Celebrations of fairs and festivals occur almost round the year in Rajasthan and give visitors the opportunity to gain an insight into the life of the Rajasthani. There are animal fairs, religious fairs and fairs to mark the changing seasons. There are also the fantastic, recently established festivals, especially organised for tourists involving elephants, camel races, dance and music. Some of the best known fairs of Rajasthan are:
Camel Festival, Bikaner (Jan)
An enchanting desert city that comes alive with music and dance. It is fast gaining popularity as the visitor finds an opportunity to see some unusual folk performances, camels, camel racing and dance.
Nagaur Fair, Nagaur (Jan-Feb)
A vibrant animal fair that gives visitors the opportunity to participate in local sports.
Desert Festival, Jaisalmer (Jan-Feb)
This is one of the most popular festivals in Rajasthan. It is a journey into the heart of the desert, into the golden city of Jaisalmer to witness a spectacular show on the sands.
Baneshwar Fair, Baneshwar (Jan-Feb)
A religious festival with simple and traditional rituals. This fair is the centre of attraction for a large number of tribals from the neighbouring states of Madhya, Pradesh and Gujarat who join their brethren from Rajasthan in offering prayers to Lord Shiva.
Elephant Festival, Jaipur (March-April)
A festival to celebrate Holi, this is a great occasion for the visitor to watch several elephant sports and also play this festival of colours. A show is organised with the elephants turning out in their best finery.
Gangaur, Jaipur (March-April)
A festival devoted to Goddess Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva. It is a time for young girls to dress up in their finery and pray for grooms of their choice while the married women pray for the well-being of their husbands. This 18-day festival is laced with various activities and culminates in a grand procession marking the arrival of Shiva to escort his bride home.
Mewar Festival, Udaipur (March-April)
A festival to welcome the spring season. There is song, dance, processions, devotional music and fireworks in which everybody participates.
Summer Festival, Mt. Abu (June)
Organised in the only hill station of Rajasthan, this is the coldest place at this time of the year. Folk dances and a general atmosphere of gaiety prevails in this tiny hill resort and visitors have ample time to relax and enjoy the atmosphere.
Teej, Jaipur (July-August)
A festival to mark the advent of monsoon and celebrated by processions of women dressed in fine, bright colours in great merriment.
Marwar Festival, Jodhpur (October)
A festival devoted mainly to the music and dance of the Marwar region. This is a festival that allows the visitor to understand and enjoy the folk traditions of this part of the state.
Pushkar Fair, Ajmer (November)
Pushkar Fair attracts the largest participation of all the festivals of Rajasthan. Pushkar is an important pilgrimage as well as the venue of a mammoth cattle fair. Bazaars, auctions, music and sports are highlights of this event.
Urs Ajmer Sharif, Ajmer
Held in the memory of the revered Sufi saint Khawaja Moinuddin Chisti, it is an occasion for thousands of believers to congregate at the shrine and offer their prayers. The whole of Ajmer seems to take on a festive air and several programmes are organised to mark the festivals.