Also known as Idul Adha, Bakr Id is primarily a feast of sacrifice. It is a festival that is prescribed by the holy book of Muslims, Quran.
Bakr Id is one of the most celebrated festivals among the Muslims of the world. It is celebrated to reaffirm the faith of the devotees. Animals usually goats are slaughtered during the festival and displayed on the altar. Delicious food and delicacies are prepared during the festival.
The celebrations during Bakr Id, includes special prayers held at the mosques. The participation involves young children to old men. Thousands of people gather together in the respective mosques and pray. After the rituals are over men and women greet each other and enjoy a delicious feast.
Time to celebrate
Bakr Id is celebrated on the tenth day of the month Dhul Hijja.
Organized by the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation near the Banganga Tank, the Banganga Festival is a two day music festival. This music festival is a meeting point of different artists and musicians. Reputed as well as new comers are provided an opportunity to perform in the presence of eminent personalities and the common people.
Live classical music is performed at this music concert. It lasts over two days and musicians from all across the country visit this conference.
Time to celebrate
Banganga Festival is organized in the month of January.
Diwali or the festival of lights is a primarily Hindu festival but it is celebrated with equal zest by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains. This colorful festival is a celebration of Good over Evil and lights, the symbol of hope are used to decorate the house. Also known as Deepavali in South India, Diwali is celebrated over 5 days during the Hindu months of Ashwayuja.
Deepavali is Sanskrit means an assortment of lights. Light signifies good and darkness, Evil. The devotees light lamps as a sign of the victory of good over evil.
During Diwali every house is decorated with different varieties of lights especially the earthen lamps. The house is lit up and decorated for Goddess Lakshmi to arrive. Sweets and other delicacies are exchanged among friends and relatives. Goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity is shown devotion during this festival.
Time to celebrate
Diwali is mostly held between October and November. Diwali is celebrated twenty days after Dussera.
Elephanta, also known as Gharapuri is a tiny island located about 10 kilometers from the Mumbai harbor. Famous for the beautiful cave shrine that was excavated in the 6th century, Elephanta is a popular tourist site in Mumbai. A World Heritage Site, the Elephanta Caves originally had a marvelous carved elephant on the island.
The magnificent temple dedicated to Lord Shiva showcases extraordinary architecture. The imposing pillars and the nine sculptured panels are exceptionally well designed.
Organized by the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation, the Elephanta Festival is primarily a festival of music and dance. During the festival, the idol also known as Maheshmurti in the main cave of the island is illuminated. The festival has proved to be a major attraction among tourists.
Time to celebrate
The Elephanta Festival is one of the most popular festivals of Mumbai. It is held in February every year.
Also known as Vinayak Chaturthi, Ganesh Chaturthi is a festival celebrating the day on which Lord Ganesh appeared on earth for his devotees. Son of Shiva and Parvati, Ganesh is the elephant headed god in the Hindu religion.
The festival of Ganesh Chaturthi begins with the installation of the idol of Ganesh in beautifully decorated pandals. The pandals are decorated with paintings depicting the life of Lord Ganesha. The festival also includes a lot of cultural activities like music and dance.
A popular sweet made during the Ganesh Chaturthi are modak and karanjis. The sweets are made of coconut, jaggery, and other flavors.
Time to celebrate
According to the Hindu calendar, Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated on the Shukla Chaturthi which is usually between 20 August and 15 September.
Good Friday and Easter
Good Friday is a solemn day observed by Christians all over the world as it commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Christ is believed to have died on a Friday around this time of year and every year this day is celebrated with complete gratitude and devotion
Good Friday is followed by Easter, which is the Sunday after Good Friday. It is believed that on this day Jesus resurrected from the dead. Also known as Pascha, Easter is the feast of the resurrection.
On Good Friday it’s a tradition to fast or a day with two small meals. The rituals include prayer, meditation, intercessions and songs.
On Easter, devotees celebrate by cooking delicacies and distributing among friends and family. The ritual includes a mass with a lot of songs, readings from the Bible and celebration.
Time to celebrate
Good Friday and Easter is usually celebrated between March and April.
Introduction to the Holi in Maharashtra
Holi is a vibrant festival in Maharashtra. It is a carnival of colors and costumes. Men wear new clothes at the day’s end while along the day they play colors with their loved ones, friends and family members. Moreover the gourmets find an excellent opportunity to gratify their taste buds from the exquisite delicacy known as Puranpoli.
