Festivals - Delhi

Holi, the festival of colours, marks the onset of spring. In August, the festival of Janamashtami celebrates the birth of Lord Krishna. Ballets in the Kathak dance style depict the life of Lord Krishna. In early October, a festival specific to Mehrauli, in Delhi, the Phulwalon-ki-Sair or the Flower-sellers Procession, which originated in the 16th century takes place. The highlight is a procession of people carrying decorated floral fans which are blessed at the shrine of the 13th century Sufi saint, Khwaja Qutbuddin Bakhtyar Kaki and at the Hindu temple of Jogmaya, both in Mehrauli. The procession ends with a formal ceremony at the Jahaz Mahal, a 16th century pleasure resort by the side of a lake. Delhi Tourism organises the popular Qutab Festival in October. Musicians and dancers perform at night by the city's 12th century landmark, the Qutb Minar.

Also in October is Dussehra, commemorating the victory of Lord Rama over the demon king, Ravana. A month-long Ram Lila dance festival is organised by the Bharatiya Kala Kendra, depicting scenes from the epic Ramayana, while on Dussehra evening itself, gigantic effigies of Ravana are set afire. The biggest venue for this event is the Ram Lila ground, off Asaf Ali Road.

Diwali, the festival of lights is preceeded by several Diwali Melas, where food, handicrafts and a variety of earthen lamps and candles are sold. Large communities of Indians from different states reside in Delhi. As a result, regional festivals are also celebrated in the capital. Interestingly, people of other communities are joining in the celebrations, a classic example being Durga Puja, a Bengali festival, during which the elaborate pandals are visited by non-Bengalis, too.