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The Best Festivals of Jaipur

Jaipur, India - March 21, 2008: Elephants on parade at the annual elephant festival in Jaipur, India Stock Photo - 8491463

Jaipur has plenty of exciting festivals throughout the year. During these festivals, the city comes alive with colour, energy, music and vibrancy. Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan and one of the most visited Indian cities, welcomes visitors openly and is almost always hosting celebrations. The locals here celebrate every event enthusiastically and visiting during a festival allows you to truly experience the “Pink City.”

What are some of the most impressive celebrations in Jaipur? The following are some highlights:

The Jaipur International Film Festival: January

This cultural showcase is held every January over five days. A relatively young festival, it began in 2009 and it has grown significantly since to become one of the largest and most popular film festivals in India. The 2012 festival featured approximately 600 entries from over 67 different countries and 144 were screened during the five-day event.

This Jaipur Festival is a fantastic opportunity for filmmakers from India and all over the world to showcase their talents. It also gives a boost to the city and highlights Jaipur’s diverse cultural scene. The last festival, earlier this year, received 1,397 films from 90 countries and an overwhelmingly positive audience response. One of the biggest films screened at the 2013 festival was the horror movie “Saint Dracula 3D”by director Rupesh Paul. This dramatic film has also been honoured by the Motion Picture Association of Antigua and is the first 3-D feature on the story about Dracula.

The Jaipur International Film Festival’s inaugural festival was held in 2009. It was a huge success and it is now considered the world’s fastest-growing film festival.  Festival highlights include awards ceremonies, a fashion show, a gala dinner and the world premieres of several films.

The International Kite Festival: January

This festival marks spring’s arrival. It is one of the biggest and most popular festivals in Jaipur. This celebration includes a kite competition and lasts for three days, beginning on the day of Sankranti. At the opening ceremony, Indian Air Force helicopters release kites from the sky and schoolchildren let go of hundreds of balloons from the ground.

The kites in the contest are judged on their designs and on the final day, the kites battle it out to see who will be the victor. This honour goes to the last kite left in the air.

The kite festival’s significance is to mark the transition of the sun from “Dhanu Rashi” (Sagittarius) to “Makara Rashi” (Capricorn). This day is considered lucky. People pray for good fortune, health and wealth while attending.

The Elephant Festival: March

This colourful and exciting festival is celebrated on the sacred day of Holi. During the celebrations, the elephants are adorned with brightly coloured jewellery, garlands and powder. The female elephants are decorated with ankle bracelets. These animals engage in dances, games of tug-of-war and elephant polo.

These beasts will be proudly paraded up and down, and you might even get a chance to ride one. When the festival is over, there is a special prize awarded to the most beautifully decorated elephant. The evening celebrations are marked with fireworks.

This festival is important to the people of Jaipur because of elephant’s status as majestic and sacred animals. The seating area will be packed, so arrive early to ensure you get a good seat in the shade.

The Donkey Festival: October

In a similar vein to the Camel Festival in Pushkar, this is where thousands of donkeys are brought from all over Northern India to be bought and sold. Many of these animals are bargained for and bought by construction workers, potters and washer-men who use them as work animals.

The festival includes donkey races and sports. It is believed to be the largest donkey fair in Asia. The donkey races are particularly entertaining, and the overall atmosphere of this festival is fun and exciting.

The Donkey Fair is believed to be over 500 years old and is held near the temple of the goddess Khalkani. However, this tradition faces a growing threat as more people use cars and motorbikes rather than these animals.

Jaipur comes alive with festivals throughout the year, including a literary and music festival. These are some examples of the most notable ones. There is a festival for almost every occasion, so it is easy to plan your Jaipur visit around one. You’ll love this city’s fun and exuberant atmosphere.

 

About the Author: Rhea Gupta is a freelance travel writer who looks on Expedia to find hotels in Jaipur when visiting this city during one of its many festivals.

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