti – Wednesday, September 6, 2017
Statue of Sree Narayana Guru at the entrance hallway of Vidya Academy, Photograph courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
Another exclusive public holiday for Kerala, Sree Narayan Guru Jayanti falls on a Wednesday and celebrates the birth of social reformer Narayan Guru. The day is also called Chathayam Dinam, and you can catch celebrations in various parts of the state. One of the biggest events that happen on the day is the Narayana Jayanthi Boat Race in the backwaters Kumarakom.
Saragarhi Day – Tuesday, September 12, 2017
From the southern end of India, we journey all the way north to Punjab, where September 12 will be a public holiday on account of Saragarhi Day. The day commemorates the Battle of Saragarhi, a legendary battle between 21 Sikhs of the British Army posted in the Northwest Frontier (now in Pakistan’s Khyber region), and around 10,000 invading Pashtun Orakzai tribesmen. It is considered one of the greatest military last-stands in history. CHECK OUT: 5 age-old Indian cities which have mythological significance
Mahalaya – Tuesday, September 19, 2017
In Odisha, Karnataka, Tripura and West Bengal, September 19 will be a public holiday for Mahalaya, a solemn occasion that marks the start of the festival season in many ways. Mahalaya or Pitru Paksha is a day to remember ancestors (Pitr literally translates to forefather), and it is marked by food offerings and rituals conducted by the banks of the Ganga River.
Bathukamma Starting Day – Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Nine days before Durgashtami, one of the biggest pan-India festivals in the year, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana celebrate Bathukamma on September 20, a Wednesday. Celebrated largely by Hindu women, Bathukamma is a festival marked by flora decorations and continues on for the nine days of Durga Navratri, culminating with the Pedda or Saddula Bathukamma festival or Durgashtami, two days before Dussehra. ALSO READ: Durga Puja: How and where is Durga Puja celebrated?
Muharram, Sree Narayan Guru Samadhi and Maharaja Agrasen Jayanti – Thursday, September 21, 2017
Sree Narayan Guru Samadhi, Photograph courtesy: Pratheepps/Wikimedia Commons
Thursday, September 21, 2017 will be a public holiday for three occasions, depending on which part of India you are in. It will be marked as Muharram, a solemn festival observed largely by Shia Muslims. It is also marked as Sree Narayan Guru Samadhi in Kerala, when thousands come to pay their respects at the tomb of Sree Narayana Guru in Sivagiri, Varkala, Kerala. And in Haryana and Punjab, the day is celebrated as Maharaja Agrasen Jayanti, the birth anniversary of the legendary Hindu king Agrasen.
Haryana Heroes’ Martyrdom Day – Saturday, September 23, 2017
Every year on September 23, Haryana celebrates the supreme sacrifice of its freedom fighters, soldiers and other martyrs. The day is also called Shaheedi Divas, literally Martyr Day, and honors the lives that were given for the nation. The war memorial in John Hall usually hosts a government function to mark the occassion, and floral tributes are offered to Haryana’s heroes.
Durga Pooja Saptami – Wednesday, September 27, 2017
Durga Pooja in Kolkata – Kolkata – West Bengal
Odisha, Tripura and West Bengal will observe September 27, 2017 as a public holiday to celebrate Djohn urga Pooja Saptami, the seventh day of the ten-day Durga Pooja festival across India. From the seventh day onwards and up to the ninth (Navami), the main Pooja occurs and most of the celebrations happen. This is also the day that clay idols of the goddess Durga are revealed to the public.
Durga Pooja – Thursday, September 28, 2017
Durga Pooja idol
This is the start of the big festivities. Durga Pooja is also called Mahashtami in West Bengal, Tripura, Sikkim and Odisha, Ayudha Pooja in Tamil Nadu and Durgashtami in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Celebrates across the country in many names and forms, the festival marks the glorious mythical battle of goddess Durga with the powerful shape-shifting demon Mahishasura. Durga defeats Mahishasura, and the battle is seen as a classic good versus evil clash.
Mahanavami – Friday, September 29, 2017
Mahanavami, sometimes simply called Navami, is the ninth day of the Durga Pooja festival and sees similar celebrations to Saptami. This day also includes celebrations of Durga’s victory in her mythical battle, with special fire rituals included in proceedings. In Punjab, September 29 will be celebrated as Dussehra itself. CHECK OUT: Importance and significance of Dasara, Vijayadashmi
Dussehra – Saturday, September 30, 2017
Ravan Dahan in Dussehra
While Dussehra comes a day early in Punjab, the rest of India will celebrate the tenth and final day of Durga Pooja on Saturday, September 30. The day is marked by massive processions where clay statues are taken for immersion in rivers, lakes, oceans and other water bodies. On this day, it is said that the goddess returns to her consort, Shiva, on Mount Kailash. The festival is also called Vijayadashami in many parts. In places around Varanasi and other pockets of India, the eleventh day is also celebrated as Ekadashi, but it is not marked by a public holiday.