October Festivals Celebrated In India
October is a very exuberant time when monsoon has ended and festivals are in full swing. Every state in India is busy celebrating its regional celebration in the month of October. Starting from the patriotic celebration of Gandhi Jayanti to the religious festival of Durga Puja, some of these celebrations are rooted deep into our culture through mythologies while others are festivals celebrated in the whole world like Halloween. Indian festivals are based on the lunar cycle hence their date varies every year, some of the festivals celebrated in the month of October are.
Gandhi Jayanti is celebrated on 2nd October every year across India. It is the birth anniversary of Mahatama Gandhi the Father of the Nation. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi played a great role in ending the British colonial rule in India by his efforts and ideologies.
It is observed as a Gazetted holiday in India with multiple festivities. Educational institutes including schools, colleges, and universities hold special assemblies for honoring the ideologies and paths shown by Mahatma Gandhi. Tri-colored flags are hoisted at multiple locations all over the nation and patriotic functions are organized at prominent public places. Gandhi’s favorite Bhajan, ‘Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram’ is played at prayer meetings in his memory. Idols of Mahatma Gandhi all over India, are decorated with flowers.
When: October 2, 2020
Where: Rajghat, Delhi
What is Special: National holiday celebrated throughout the country.
Navratri is the most vibrant and colorful festival in India. Navratri in Sanskrit means nine nights in which nine forms of Goddess Durga collectively called Nav Durga are worshipped. During Navratri, the Rasa dance of Shri Krishana and the Gopis are performed. People follow vegetarianism for the entire 9 days and famous Ramlila are performed all over. The Navratri festival is celebrated as Durga Puja of Bengal, the Garba dance of Gujarat, the Ramlila of Varanasi, Dusshera of Mysore and the celebration is across the whole of India in their own spectacular way.
When: 17th October – 25th October 2020
Where: All across India
What is Special: Navratri is celebrated across the whole of India on a grand scale, where each state and region has its own peculiarity and unique way of celebration.
Durga Puja is the principal festival during Navratri. It is celebrated with gaiety and devotion through public ceremonies of Sarbojanim puja or community worship. The celebration is on a huge scale in Bengal. Temporary structures called pandals are decorated beautifully in red, yellow, and mixed colors and are constructed to house these grand prayer services, followed by cultural functions and mass feeding.
The earthen idols of Goddess Durga accompanied by those of Lakshmi and Saraswati are worshipped and ceremonially immersed in nearby rivers after the triumphal procession. This marks the end of Goddess’s brief visit to the Earth, as Goddess Durga leaves for Mount Kailash, the abode of her husband Shiva. Then during Vijaydashmi, people pay a visit to each other’s homes and exchange sweets from the seventh to the tenth day.
When: 22nd to 26th October
Where: Mainly in Bengal
What is Special: Durga Puja in Bengal is a carnival, where people irrespective of their backgrounds, regardless of religious beliefs participate and enjoy themselves to the hilt.
Dussehra is also known as Vijaya Dashami is the tenth day following Navratri is to celebrate the triumph of good over evil and marks the defeat of the demon king Ravana in the epic Ramayana. According to Hindu mythology, in the Ramayana, at the beginning of the Navratri, Lord Rama prayed to Goddess Durga to be granted the divine power to kill Ravana, and finally, Ravana was vanquished on Dushera.
Towering effigies of the demon Ravana are burnt as part of Ramlila performances on the tenth day called Dusshera. A person with an arrow with a burning flame shoots it onto an effigy made in the form of Ravana. This replica would be made of fire-crackers and would start bursting once the arrow with flame strikes it, which symbolizes the killing of Ravana. The celebration as a whole celebrates the defeat of evil in the hands of the good.
When: October 25, 2020
Where: All across India
What is Special: Huge effigies of Ravana are burnt amidst the bangs and booms of firecrackers.
Mysore Dasara is a veritable extravaganza. Chamundi, one of the forms of Goddess Durga, is the family deity of the Maharaja of Mysore. It is a wonderful scenario to watch the grand procession of elephants, horses, and courtiers wending a circuitous way to the hill-top temple of Goddess Chamundi.