To the inhabitants of Maharashtra the festival of colors is commonly known as the Shimga or the Rangpanchami. This carnival is very popular among the fisher folks and is accompanied with merry making and drinking. While they dance the fisher folks are relieved of all their pains and qualms; they seem to incarnate into a new rhythm of life.
Description of the Holi in Maharashtra
Lord Krishna used to steal milk and curd from the adjacent houses and he was renowned for doing that. So, during the day of Holi pots are hung high up on the roads and tolis, or the trained males go up, one above the other to break those pots. Milk and curd flow down them and this is the most pleasurable part of the carnival.
The men folk sprinkles colored waters over the male counterparts and in turn they too are washed with elegant colors of the Abhir. During the Maratha regime there is a beautiful story on this incidence of Holi. Once the five year old daughter of Lakhoji Jadav, named Jijabai, threw colored water on young Shahaji, son of Malaji Rao.
Immediately their engagement was announced and they were married. They gave birth to Shivaji, the ablest Maratha Ruler.
Time for Celebration of the Holi
Holi is usually celebrated in the month of March, also known as Phalgun Purnima. On the Full Moon Night the festival of Holi is celebrated with maximum zeal and fervor.
Kids Kingdom Mumbai
Introduction to the Kid's Kingdom
Its summer and you are too busy to plan a long vacation. Your kids are bored at home because their school holidays have begun. You are desperately trying to find a way to provide them with some kind of entertainment. One of the best ways you can do so is to just take a day off and visit the Kid's Kingdom. Both you and your kids will definitely have a rollicking time. The Kid's Kingdom Festival is celebrated at the World Trade Center in Mumbai and promises unlimited fun and frolic for all. Even though it's named Kid's Kingdom, even adults can partake of the fun, one need not be a child to enjoy all the thrill and excitement.
Time for celebrating the Kid's Kingdom
The Kid's Kingdom Festival is celebrated each year in the month of May and continues for five days.
Description of the Kid's Kingdom
When this annual event is held at the Expo center in Mumbai, the state capital of Maharashtra, the whole place is temporarily transformed to a huge playground and toy store. The exhibitors who come to participate in the festival number more than 300 and they display several fascinating items. Small children are seen teeming in to participate in the unrestrained mirth and merry making. They do not just play with each other, they get to see so many different kinds of toys and since they are accompanied with their parents they can also pick up something of their choice. Contests are held and prices given away. The children participate in these various competitions enthusiastically and have a joyous time. These activities are purely entertaining and being involved in them gives the small kids a lot of pleasure. There are scheduled programmes and these are also held at regular intervals to keep the audience entertained.
Introduction to the Maharashtra Day
The Fairs and Festivals in Maharashtra are celebrated with a great deal of fervor and enthusiasm. Maharashtra Day is one such festival about which all Maharashtrians irrespective of their caste, creed, religion or color are equally excited because it marks the day Maharashtra attained statehood. It was on this day that several decades ago in the year 1960 the state which was to eventually become religiously refined, culturally enriched, socially improved, economically powerful and commercially commanding emerged. Even to this day Maharashtra Day is celebrated to mark the formation of what is undisputedly one of the most important states of India.
Time for celebrating the Maharashtra Day Festival
Maharashtra Day is celebrated each year on the first of May.
Description of the Maharashtra Day in Maharashtra
Initially the present states of Maharashtra and Gujarat constituted one state by the name of Bombay. Marathi and Gujarati speaking people co existed in the same state. However certain problems ensued in this bi lingual state. So it was decided upon in the Bombay Reorganization Committee to divide Bombay into two states and get over the difficulties. Hence the erstwhile Bombay Presidency ceased to exist and two new states of Gujarat and Maharashtra were formed.
On this day, official celebrations are held at the Shivaji Park in central Mumbai. Members of the state reserve police force, Brihanmumbai Commando Force, home guards, civil defense, fire brigade and city police participate in a parade. The state governor takes salute at this ceremonial parade. Common people also come to watch this formal march past.
Introduction to the Mahavir Jayanti in Maharashtra
The state of Maharashtra reflects secular spirits. People belonging to different religions reside in harmony in this state of variety and diversity. It therefore comes as no surprise that festivals of different religions are celebrated in the state with a lot of joy and enthusiasm. Mahavir Jayanti is the most important festival of the Jain community and it is celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm in Maharashtra as well.
