Events You Can’t Miss When in Jodhpur and Rajasthan

Events You Can’t Miss When in Jodhpur and Rajasthan

Rajasthan is all about colours, lights, sounds and people. It’s also full to the brim with culture, traditions and age-old hospitality practices that make it one of the most sought-after travel destinations today. There’s no doubt that Jodhpur, one of its main cities, packs fantastic sights to see when there on holiday. From heritage centres and museums to rock parks and markets, there’s something to see with every corner you turn.
Like all of India, Rajasthan has a lot of festivals celebrating different calendar, historical or mythological events. A huge chunk of this is hosted in Jodhpur throughout the year, with a myriad of smaller fests and events filling the gaps in between. They’re all a massive celebration of life and culture in Rajasthan, and the melting pot of languages and people is something every traveller has to witness at least once in their life!

Here’s a rundown of festivals in Jodhpur hosted through a year and in Rajasthan over all!

Rajasthan International Folk Festival

Where it’s held: Jodhpur
When it’s held: October
How often it’s held: Annually

Here’s a banger of a festival to start off with. The Rajasthan International Folk Festival, or RIFF, is an annual festival of music and art aimed at promoting traditional folk music and art. It’s usually celebrated in October, around Sharad Purnima which is the night of the brightest full moon of the year. The festival buzzes with culture, music, art and dance and the formidable Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur plays the unforgettable host. There’s a lot of international music as well, so if youwant to hear tunes from across the globe, this is the place to be.
The festival is held in high international esteem; in fact, the UNESCO has recognised and endorsed the festival as a “Peoples” Platform for Creativity and Sustainable Development’. The Maharaja of Jodhpurwas a patron, as was Sir Mick Jagger of the legendary Rolling Stones.

Jodhpur Marwar Festival

Where it’s held: Jodhpur
When it’s held: September-October
How often it’s held: Annually

Rajasthan has a legacy of royals and nobles and has produced many brave heroes as well. The Marwar Festival, previously known as the Maand Festival, is a dazzling commemoration of these warrior kings and heroes and is very popular across the state. It is held in Jodhpur, the erstwhile capital of the Marwar region, between September and October each year during the Hindu month of Ashwin.

The two-day long festival doubles up as a splendid display of culture and time- honoured traditions, with locals and tourists in colourful clothes flocking the festivalb grounds on both days. These people mainly come for the melodious rendering of folk music to the theme of romance and the life of Rajasthan’s erstwhile rulers. Folk musicians and performers turn out adorned in the colourful traditional attire of the state and perform in front of a large audience to celebrate their warriors.

Polo matches and camel tattoo shows also draw huge crowds and a turban-tying competition sees experts winning great prizes for their turban-tying skills. The whole shebang takes place at popular palaces and sites, notable the Umaid Bhawan, Mehrangarh Fort and Mandore.

World Sacred Spirit Festival

Where it’s held: Jodhpur
When it’s held: February
How often it’s held: Annually

This one is for the Sufi and soul enthusiasts. The World Sacred Spirit Festivalaims to bring together diverse artists from India and the world who have two things in common- being Sufi music aficionados and being incredible. The festival is usually held in February, where the weather is mild and pleasant- perfect for sitting outdoors and being serenaded by harmonious melodies.
The magical festival took place this year at the Nagaur Fort, catering to a more private gathering of guests, before moving to the Mehrangarh Fort and allowing the general public. If you missed it, don’t worry. It usually happens every year so you can always come back! 

Jodhpur International Desert Kite Festival

Where it’s held: Jodhpur
When it’s held: January
How often it’s held: Annually

Makar Sankranti, a festival marking the end of winter and the start of longer days, is celebrated across India with pomp and fervour. Rajasthan rises magnificently to theoccasion, too, with the International Desert Kite Festival. Kite-flying is a time-old tradition on this Hindu festival day, and the Kite Festival in Jodhpur honours it byallowing a myriad of kites in the most colourful hues to take to the sky.
It is essentially a kite flying (and kite-fighting) competition, but children play alongwith their own kites and balloons. Indian Air Force helicopters have also been known to release their own set of kites directly into the sky. The fervour hits fever pitch when kites are cutbecause only the slyest and most skilled of flyers can boast of this achievement.
The competition takes place in the massive Jodhpur Polo Ground in January every year and the best of kite flyers from across the country flock to the grounds to participate.
The rest of Rajasthan is not devoid of bright fairs and festivals, either. If you wish to venture outside the Blue Cityof Jodhpur and into neighbouring cities, here are a few more festivals that will pique your interest. 

Mewar Festival

Where it’s held: Udaipur
When it’s held: March
How often it’s held: Annually

Having once been the seat of Mewar rulers, Udaipur now annually plays host to the fabulous Mewar Festival. It’s a major festival in the state and thousands flock from all over the country to witness the festivities. It marks the advent of spring and idols of Isar (Lord Shiva) and Gangaur (Goddess Parvati) are adorned in finery and taken for immersion in Pichola Lake’s GangaurGhat. There are fireworks, Ghoomar and Kalbeliya performances, processions and a whole lot of joyful singing after and the spectacle is something to behold.
There’s a royal tinge to these ceremonies- many rituals associated with the House of Mewar are still performed with as much pomp and grandeur, if not more, as they were 75 years ago.

Pushkar Camel Fair

Where it’s held: Pushkar
When it’s held: November
How often it’s held: Annually

If lines of beautifully adorned camels, billowing tents of all colours and hordes of bpeople along the banks of a lake is something you’ve dreamed about, Pushkar is where you need to be in November. The Pushkar Fair, or Pushkar Mela, is a 7-day- long camel and livestock fair that brings crowds of locals and tourists for business or entertainment. It remains one of the largest cattle fairs in the world, but the Pushkar Mela today also packs activities and entertainment that you can’t miss when in Rajasthan.

Many pilgrims take a dip in the Pushkar Lake, considered sacred and healing, to wash away their sins. Tourists, on the other hand, use the Pushkar Mela as an opportunity to go ‘glamping’- glam camping. Tented accommodation on the grounds of the fair pack luxury amenities only 5-star hotels can boast of, yet still classify as good old camping.

Sometimes, staying in the city of the fair may prove to be quite a hard hit on your budget- thousands flock to the city at the same time, so it may be hard to find a suitable hotel, too. Consider staying elsewhere and making visiting the fair a day trip. Do also book a hotel room in advance! If in Jodhpur, there are many boutique hotelsand heritage hotels that form the perfect base to visit these festivals from. You can also sneak in a few days of sightseeing around the city before you hop on that plane back home!