1. Kumbh Mela
How can we speak of Indian festivals, and leave the traditionally celebratory ones behind? Of the many countless religious gatherings that can be seen in India every year, from the eid celebrations at the famous Ajmer Ali Dargah to the morning arati seekers at Tirupati, Kumbh Mela continues to churn the largest known gathering. The Maha Kumbh Mela brings in over 100 million people who gather in religious submission for the various ceremonies held during the event.
Not just devotees, but people from around the world gather to witness this cultural spectacle. From people taking a dip in the holy waters to aghori sadhus bearing a whimsical sight to the country’s cultural studies,this peaceful gathering of people is one of the biggest proofs of India’s confluence as a religiously inclined nation, and is something the country should rightfully be proud of.
2. Jaipur Literature Festival
India’s literary history is linguistically distinct and assorted with works of literature published in many of the country’s languages and dialects. This coupled with the fact that global literature finds one of its largest readerships in the country, makes it an art worth celebrating. Doing just that is Jaipur Literature Festival, as every year, it brings the most notable names from Indian and global literature in a wonderfully worded gathering of readers.
Conversations are thrown open between various authors, discussions are held, contemporary trends in literature and the publishing industry are discussed with enthused intellect, and people, established and newbie authors, and readers alike walk away with a number of titles waiting to be read.
3. Kala Ghoda Arts Festival
The Kala Ghoda Arts Festival held every winter in South Mumbai’s Kala Ghoda region is a wonderful celebration of art in all its forms, from exhibitions of paintings, visual art forms and crafts, to clothes and jewelry, and even household objects, to music, cinema, food and literature. The nine day festival watches the diaspora of the culturally relevant city, from young students and art enthusiasts to celebrated artists mingle and interact in a creatively liberated expression.
Kala Ghoda is worth celebrating in its attempt to revamp the city of finance with a cultural prerogative!
4. Bacardi NH7 Weekender
The festival that has helped put underground homegrown independent talent with musical genius from other countries, the Bacardi NH7 Weekender can be credited with helping foster a music festival culture on a large scale. NH7 which annually holds festivals in Pune, Delhi, Bangalore, Kolkatta and now Shillong, has indeed contributed to making India’s independent music scene a lot more relevant. As the festival grows in scale and size year after year, along with its acts involving several prominent names, Indian and international, The Sherp tips its hand to Weekender’s genuine musical passion!
5. Sunburn Festival
Electronic Dance Music is a revolution and it has only grown in importance and popularity over the years. Bringing that phenomenon to India goes to Sunburn Festival which, since its inception in 2007, has brought in some of the world’s biggest music producers like Avicii, Dmitri Vegas and Like Mike, Armin Van Buuren, Hardwell, Carl Cox to India’s electronic music loving crowd. This has also helped the growth spurt in electronic music in the country, with many Indian producers taking centre-stage at such events, due to which India’s electronic music is finally finding representation on global platforms! Now in its 9th year, Sunburn, the leading force of India’s electronic music movement is only growing in form!
6. Ziro Festival of Music
India is a country of picturesque valleys and roaring seas; a geographical paradox. But unfortunately, most of the action can be seen limited to the popular metros. Debunking this idea is the Ziro Festival which takes music to the musically sound hill of North East India!
The North-East of India is often discussed to be the hotbed of a growing music scene, with local bands often celebrated for their vivacious talent. Very rarely is this talent allowed to take the main stage. The Ziro Festival of Music, held in the breathtaking state of Arunachal Pradesh, is an organic gathering of music lovers, where independent music is allowed to thrive and is much loved. This, coupled with the travel to the scenic Ziro valley, where music can be enjoyed double-folds makes Ziro a truly distinctive blessing to the festival scene
7. Mumbai Film Festival
India has several thriving movie industries, with dominating production budgets. Indian movies are not just made up of the entertaining blockbusters, but also of the quaint productions that boast of brilliant content. India is one of the leading forces in world cinema, so it’s only fair that India has its own film festival that celebrates the best of local and international talent.
Mumbai Film Festival, or MAMI as it is more popularly called as, is one doing just that. Every year, MAMI rakes in the best of India’s homegrown cinematic ingenuity, while also inviting stalwarts from various global film industries to partake in a phenomenal global exchange. This coupled with the various competitions MAMI organises for young, amateur filmmakers who get a chance to interact with the industry greats makes it a genuine festival for any film enthusiast.