History of the Mahavir Jayanti in Maharashtra
Mahavir Jayanti marks the birth of Mahavira, the last Tirthankara in the galaxy of the twenty four Tirthankaras of the Jains.
Description of the Mahavir Jayanti in Maharashtra
The Jain Temples are decorated with colored flags on the occasion of Mahavir Jayanti in Maharashtra. Early in the morning, the followers of Jainism take a bath and visit the temples to offer their prayers.
This is followed by a ceremonial bath of the idol of Mahavira. The idol is then kept in a cradle and taken around the neighborhood in a cradle. All the Jains participate in this spectacular procession.
After returning to the temples, they offer milk, fruit, rice and water to the tirthankara. They even light lamps and burn incense sticks. This lends a spiritual touch to the atmosphere. They then attend the lectures which try to enlighten them so that they follow the right path of virtue. After meditating for some time, they eat the Prasad.
Time for celebrating the Mahavir Jayanti in Maharashtra
Mahavira was born on the 13thday of the rising moon in the month of Chaitra. This day falls sometime in late March or early April. It is on this day that Mahavir Jayanti is celebrated in Maharashtra.
The first month of the Islamic calendar, Muharram is the start of the New Year for Muslims. Muharram is derived from the word haram which means forbidden. Fighting or a show of any kind of violence is considered as an offensive act. This is a very sacred month for the Muslims.
The tenth day of Muharram is the climax of the celebration and is known as Ashurah. Sunni Muslims prefer to fast on Muharram while celebration for some Shia Muslims is considered an offence.
Time to celebrate
The Muharram festival occurs with the beginning of the New Year. Muslims follow the lunar calendar and the firs month begins the day the first crescent of a new moon is seen.
Celebrated all over India, Nariyal Purnima is mainly a festival of fishermen. It is therefore celebrated with greater enthusiasm in the western coast of India. The Kolis of Mumbai is a tribe mostly involved in fishing is one of the most enthusiastic communities during this festival.
The day is begun by offering thanksgiving prayers to the God of the Sea, Lord Varuna. The festival being for those who earn a livelihood through the sea, the sea god who controls the moods of the sea is offered prayers and coconuts. Coconuts are thrown into the sea.
This auspicious day connotes the end of the rains and hence the fishing boats are prepared to enter the waters. The boats are decorated with colorful flags, they are freshly painted. The women and children sing and dance on the sea shore.
Time to celebrate
Nariyal Purnima is celebrated on a full moon day in the month of Shravan which is sometime in July or August. It is celebrated on the day of the Rakhi Purnima.
Parsi New Year
Also known as Navroze, the Parsi New Year is mainly celebrated by a particular sect of Parsis, the Faslis. It is also celebrated by the Muslims of Iran and Zoroastrians. Navroze is the first day of the first month according to the Zoroastrian calendar. Navroze means spring, or the beginning of a new life shedding off all that is old and worn out. Originally an agricultural festival, the Parsi New Year later transformed into a religious festival.
The day is celebrated by wearing new and colorful clothes, decorating the house with powders of different colors, lighting incense sticks and sprinkling sandalwood powder on live coal.
The day begins by going to the Fire Temple and offering Jashan or a thanksgiving prayer service and offering sandalwood to the holy fire.
Food is a significant part of the Parsi New Year. It includes a wide selection of non-vegetarian dishes, fruits and nuts. Two important dishes in breakfast for the Parsi New Year are Ravo and fried vermicelli cooked in sugar syrup and decorated with raisins.
Time to celebrate
Parsi New Year is celebrated on 21 March which is the vernal equinox of the sun. This day is also the day when the spring season commences.
Introduction to the Sangat Music Festival
The Mehli Mehta Foundation was set up with the objective of creating a general awareness, understanding and appreciation of western classical music amongst the people of Mumbai. With this purpose in mind, they took several steps that included organizing public performances by internationally acclaimed artistes and orchestras, arranging for Discover Music classes so that children could learn classical music along with any other instrument, inviting renowned music teachers from abroad to be a part of their visiting faculty, supporting music students from India for carrying on further studies abroad and also holding sessions wherein amateurs as well as professionals could discuss the various aspects of classical music. But one of their chief endeavors which deserve an altogether special mention was starting of the Sangat Music Festival. Ever since its initiation in the year 1995, the popularity of the Sangat Music Festival has been constantly on the rise.
Time for celebrating the Sangat Music Festival
The Sangat Music Festival is held each year in the month of December.
