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India's NOVEMBER Festivities

The November festivals of India are the other versions of the foundation of faith; faith in the religious harmony and faith in the prosperous future of the nation as manifested by its children. November is an excellent month to visit India as the weather starts becoming cooler and dryer. Here’s the best of what’s on in November in India .


  Children's Day celebrations

Children’s day is a special day for the children. Universally, Children’s Day is celebrated on 20th November, every year as declared by the United Nations in 1954. But in India it is celebrated on 14th November, because the date marks the birth anniversary of legendary freedom fighter and independent India’s first Prime Minister – Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. As a tribute to Nehru and his love for children, Children’s Day is celebrated on his birth date. This day reminds to each and every one of us, to renew our commitment to the welfare of children and teach them to live by their Chacha Nehru’s quality and dream. For children, it is a day of much fun and fanfare. On this day, various departments of government announce various schemes and organize various competitions and events for the children. Most schools have cultural programmes for the day. All over the country, various cultural, social and even corporate institutions conduct competitions for children. Children celebrate the day with singing, dancing and storytelling in schools and colleges. This day parent and teachers send cards to their children.


  Devotee worshiping Durga on the eve of Navratri

Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of the Sikh faith was born in 1469 A.D. in the village of Talwandi in Lahore, Pakistan. Guru Nanak Dev Jayanti marks the birth anniversary of the founder of the Sikh religion. Guru Nanak Jayanti is marked by prabhat pheris or early morning processions that begins from the Gurudwaras and then moves to different localities singing hymns or shabads. Usually two days before the birthday of Guru Nanak, ‘Akhand Path’ or forty eight hour non-stop reading of the holy book of the Sikhs, Guru Granth Sahib is carried on at the Gurudwaras. A procession is carried out on the day before his birthday which is led by the Panj Pyaras (five beloved ones). Sikh flag, or the Nishan Sahib and the Palki (palanquin) of Sri Guru Granth Sahib are taken out in the procession. The procession also includes a group of singers singing hymns in praise of Guru Nanak and Gatka teams displaying their showmanship through martial arts. The langar (special community lunch) along with ‘Karah Prasad’ is offered to men and women of all communities at the Gurudwaras.


  Worshipping Lord Vishnu during Kartik Purnima

Kartik Purnima Festival is one of the most important religious festivals in November, observed on the full moon day of the Kartik month. The mythological belief says that gods and goddesses descend from heaven and reside by the Ganges on this auspicious day. People celebrate with prayers, offerings to the God and a holy bath in the Ganges. Also known as ‘Tripuri Purnima’ or ‘Tripurari Purnima’, the festival is a celebration of Lord Shiva’s victory over the demon, Tripurasara. This festival is also celebrated in honour of Lord Vishnu. On this day, he had incarnated as Matsya, which is his very first avatar. The significance of this festival increases when it falls in the Nakshatra Krittika (lunar mansion). This is when it is called Maha Kartik.


  Wangala Festival in Meghalaya

Wangala Festival of Meghalaya is a most popular festival among the Garos of Meghalaya, India. Wangala Festival is a harvest festival held in honour of Saljong, the Sun-god of fertility. The celebration of the Wangala Festival marks the end of a period of toil, which brings good output of the fields. It also signifies the onset of winter. Also known as a 100 drums festival, Wangala Festival is the occasion when the tribals offer sacrifices to please their main deity Saljong - the Sun God. It is generally celebrated for two days and sometimes continues for even a week. The ceremony performed on first day is known as “Ragula” is performed inside the house of the chief. On the second day is known as “Kakkat”. People young and old dressed in their colourful costumes with feathered headgears dance to the tune of music played on long oval-shaped drums. This is the occasion to relax and for days the hills and valleys echoes with the extraordinary beat of drums. The popular dance forms are performed during the festival, itself has certain subtle variations, the main motif being a queue of two parallel lines - one of men and other of women clad in their festive fineries. Young and old join the festivities with equal enthusiasm. While the men beat the drums, the line moves forward in rhythmic accord. The ‘orchestra’ of men includes drums, gong and flutes, punctuated by the sonorous music of an primitive flute made of buffalo horn. There is a notable sense of tempo in the performers, young and old, and the energetic dance leaves a lasting impression upon the beholder. Basically, the Wangala Festival is a way to preserve and promote the cultural identity of Garos in Meghalaya. This is one way to exhibit the culture and tradition of the region.


  Pushkar Camel Fair

Pushkar Camel Fair is one of the most celebrated Indian festivals in the month of November, attracting travelers from all over India as well as the world. Here, villagers trade camel, horses, and cows and a large number of the folk events are also performed. These include traditional dances and songs. This is a seven-day colorful, unique exhibition that attracts many tourists from all over the world. Apart from trading livestock, the main attractions of the fiesta are camel and horse races, cultural performances, exhibitions, magic shows, the longest mustache competition, bridal competition, and much more. Besides, this fair is renowned for being one of the world’s largest cattle fairs. This gives you an opportunity to observe the sheer beauty of this majestic desert city. It is plausible to witness the scenes of the fair from above. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that one should not miss. During this time, one can spend some time with the locals and get a deep insight into rural India in its pure form.

(For full stories read SAFARI INDIA)