The Mysore Dasara festivities kick off with Navratri (which goes on for nine nights) and reach a grand finale on Vijayadashmi (the 10th day). On the finale, there is Jamboo Savari and Torch Light Parade where dare-devil equestrian and motorcycle stunts by trained personnel, cultural programs, a laser show, and some marvelous fireworks that light up the night. The Jumbo Savari comprises of elephants taking the Chamundeshwari Mata’s shrine around the city in the Golden Howdah.
When: 17th October to 27th October 2020
What is Special: Mysore celebrates an interesting flavor of Dusshera. It is famous for Jamboo Savari & Torch Light Parade.
The festival of gods Kullu Dussehra is the international festival observed in the month of October. The festival is celebrated in the Dhalpur maidan in the Kullu valley. It is a week-long congregation of the local devtas and devis. Kullu Dussehra is different from Vijay Dashmi because the celebration starts when the rest of the country closes the nine-day long festival. The beginning of the Dussehra festival is marked with the pulling of the artistically and aesthetically bedecked chariot of lord Raghunath along the Dhalpur ground. Devi Hadimada arrives from her hallowed seat from the Hadimba Temple of Manali to join the galaxy of gods.
When: 25th – 31st October 2020
Where: Kullu, Himachal Pradesh
What is Special: Best time to witness the grand celebrations, divinity, festivity, and natural beauty in the Himalayan region.
Ramnagar is about 8 km away from Varanasi and it has its world-famous Ramlila which got a UNESCO certificate of heritage because of its strong cultural moorings. In Varanasi, the local folks celebrate the return of Rama to Ayodhya by way of the Ramnagar ki Ramleela. Ramnagar is the perfect place to partake in the visual delights of this ancient dance-drama of India. It is a 31-day festival which portrays the story of Ram in a unique way, this Ramlila is being played for the past 233 years in the Ramnagar Fort of Varanasi.
When: 1st September – 2nd October 2020
Where: Ramnagar, Varanasi
What is Special: Whole Varanasi turns into one big stage where the story of Ram unfolds in 31-days of this festival.
Bathukamma is the ‘Festival of Flowers‘ celebrated for nine days during Durga Navratri. It represents the cultural spirit of Telangana, in Telugu ‘Bathukamma’ means ‘Mother Goddess come Alive’. The festival is declared as a State festival and is an integral part of culture and heritage, and symbolizes family relationships.
Women make small Bathukammas during the nine days, dance around them every evening and immerse them in a nearby water pond. Bathukammas are colorful flowers carefully arranged in circular rows on a brass plate. It starts on the day of Mahalaya Amavasya and the 9-day festivities culminate on the “Saddula Bathukamma” or “Pedda Bathukamma” festival on Ashwayuja Ashtami, popularly known as Durgashtami which is two days before Dussehra.
When: 17th October – 24th October 2020
What is Special: Bathukamma festival is a floral festival and during the festival, a beautiful flower stack is arranged in a unique style in the shape of a temple, which usually consists of seasonal flowers, having medicinal values.
Tawang Festival is a lively extravaganza that is spread over 3 days of celebrations where you can witness the vivid cultural practices like legendary masked dances. There are also exhibitions of handicrafts and handlooms of the state along with the delectable cuisine of the region. The festival began with the traditional parade of Buddhist monks from the Tawang Monastery called Sebang.
When: 26th – 29th October 2020
Where: Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh
What is Special: The Tawang Festival is a grand celebration that showcases the rich cultural heritage and tourism potential of Arunachal Pradesh.
Rajasthan International Folk Festival
Rajasthan International Folk Festival (RIFF) Jodhpur is a five-day festival that was first held in 2007 in a 500-year-old royal Mehrangarh Fort of Jodhpur. It is held during the full moon night (Sharad Poornima) and gathers more than 250 artists from all over the world to commemorate different musical heritages. The festival has been declared as the People’s Platform for Creativity and Sustainable Development by UNESCO.
When: 29th October – 2nd November 2020
Where: Mehrangarh Fort of Jodhpur
What is Special: Concerts, music performances in the world’s most romantic festival setting.