Description of the Sangat Music Festival
The Sangat Music Festival in Mumbai has now received the recognition of an International Chamber Music Festival. The word "sangat" means coming together, the festival is indeed an occasion which marks the home coming of the entire Indian musical Diaspora. Musicians who are either of Indian origin or are in any way associated with the country come together in Mumbai for two weeks. Workshops are held, rehearsals, master classes take place, in fact to put it precisely we can say that there is a lot of close interaction between the participants, the students of music and the renowned musicians. It is open to the public and no prices are charged for entry to these workshop sessions. The festival is indeed an excellent platform for learners and teachers to communicate with each other.
But finally all this culminates in concerts. The concerts are the most eagerly awaited aspect of the festival. The venue is the Tata Theatre and shows are held every evening for two weeks. Just purchase the tickets and witness the eclectic performances put up by the vocalists and instrumentalists of Indian origin who have now settled abroad. They keep the audience enthralled. All these artistes possessing immense talents cover a wide repertoire of works by Brahms, Enescu, Schubert, Haydn, Mendelssohn, Beethoven, Mozart, Shostakovich, Britten and Elgar. Major compositions from the Baroque, classical, romantic, post-romantic, modern and contemporary period are covered. However there are many non Indian performers too at the festival and their Indian classical renditions are simply superb.
Introduction to the Shankara Jayanthi
India -a country where people belonging to different religions co exist in peaceful harmony. The people of this land are inspired by the wisdom and teachings of several learned saints who edify them on what religion is and kindle in their hearts faith and hope. One such erudite scholar was Shankara, respectfully referred to as Srimath Adi Shankaracharya. Shankara Jayanthi is celebrated to commemorate the birth of this great philosopher saint who made a distinctive difference in the lives of many people not only when he was alive but even after his death. His perception has continued to enthuse and motivate many a lay man.
Time for celebrating the Shankara Jayanthi
This festival is celebrated each year on the 5th day of the bright half of Vaisakh according to the Hindu calendar. It roughly corresponds to a day in the latter half of the month of April or a day in the former half of the month of June in the Gregorian calendar.
Description of the Shankara Jayanthi in Maharashtra
Adi Shankaracharya is believed to be the incarnation of Lord Shiva who came to this earth to cleanse Hinduism from the evil effects of blind superstitions. The highlight of his belief was that "Religion is Realization". Since the festival of Shankara Jayanthi is celebrated in remembrance of his birth, on this day people study his works.
He believed in the Vedas and the Vedantas and acknowledged their authenticity and authority. On the occasion of this festival, the followers meditate and contemplate on what Shankara preached and propagated. He advocated worship of various forms of the lord and believed in the power of bhakti or devoutness. In fact he himself composed many hymns that are characterized with a great deal of religious zeal and fervor. All his songs are marked by intense devotion and philosophical truth. Consequently on this day followers are seen praying and singing religious hymns in praise of the lord.
Bandra, a suburb near the bustling city of Mumbai houses one of the most popular Roman Catholic churches in the area. This church is known as the Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount and is dedicated to Mary, the mother of Jesus. This highly revered church is located on a hill top and is over 100 years old. The Bandra Fair is celebrated in September, which is considered the birth month of Mary.
In the Bandra Fair shops and stalls selling different kinds of eateries and goods are sold here. This colorful fair provides employment and other financial opportunities to many people of Maharashtra. Locally made goods and toys are sold at this fair. Different kinds of rides are available here for children.
Time to celebrate
The Bandra Fair in Mumbai is celebrated in the month of September. It is one of the most exciting and thrilling fairs in Mumbai.
A sanctified day for the Buddhists, Buddha Purnima is celebrated by Buddhists with great zeal and enthusiasm. It is believed that on this day, Buddha or Siddhartha was born, received enlightenment and attained nirvana after he passed away.
The teachings of Buddha are popular not only in India but also abroad. Buddha’s analysis of the sufferings of human beings made him suggest the eight fold path of salvation.
Time to celebrate
Buddha Purnima is celebrated on a full moon day in the month of Vaishakh which is usually between April and May.
Popularly known as Vijayadashami and Mohani Nakha, Dusshera is celebrated on the final day of the ten day festival of Navratri. Dusshera is primarily a celebration of the victory of good over evil. The legend in southern India is that Goddess Durga vanquished the demon Mahishasura. The event is believed to have taken place in the modern day city of Mysore. On the other hand the legend in northern India is that the festival is celebrated to commemorate the victory of the prince of Ayodhya, Rama over the ruler of Lanka, Ravana.
