The smell of the mud, the soft sound of the drips or the thunderous roar of the clouds – yes, it’s the monsoons! The rainy season for most parts of India falls between June to September and are technically known as the south west monsoons. The advent of the rains is a welcome relief from the burning heat and an absolute balm for the heart and mind. Sadly, the imbalance of the rain can be quite disheartening at times, with floods flooring some parts, as well as, droughts drubbing others. Yet, the rainy season is an important season for the country where a large population is dependent on agriculture. The rains in many ways make or break the economy.
At the same time, the monsoons also have a very large role to play on the culture of the society. The rain Gods are always beckoned with much fervor because rains have always been associated with prosperity, greenery and a good cropping season. A lot of festivals are also celebrated during the monsoon season and though they do not necessarily have much bearing on the economics or financial considerations, they are a huge part of the social and cultural fabric of the nation.
Here is taking a look at some of the most popular monsoon festivals in India.
1. Raksha Bandhan
This festival is a celebration of the bond between a brother and sister. Celebrated in the month of Shravan which usually falls between July-August, Raksha Bandhan is one of the most loved festivals of India. It is about a bit of fun, leg pulling and a promise of brother-sister love.
The birth of Lord Krishna also falls in the month of Shravan and is a vibrantly colorful festival of India. The northern regions, especially Mathura, Vrindavan and other cities in UP celebrate this festival with much enthusiasm. In Maharasthra the tradition of making the human pyramid to break the ‘dahi handi’ is a combination of fun and team work.
3. Hemis Festival
Celebrated in Ladakh during the monsoons in the stunning Hemis Gompa this is a 2 day festival. Marking the birth anniversary of the Guru Padmasambhava the festival usually falls in July. The monks perform traditional dances wearing masks, exquisite headgears and colorful dresses accompanied with the music from drums, cymbals and long horns. The Hemis Festival is one of the best times to visit Ladakh which is reeling under the celebrations.
4. Sao Joao
This Goan festival is as expected extremely colorful, vibrant and fun-filled. Celebrated in the honor of St. John the Sao Jao takes place in June. The rains spring a lovely freshness and hue into Goa as the festival marks the exchange of gifts and recitations of hymns. Many enjoy jumping into the beach waters for fun and carnival themed boats floating across the rivers are a common sight.
5. Ganesh Chaturthi
This 10 day festival reaches its culmination on the last day when the idol is immersed in the waters. Celebrated in Maharashtra with the maximum zeal, the last day of Ganesh Chaturthi brings the state to a complete stand still. There are dances, music and special foods that mark as the main highlights of the festival.
Teej is celebrated during the monsoons by married women. The festival is most prevalent in Rajasthan along with other northern states. Parvati is said to have reunited with Lord Shiva after 100 years and Teej is the celebration and prayer for a happy ever after.
The monsoon festival of Onam is the most important festival of Kerala. It is special for the farmers of the state as they welcome the rains to boost their hard work and growth of the crops. Kathakali dances, temple rituals, elephant carnivals, traditional foods and dresses are widely associated with the festival. The snake boat races, as well as, the ‘Pookalam’ or the patterns of decoration outside the houses are also very much a part of the Onam celebrations.
Celebrated in Meghalaya this festival literally means the victory over the Demon of Cholera. The festival is marked with massive celebrations in the form of the dance by the Jaintia tribes, music, food and prayers to the Gods for a great harvest. The festival along with the monsoon rains is the best time to visit the northeast.
Celebrated in Tamil Nadu, Adiperukku falls usually in August. Women pray for the sustainability of water and the importance of the life giving elixir is marked by various festivities, such as decorated homes and delicious foods.
10. Puri Rath Yatra
An outstanding visual treat, the Puri Rath Yatra is an extravagant event held during the monsoons. The deities, including Lord Jagannath is pulled on chariots across the streets to the Gudicha Temple where they remain for nine days. Devotees from across the world come to Puri to witness the celebration.
There are many other monsoon festivals, such as Ganga Dussehra, Hareli Festival, Nariyal Purnima and Minjar. The rains mark the coming together of a lot many things. Festivals and celebrations are definitely one of them!