Famously deemed as the land of celebrations, Gujaratis surely know how to live their lives to the fullest. Though, in Gujarat, every day is a festival but, these festivals of Gujarat showcase the beauty of the state's rich culture and traditions most flawlessly through the celebrations all year round. The streets of Gujarat come alive with men clad in colorful turbans and women in bedazzled lehengas grooving in joy to the hippest beats.
Here’s the list of the most vibrant festivals of Gujarat that you shouldn’t miss when you are there.
Though Navratri is celebrated gleefully in other states of India, the Gujarati version of this festival is the most happening in the country. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that Navratri is the main festival of Gujarat. There are three major highlights of this festival; Dandiya, Garba, and loads of fun. It is a festival of nine nights and ten days. Goddess Durga is worshipped throughout the nine days and is immersed in holy water after a pooja ritual on the tenth day. Visitors can witness loud music, flea markets, exciting competitions, and exhibitions during Navratri.
When Navratri is celebrated - October - November
Celebrated at the Rann of Kutch, a salty stretch located in the Thar Desert which covers over 7,500 square kilometers of land, Kutch Rann Utsav boasts enthralling music, authentic handicrafts, traditional ornaments, and Bandini sarees that visitors can experience on the dazzling white sand. The Rann Utsav is the epitome of the Gujarati folk culture. Stay in the tents and treat yourself to the lip-smacking local delicacies.
When Rann Utsav is celebrated - November - February
Often known as the kite festival, Uttrayan was first celebrated in Gujarat; and then in the whole country. During Uttarayan in Gujarat, the sky fills up with colorful kites of all shapes and sizes, and people indulge themselves in the fun-packed competition wherein the goal is to cut other people’s kites while keeping your kite in the sky for the longest time possible. Uttarayan is a sign for the farmers that harvest season is about to come. Get your kites ready! Kai Po Che!
When Uttarayan is celebrated - January
A large number of devotees arrive on foot or camels to attend Shalaji Melo in Gujarat while singing devotional songs. Shamlaji Melo is one of the most celebrated festivals of Gujarat with people dancing and carrying banners depicting symbols is a common sight that sets a cheerful mood. People worship the deity and bathe in the holy water of the Meshwo River. The Shamlaji Melo happens to be a marketplace of cloth, ornaments, and silverware.
When Shamlaji Melo is celebrated - Karthik Purnima
It is an animal trading festival that may sound strange but the festival is no less than the Diwali celebration for locals. Donkeys and camels are dressed in fancy clothes and presented to attract buyers. This is one of the most off-beat festivals of Gujarat as the fair becomes full of life with animals decked. Visitors can enjoy scrumptious food and shop handicraft goods from the stalls. When you are there, wait till the sun goes down and Diyas light up the place.
When Vautha Mela is celebrated - Karthik Purnima