Dusshera is the day when devotees worship weapons and in some regions it is customary to exchange Apta leaves. Preceding Dusshera, the Ram Lila is enacted which depicts scenes from the life of Lord Rama. On the tenth day effigies of Ravana, Meghnadh and Kumbhakarna are set on fire.
Devotees decorate their houses with flowers and colored strings. In West Bengal, beautiful idols of Goddess Durga and pandals are decorated.
Time to celebrate
Dusshera is celebrated on the tenth day of the Hindu month of Ashwina which brings the end of the ten day festival.
Ellora Ajanta Aurangabad Festival
Introduction to the Ellora Ajanta Aurangabad Festival
A result of the joint initiative taken by the Aurangabad Festival Committee under the chairmanship of the Divisional Commissioner of Aurangabad and the MTDC, the Ellora Ajanta Aurangabad Festival is truly a treat to the senses. It was started with the purpose of bringing some of the very interesting places in and around Aurangabad in the limelight along with showcasing some of the finest talents in the country. Held in the Soneri Mahal which was built way back in the 17th century by Orcha chieftain Pahadsing this festival is indeed a mind boggling extravaganza.
Time for celebrating the Ellora Ajanta Aurangabad Festival in Maharashtra
The festival is celebrated each year in the month of November.
Description of the Ellora Ajanta Aurangabad Festival
The venue of the festival, the Soneri Mahal is itself very impressive. The architectural skills manifested in this building deserve a lot of praise. And when you witness the performances of some of the most talented people in the country at this exotic venue, you are sure to be enthralled. Distinguished artistes from all across the country come here to put up riveting performances from 7 to 11 in the evening. There is so much of variety in the shows. Classical and folk singers and dancers share the same stage. There is instrumental and vocal music alongside milajula mushairas to captivate the audience.
Another important highlight of the festival is the Kalagram where a large number of stalls are put up by the artisans and craftsmen of the region. It is an excellent platform for them to display their handiworks. As a large number of people from different corners of the country participate in the festival, they get immense exposure. This works in their favor apart from the lucrative business that they do selling the handicrafts.
Another added attraction of the festival is the various competitive events that are held on the occasion of the celebration. Rangoli, Mehendi, Cookery, Essay, Bhajan singing and several other competitions are held. There are many enthusiastic participants who very eagerly take part in all this.
Celebrated on the birthday of Lord Krishna, Gokul Ashtami is a very auspicious day for the Hindus across the world. The birth of Lord Krishna, son of King Vasudeva and Queen Devaki, is a great story in Hindu mythology.
On the auspicious day of Gokul Ashtami, devotees decorate their houses, prepare sweets to offer to the deity and imprint a child’s footprint from the door to the prayer room. Butter which is believed to be Lord Krishna’s favorite is also offered during Gokul Ashtami. Shrikhand, a particular kind of sweet is prepared on this occasion.
Devotees observe fast throughout the day and break the fast at midnight when the Lord is believed to have been born. Devotional songs are sung by the devotees.
Time to celebrate
Gokul Ashtami is celebrated in the month of Bhadrapada which is between August and September.
Introduction to the Gudi Padwa in Maharashtra
Gudi Padwa marks the beginning of the New Year to the Maharashtrians. The advent of a new year heralds new hopes, new dreams and greater chances of prosperity and wish fulfillment and so it is celebrated with a lot of joy and pompousness throughout Maharashtra.
History of the Gudi Padwa in Maharashtra
According to Hindu mythology, on the day of Gudi Padwa, Brahma created the universe. It is also believed that it was on this day that Lord Rama killed Bali. It is one of the three and a half days in the Hindu calendar when each and every moment of the day is auspicious.
Description of the Gudi Padwa in Maharashtra
Unrestrained merriment marks the celebrations of Gudi Padwa. There are several rituals and customs that are associated with the celebration of this festival.
A bamboo staff or gudhi is erected in front of the house. A new cloth is then tied to the gudhi. A bright garlanded vessel is hung on top of it. This is symbolic of achievement. This gudhi is devotedly worshipped and the Prasad is distributed among all the members of the family. The Prasad that you will get in any of the Maharashtra households on the occasion of Gudi Padwa is very different. It is made out of tender Neem leaves, tamarind, Ajwain, gram-pulse and jaggery. According to popular belief, this Prasad strengthens your immunity system and you can fight diseases better.