Karni Mata Festival
Karni Mata temple in Bikaner, Rajasthan is home to thousands of rats. This festival is celebrated twice a year in honor of Godness Karni Mata, the tutelary deity of the Bikaner royal house, during the holy Chaitra and Sharad Navratras. Karni Mata temple is also known as the Rat Temple of India and the temple has several legends associated with it. Karni Mata was an ascetic who led a life just devoted to serving the poor and oppressed of all communities. Rats are considered as “kabbas”, the souls of Karni Mata’s devotees. To seek blessings from kabbas they eat the leftovers of the rat.
When: 17th – 26th October 2020
Where: Karni Mata temple, Deshnok village, Rajasthan.
What is Special: The festival is celebrated in Karani Mata Mandir, which is famous for the large number of rats found in the temple.
Ashwa Poojan is an important festival for Rajput warriors as they celebrate their devoted and valiant steed, their most powerful symbol, and all their weapons on Dussehra. The Ashwa Poojan Ceremony or Worship of the Horse commemorates the bond of interdependence between the Rajputs and the horse and the partnership of centuries. Ashwa Poojan is really the grand finale to the Navratri festivities, invoking both the power of Durga and the Ashwa.
When: 25th October 2020
Where: Mewar, Rajasthan
What is Special: The magic of this custom unfolds on the ninth day of Navratri, as Mewar offers thanksgiving to its Marwari battle horses bedecked in complete Rajput regalia.
An annual festival is held in the region of Marwar in Rajasthan in the spirit of honoring the heroes from the region. The festival, originally known as the Maand Festival, now known as the Marwar Festival, takes place at some of the most beautiful locations in Jodhpur, including Umaid Bhawan Palace, Mandore Fort, and Mehrangarh Fort. The festival is held in the Hindu month of Ashwin (usually in September/October) for two days during the full moon. The Marwar Festival is dedicated to folk music and dance of the region, devoted to valiant tales about the lives of Rajasthan’s rulers.
When: 12th October – 13th October 2020
Where: Jodhpur, Rajasthan
What is Special: A great opportunity to experience a culture of music and dance of Rajasthan, with the major attraction include a camel tattoo show and camel polo.
India Art Festival, Mumbai Art Fair Edition
India Art Festival, is a Contemporary Art Fair, is the biggest art fair hosted annually at three metro cities, Bengaluru, New Delhi, and Mumbai. The artworks including paintings, sculptures, drawings, installations, photographs, and editions as well as video and digital art by over 1000 artists represented by various galleries are displayed at India Art Festival annually. Mumbai Art Fair Edition will be held in October at Nehru Centre, Mumbai.
When: 09th to 11th October 2020
Where: Nehru Centre, Mumbai
What is Special: It is the celebration of Indian culture and modern and contemporary art, it provides the opportunity to emerge, independent artists to show their skills.
Rajasthan Kabir Yatra is a traveling music festival which is a journey festival over 6 days in and around Bikaner. The first edition of the Rajasthan Kabir Yatra took place in February 2012 and was widely chronicled and appreciated. This Yatra is a space where musicians, artists, scholars, students, and seekers can immerse themselves in the poetry of Bhakti and Sufi saints such as Kabir, Mirabai, Bulleh Shah, Shah Latif, Gorakh Nath, and many others.
When: Organized in the month of October. (Dates to be announced)
Where: around Jodhpur, Bikaner and Jaisalmer, Rajasthan
What is Special: In this yatra, one can see and enjoy the folk, cultural, and ancient heritage in the most unique way.
India Music Summit
MTV India Music Summit at the Fairmont Jaipur in October is a 3 day congregation of music lovers, and musicians who came together not just to listen but to engage with music in so many different ways. Held at the Fairmont Jaipur, the Summit has been attended over the last three years by Music lovers from all over and has a dedicated following that keeps coming back year after year.
When: September 19th to October 24th, 2020
What is Special: The submit is an excellent blend of all genres from North Indian and Carnatic classical, to rap, qawwali, Bollywood, ghazals, folk.
Halloween is a festival celebrated every year on October 31 in different countries including the United Kingdom, Ireland, the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and other parts of the world. People crave pumpkins and kids dress up in different costumes and play Trick or Treat by knocking on people’s homes.
When: October 31, 2020
Where: All over the World
What is Special: Trick-or-treating, costume masks, and Halloween parties are done.