Famous Fairs and Festivals in Madhya Pradesh
Just like any other part of India, Madhya Pradesh hosts several fairs and festivals throughout the year. All the fairs and festivals are observed with great zeal and enthusiasm. While some are based on cultural values, others are celebrated owing to seasonal changes. No matter what the reason for the celebration is, fairs and festivals include a lot of dance and music along with local customs and traditions. Though there are festivals that are celebrated all across the country, there are some specific ones, which are observed in particular regions of Madhya Pradesh. During the festive season in Madhya Pradesh (the heart of India), tourists can explore the most colorful side of the state.
Most Popular Fairs and Festivals in Madhya Pradesh
People in Madhya Pradesh celebrate every occasion with great pomp and show. If you wish to join the vibrant celebrations of the fairs and festivals, check out the following list, which enlists the most popular fairs and festivals celebrated in Madhya Pradesh:
- Khajuraho Dance Festival
- Ujjain Kumbh Mela
- Lokrang Festival
- Nagaji Fair
- Bhagoria Haat Festival
- Tansen Music Festival
- Pachmarhi Utsav
Khajuraho Dance Festival
Khajuraho Dance Festival is a world-famous dance festival organized by Madhya Pradesh Kala Parishad. It is celebrated to promote the cultural heritage of India all across the world. The one-week festival is held against the picturesque backdrop of the Western group of Khajuraho temples. Observed annually, the festival features beautiful dance performances by world-renowned artists. The dance forms that one can enjoy viewing are Kathak, Odissi, Kuchipudi, Bharatanatyam, Manipuri, and Kathakali along with modern Indian dance forms. During the festival, Khajuraho temples serve as a marvelous background and are illuminated. The dance performances are given in an open-air auditorium, which is established usually onward of Chitragupta Temple (dedicated to Sun God) and Vishwanath Temple (dedicated to Lord Shiva). As per the mythological beliefs, the festival is celebrated as a dedication to the creators of temples and deities. Besides dance performances, tourists can also shop for sculptures, artifacts, and other craft items from an open-air market. In all, Khajuraho Dance Festival allows tourists to gain insights into the culture and art forms of India.
- Where: Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh
- Duration: One week
- Theme: Indian dance forms
Ujjain Kumbh Mela
Famous as the world’s largest religious gathering, Kumbh Mela is an ancient Hindu festival, which is observed in a cycle of 12 years at four different locations. Ujjain is one of those four locations, the other three being Haridwar, Allahabad (Prayagraj), and Nashik. The mela signifies the victory of good over evil. The event takes place on the banks of River Shipra in Ujjain. It is believed that the ones, who take a dip in a holy river, get liberated from the cycle of rebirth and are cleansed of all the sins. Besides, there are several other activities in fair, such as devotional discussions, religious singing, and mass feeding of holy men and poor. To be precise, Kumbh Mela celebrates the belief of people in divinity. Owing to its occurrence when Jupiter is in Leo (April – May), it is referred to by different names like Simhastha or Sinhastha or Singhastha. The festival may last up to three days but the main bathing ritual, i.e., snana takes place on the full moon day in the Vaisakha month of Hindu calendar.
- Where: Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh
- Duration: One month – three months
- Theme: Hinduism.
Lokrang Festival is a cultural event, which is held annually in Bhopal. During the festival, the best dancers and musicians perform, making the environment festive. Organized by Madhya Pradesh Adivasi Lok Kala Academy, the event aims at eliminating the differences among locals, based on area and lifestyle. The theme of the festival varies from time to time. While sometimes, the festival features West Indian forms, other times, it focuses on North Indian forms of art. Along with performances, local art and crafts are put on display through exhibitions. In all, the festival commemorates Indian art and culture.
- Where: Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh
- Duration: Five days
- Theme: Indian folk art forms
Nagaji Fair is mainly observed in tribal areas of Madhya Pradesh. The fair is hosted as a reminiscence to Nagaji Maharaj, who was a devout follower of Naga lineage and used to live in Porsa (a small town in Morena, Madhya Pradesh) during the Mughal Emperor Akbar’s reign. Residents from nearby villages and tribes gather on the occasion of Nagaji Fair in Porsa during the winter season (November – December). In early times, the fair was a platform for donkey trade but over time, things have changed and today, domestic animals are traded during the fair. In addition to the animal trade, various traditional and cultural activities take place during the occasion. The tribals also give dance and music performances. In a nutshell, the entire tribal region becomes lively during the Nagaji Fair.
- Where: Morena, Madhya Pradesh
- Duration: One month
- Theme: Tribal culture
Bhagoria Haat Festival
Counted amongst the most amusing festivals celebrated in India, Bhagoria Haat Festival is a one-of-its-kind observed by the Bhils and Bhilalas. During this festival, young girls and boys are allowed to elope after choosing their partners. The haat is organized in the form of a swayamvar, where the girls are supposed to choose a man from several suitors. The boys and girls put red powder on each others’ faces to demonstrate their liking. Further, they run away ritualistically and no one can deny their relationship. Later on, they get married as per the norms of society. On the contrary, if a girl refuses the proposal, the boy chases her and tries to convince her for marriage. Bhagoria Haat Festival coincides with the end of the harvesting season, i.e. in March before Holi. That is why some people celebrate the occasion to mark the completion of the harvest. Though the concept of the festival is quite different, it is celebrated with the same fervor and enthusiasm by the local people.
- Where: Jabhua and West Nimar districts, Madhya Pradesh
- Theme: Tribal culture
Tansen Music Festival
In case you happen to be a music lover, the Tansen Music Festival is a perfect event for you. Also known as Tansen Sangeet Sammelan or Tansen Utsav, it is a musical festival, hosted in the memory of famous music legend, Tansen, who was one of the nine gems in Mughal Emperor Akbar’s court. He used to be famous for creating rhythmic ragas. During the festival, musicians from all across the country gather to perform their pieces. The festival is observed in Behat near the Tomb of Tansen. The music festival is observed annually in the winter season (November – December).
- Where: Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh
- Duration: Five days
- Theme: Indian classical music
It is a craft fair, organized annually in December. The fair aims at displaying the handicraft items created by local artisans and craftsmen. Moreover, cultural evenings are organized during the festival. Performers of national as well as international fame gather to make the event an enjoyable one. Most of the programs showcase the diverse folk art of the country. Furthermore, a variety of stalls are put up selling different products like papad, spices, pickles, bamboo crafts, sarees, dress material, woolens, carpets, etc. Visitors can also feast their taste buds with local savories. In all, Pachmarhi Utsav aims at preserving the rich cultural heritage of India.
- Where: Pachmarhi, Madhya Pradesh
- Duration: Six days
- Theme: Indian folk art and culture
As you have read about so many interesting fairs and festivals hosted in Madhya Pradesh, you must be excited to have the first-hand experience. If yes, don’t delay anymore and plan a trip to the central state of India at the earliest. The fairs and festivals in Madhya Pradesh will surely enlighten you with the vibrant culture of India.