After waking up early in the morning, people clean their homes and decorate the floors with beautifully drawn rangolis. Some even prefer to keep a pot with coconuts, flowers and mango leaves just outside their home. They clad themselves in new clothes as well. Tasteful sweet dishes like shrikhand and jalebis are savored by the people. The ardor and excitement of the people on the occasion of celebration of Gudi Padwa in Maharashtra is great.
Time for celebrating the Gudi Padwa in Maharashtra
The Gudi Padwa is celebrated according to the Hindu calendar. Padwa refers to the first day of the Hindu Lunar month. It falls on the first day of the month of Chaitra (either in the month of March or April).
Janmashtami is a festival that marks the birthday of Lord Krishna. It is celebrated eight days after the full moon. Born to Devaki and Vasudeva, Krishna was the eighth son of his parents. Kans, the brother of Devaki was told by a wise man that the eighth child of Devaki and Vasudeva would kill him. So the night Krishna was born his parents were imprisoned by Kans. However Vasudeva successfully took Krishna to Gokul and surrendered him to Yashodha and Nand.
Janmashtami is celebrated with a lot of zeal and enthusiasm all across the country. According to the Hindu calendar it is celebrated on the eighth day of the Shravan month. During the festival, Raslila or a play is performed that narrates the life of Lord Krishna and his beloved, Radha.
Time to celebrate
Mathura, the birth place of Lord Krishna celebrates Janmashtami with great enthusiasm. The festival of Janmashtami is celebrated sometime between July and August.
Kala Ghoda Festival and Fair
Kala Ghoda Festival and Fair is a unique celebration of art and craft held in Mumbai near the Jehangir Art Gallery. Kala Ghoda is a well district for art in the city. It was established in 1988 and today it is one of the most premier fairs that is held as a platform for well known artists as well as upcoming, amateur artists. This pan-Mumbai fair brings together different forms of art, craft and food.
The pedestrian avenue is aesthetically decorated with kiosks displaying portrait of artists, the wonderful work of potters and other craftsmen. A variety of stalls and shops are available here which sell food, music albums, books and other items.
Time to celebrate
Kala Ghoda Festival and Fair is organized every Sunday from the month of November till February.
Introduction to Maha Shivratri
“The Lord is my light, and my salvation; whom shall I fear?” We shall have none to fear if we submit ourselves to the Great Lord Shiva, who is adored during the Shivratri. Maha Shivratri is an auspicious festival that is celebrated by the Indians in diverse form and mode; but the aim of this Puja is the same.
Shiva Ratri Festival involves worshipping of Lord Shiva who is supposed to be the destroyer, among the Tridev called Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva; the creator, preserver and the destroyer. There are many legends associated with Shivratri. But it is evident that only after annihilation a magnificent achievement is made. So, Lord Shiva is revered.
Once a hunter who could not eat for the whole day sat in a Bael Tree considered as the most sacred tree and he was tearing off Bael Leaves drenched with rain water and he could not see that the Shiva Linga was there underneath the tree and so, Lord Shiva was pleased with him. At that instant there was a doe who came near and the hunter was about to shoot him, but then the doe pleaded that she wants to see her children at home for the last time in her life, and that the hunter must consider her case with sympathy.
The hunter after getting the blessings of Lord Shiva had a purified heart and he allowed her to leave. But at the morning when she came back, the hunter left her and this made the Lord so pleased with the Hunter that he took the hunter along with the doe to heaven and still now one can see the star that reminds us of the good fate of the hunter.
That night was a fourteenth night of the month of Falguna, when it is said that the Lord Shiva comes down to bless his cohorts. He is supposed to relieve them of all their miseries and provide them health, wealth and happiness. Shivratri is a nightlong festival and it is believed that since the Lord Shiva has in his mass of entangled hair, the crescent Moon, he is the originator of the Moon. It is said that in the Bael Leaves Goddess Laxmi resides and the fiesta is always accompanied with bhang, a type of wine.
Description of the Mahashivratri Festival
In the Mahashivratri Festival one offers Bael Leaves, Milk, Honey, Curd, Ghee and Sugar to the Lord. The latter five things constitute the Panchamrita which is the five immortal foods. It is said that the aficionados fast for the entire night and then offer the Lord with such offering.
Lord Shiva is said to endow the married couple with happiness and wealth while he ensures a nice and suitable husband for the unmarried women. They circumvent the Shiva Linga and then offer Bael Leaves and milk over the Shiva Linga. The bells are rung and the aficionados cry out Jai Shiva Shankara.
