Indiais a land of festivals and events. One of the biggest festival in India is Janmastami, and Holi in Vrindavan or Mathura and Gaura Purnima in Mayapura (Navadvipa- West Bengal). The Kumbha Mela is the largest gathering of religious people on the world and is celebrated in January in Haridwar and Allahabad (Prayag). Millions come together even up to 30 million people. One of the most colorful and popular with foreign tourists is the Camel Festival in Puskhar in Oct/Nov. Another popular festival is the Desert Festival in Jaisalmer, early in the year.
The Ratha-yatra Cart Festival in Puri in June/July features their Lordships Jagannath, Balarama and Subhadra riding on giant decorated temple carts. A half a million people come for this event.
The Republic Day Festival in Delhi in January is celebrated with a huge parade.
In Kerala, the Nehru Cup Snake Boat Race in Alappuzha (Alleppey) is a popular event on the second Saturday in August. The Dussehra Festival in Mysore in Oct/Nov is a very colorful event. The Festival of the Gods in Kullu in Sept/Oct is an interesting festival.
Indiahas the best collection of old forts in the world. The Red Fort in Delhi and the Agra Fort are both highly impressive Mughal forts and are both conveniently located, making them easy places to visit. A little south of Agra, is the huge fort in Gwalior.
There is an outstanding collection of forts in Rajasthan. The Amber Fort near Jaipur is impressive. The fort in Jaisalmer is still lived in and has a marvelous atmosphere. The Jodhpur Fort is huge and has an impressive palace in it. The forts in Chittorgarh, Kota and Bundi are all interesting.
Suggested Holy Places
Varanasi- many people would consider their tour of India incomplete without going to Varanasi. It is a town very dear to Lord Siva. It is a maze of very crowded small streets and temples. Also the ghats are interesting, and some of them are very busy. A boat ride on the Ganges during the early morning is a must.
Pushkar This small desert town has a pleasing atmosphere with no vehicle traffic on the main street. It has a holy lake and one of the only Brahma temples in India. It is popular with long-term travelers.
Rishikesh It is a peaceful town on the bank of the Ganges, where the Ganges first leaves the Himalayas and reaches the plains. It is famous for having many yoga ashrams. During the summer it is a nice place to come and stay for a while.
Vrindavan and Mathura This is the birthplace and childhood home of Lord Krishna. The entire place has a totally spiritual atmosphere. It is a very peaceful place, and it is a highly recommended.
Mayapur This is the birthplace of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. It is therefore considered along with Vrindavan as the most important pilgrimage place for Gaudiya Vaishnavas. It is a beautiful and peaceful place out in the middle of tropical Bengali villages about four hours north of Calcutta.
Puri This is the home of Lord Jagannath and his transcendental brother and sister, Lord Balarama and Lady Subhadra. Sri Chaitanya spent a good part of his life here. It is a beach town in Orissa and has many western visitors. It is a good place to stay for a week or two.
Dwarka This is a small town on the west coast of Gujarat where Lord Krishna spent the later part of his time on earth, 5,000 years ago. It is a peaceful town.
Himalayan Char Dham These are the four holy towns of Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath, and Badrinath, high in the Himalayas. While traveling to these holy places you can experience the beauty of the Himalayas. It is a tough trip, but is well worth the experience.