During the entire period of worship the devotees chant the hymn Om Namah Shivaya. After the whole day of fasting the devotees ask for mercy from the Lord and Lord Shiva grants them whatever they ask for. So, he is regarded as the most benevolent Lord.
Time for the celebration of the Maha Shivratri
The Maha Shivratri Festival is usually celebrated in the month of March and on the 14th Day of the month of Falguna. It is generally on a New Moon Night also known as Amavasya, when the God comes to sanctify the evils of the environments.
Makar Sankranti is a festival celebrated in winter to mark the transition of the Sun from Sagittarius to Capricorn. This takes place during winter solstice int eh northern hemisphere. The very famous
Makar Sankranti is celebrated by taking dips in the holy waters of River Ganga to cleanse and purify ones soul. For farmers and those associated with farming, this is an important festival and a special ritual is mandatory for them. A speciality of the festival is laddu, a sweet made with jaggery. Many fairs and festivals are organized during the festival. It is celebrated by flying kites and kites of different varieties are available.
Time to celebration
The festival of Makar Sankranti lasts for three days and falls in the mid of the winter months.
The Hindu festival of Naag Panchami is a festival of snakes which is dedicated to the Naag Devta or the God of Serpents. Serpents play a significant role in Hindu mythology. To mention a few, Lord Vishnu’s seat is a green thousand-headed snake called Sesha who is believed to be capable of holding up the earth. Lord Shiva wears a snake as an ornament. Lord Krishna won a battle with the giant snake Kaliya and was given the name Kaliya Mardan.
During the festival, milk, ghee, sweets, water and rice are offered in front of snake holes. The tradition is that women fast on this auspicious day and draw images of snakes on the walls of the house. Different regions in India celebrate Naag Panchami in different ways. In Jodhpur, fairs are organized where effigies of snakes are displayed.
Time to celebrate
Naag Panchami is celebrated on the fifth day of Shravan in the months of July and August.
Introduction to the Narali Purnima
The state of Maharashtra is flanked by the azure stretch of the Arabian Sea. A substantial portion of the population of the state depends on the sea for a livelihood. Many fishermen go out to the sea regularly to earn their living. In addition to this, the Hindus look upon the sea as the purest among all bodies of water. In fact their reverence for the sea goes to the extent of regarding it as a symbol of all places of pilgrimage. So on this particular day they express their gratitude and pay their respect to the sea.
Time for celebrating the Narali Purnima Festival
Narali Purnima Festival is celebrated each year on the full moon day of the month of Shravan. It corresponds to the month of August in the Gregorian calendar.
Description of the Narali Purnima in Maharashtra
Of all the Fairs and Festivals in Maharashtra, this is one such festival where the greater share of fervor and enthusiasm is shown by the people belonging to the coastline. It is believed that Varuna or the sea god protects the sailors from any kind of impending doom. The people religiously offer their prayers to him so that he continues doing such favors. The prime offering constitutes coconuts. It is popularly known as Shirpal or the divine fruit. This fruit is believed to be full of symbolism. It has food and drink, both of which are required for human nourishment. Apart from that, it has a hard covering which is indicative of the fact that nothing can be obtained easily; any fruit can only be enjoyed only after persistent efforts.
The timing of the festival coincides with the ending of the monsoons. This marks the beginning of a new fishing season. That is why the fishermen all the more pray to Varuna and seek his blessings before starting anew. On the occasion of the celebration of this festival, they decorate their boats beautifully before setting out in them for the ocean. They strongly believe that every thing will go on smoothly only if Varuna is pleased with them and so they devoutly offer their prayers.
Puppet Theatre Festival
Introduction to the Puppet Theatre Festival
The Puppet Theatre Festival held in Mumbai is primarily a result of the zeal and endeavor of Sanjna Kapoor whose contribution to the cause of good theatre in Mumbai deserves superlative accolades. It is really very sad that puppetry as an art form is steadily losing popularity after the incursion of television. Only festivals such as these can prevent this art form from complete oblivion. And it is for this that her efforts should be appreciated. And if you too can manage to find some time to visit the shows, you are sure to be absolutely stunned by all that is there in store.
Time for celebrating the Puppet Theatre Festival
The Puppet Theatre Festival is celebrated each year in the month of November.
Description of the Puppet Theatre Festival in Maharashtra
The Prithvi Theatre in North Mumbai and the Experimental Theatre in the National Centre for Performing Arts in the south of the city serve as the venues of this Puppet Theatre Festival. The festival continues for 5 days and every day shows are held generally from 6.30 in the evening. It is best to check the timings with the organizers before purchasing the tickets because timings are liable to change. Tickets at very nominal rates are available. Apart from Indians, British, French and German countries also participate in this festival. The British Council, the Alliance Francaise and the Max Mueller Bhavan help out these countries respectively with the sponsorships. Their acts are also very appreciable and enthralling. Each year the festival has a new theme and the acts are based on those themes.
Most of the shows that are held here are meant for entertaining children. Small kids thoroughly enjoy the acts but this does not mean that there is nothing for the elders. In fact there are some shows which cater exclusively to a mature audience. The adults have a pleasurable time watching them. So if you are in Mumbai at this particular time of the year do make it a point to find some time to watch at least one show of the Puppet Theatre Festival and we are convinced that you will not be able to resist seeing another. Many of the Fairs and Festivals in Maharashtra are celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm but the uniqueness of this festival lies in the fact that it attempts to create awareness about a dying art in a very beautiful way.
Sawai Gandharva Sangeet Mahotsav
Introduction to the Sawai Gandharva Sangeet Mahotsav
The Sawai Gandharva Sangeet Mahotsav made a very humble beginning way back in the year 1953 and it has come a long way since then to emerge as one of the most prestigious music festivals not only in the state of Maharashtra but also in India. Sawai Gandharva was a stalwart of the Kirana Gharana of music and the mentor of Smt Gangubai Hangal, Pandit Feroz Dastur and Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, each of whom are very well recognized in the field of music. He passed away on 12th September, 1952 and the very next year his disciples decided to commemorate his death by organizing a music festival in his honor. It met with such phenomenal success in the year of its origin itself that they thought of arranging it each year. From then on it continued and now it has became one of the most awaited events in Pune's cultural calendar.
Time for celebrating the Sawai Gandharva Sangeet Mahotsav in Pune
The festival is celebrated annually in the month of December for a period of three days.
Description of the Sawai Gandharva Sangeet Mahotsav
The festival is a great platform for new comers to show case their talents. However many distinguished and renowned artistes also take to the stage. In fact one of the most unique aspects of this music festival is that it gives novices a chance to share space with accomplished artistes. They put up such delightful performances that the audiences are simply riveted to their seats.
This prestigious festival first started at Laxmi Krida Mandir but the venues have been changing in order to cope up with the large crowd which participates in the festival. It moved to Modibag, then to Renuka Swaroop School, English School grounds, finally in 1998 it was shifted to Ganesh Kala Krida Rangmanch. It is believed that the gathering which participates in this annual extravaganza each days numbers more than 15000. The organizers therefore had no other option but to shift the venues from downtown Pune to the outskirts of the city. It is increasingly gaining popularity because it delivers great music to the people.
The smooth and honeyed strain of Tukaram Daithankar's shehnai, the mesmerizing voices of Pandit Jasraj, Gangubai Hangal, Parveen Sultana and Malini Rajurkar, the Noteworthy performances of classical vocalists like Shaunak Abhishekhi, Ganpati Bhat, Sandipan Samajpati, Shalmali Joshi and Yadavraj Phad keep the audience enthralled. The concerts simply cast a spell over them all. Not necessarily that each and every one of these eminent artistes perform each year but it is definitely an occasion when Pune gets to witness the talents of several acclaimed classical musicians of the country.
Shravani Purnima / Rakhi Purnima / Raksha Bandhan
Celebrated on a full moon day, Shravani Purnima / Rakhi Purnima / Raksha Bandhan is an important day in all regions of India. Raksha Bandhan is considered a day of prayers devoted to Lord Varuna, the god of the sea.
In the southern parts of India, Shravani Purnima / Rakhi Purnima / Raksha Bandhan is called Avani Avittam. On this day the Brahmins take a dip in the holy water and replace their old holy thread, Janeyu with a new one. On this auspicious day they perform Shravani or Rishi Tarpan.
In north India this day is also known as Kajri Purnima or Kajri Navami. This day begins with the sowing of wheat or barley. Goddess Bhagwati is worshipped on this day.
On this auspicious day different regions of India celebrate differently. In the western parts of India people offer water to the Shiva lingam and offer prayers for forgiveness.
Time to celebrate
Shravani Purnima / Rakhi Purnima / Raksha Bandhan is celebrated in the Indian month of Shravana which is usually in the month of March.