India has been recognized as a land of diverse culture. It has a rich cultural history as different parts of this country were ruled by different dynasties at different times. This diversity of race, culture, people and their traditions makes India a class apart. Apart from the many religious festivals that are celebrated in India, there are plenty of other fun celebrations where you can eat and shop to your heart’s content. Owing to the diversity of culture and traditions and the vastness, India has a large variety of cuisines, each more delicious than the next. Of course, it is not possible for you to travel all over India (though you should) to try all the food. Hence, there are a number of food festivals organized in various parts of the country, where you can sample various Indian delicacies and also shop for handicrafts, etc. In this article, we have made a list of the top 10 festivals in the country that bring tourists and travellers the opportunity to taste local cuisine and shop for different products.
Are you a lover of butter chicken and parathas? Come to the capital in January and join the crowds enjoying some excellent Indian cuisines. People of more than 12 states across the country participate in the festival and prepare some of the best Indian recipes. The variety offered at the great Indian festival attracts food lovers from various parts of the country. The festival comprises more than 75 stalls where you can enjoy popular Indian food items like butter chicken, galouti kebab, parathas, different types of chaat and many other food items. Here, you can also participate in various food-eating competitions like golgappa-gulping and vadapav-eating competitions.
The NASVI National Street Food Festival is one of the most popular food festivals in North India. The festival paves the way for food lovers to taste a wide variety of delicious street foods brought from different parts of the country. The festival is held between the months of December and January, and it brings the opportunity to explore the richness and variety of India street foods, such as vada pav, dabeli, bhelpuri, sevpuri, chaat, etc.
Kolkata is believed to be the cultural hub of the East India and when it comes to preparing delicious food items, Bengalis are unique and peerless. In order to encourage and promote Bengalis’ passion for foods, the state government has taken several measures and the Ahare Bangla food festival is one of them.
If you want to enjoy the taste of classic Bengali dishes including a number of popular fish and meat items, you should visit Kolkata in the month of October. Ahare Bangla is a great festival for foodies across the country, as it represents the food culture of all of Eastern India.
The concept of food truck festivals in India has gained huge popularity. The event is organised in every major city across India. You can taste different foods of varied cuisines, sweets, baked goods and snacks from India and all over the world. The vibe at these events is fun and casual, and you get to try various types of foods and cuisines. There are over 20 food trucks at these festivals where you can enjoy some excellent music, food and drinks.
If you are in Delhi, you should not miss the “Horn OK” food festival, which is a popular food truck festival visited by thousands every day. Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Ahmedabad are some of the cities where you can attend such festivals.
The North-East Slow Food and Agro-Biodiversity Society (NESFAS) has taken an initiative to preserve and promote the food culture of India’s north-eastern region and Mei Ram-ew is a part of it. If you are in this region or just planning to visit it, you should visit Mawphlang village in Meghalaya to taste the delicious cuisine of the North Indian states. The Mei Ram-ew food festival is organised in the month of December and the ethnic food festival mostly represents regional foods prepared and served by locals.
If you are a lover of music, food and wine, then the Sula Fest held in Nashik in February is definitely for you. The wine-themed festival is quite popular in Western India. People from different parts of the country gather at the Sula Vineyards in Nashik to taste different cuisines along with various types of liquor and some excellent performances and music. You will get opportunities to learn more about wine preparation, as a number of wine-making companies have their stalls here and invite attendees to taste various types of wine.
The Pushkar fair is a multi-day livestock fair held in Pushkar in Rajasthan between the months of October and November. The livestock fair attracts more than 2,00,000 visitors every year, where both domestic and foreign travellers come to enjoy the trade of camel, horse, sheep, cows, and goats, etc. The fair takes place around the Pushkar Lake, where sellers from different parts of Rajasthan gather and put up stalls selling handicrafts, clothes, jewellery, fabrics and many other things.
The Surajkund Fair is held from 1st February to the 15th February every year near the Surajkund lake in Faridabad, Haryana. This festival is extremely popular in this part of the country, and if you are visiting at this time, you must visit this fair. It has stalls selling everything from clothes to household goods to decorative items from all over the country. It also has some international stalls from countries like Turkey, Afghanistan, Greece, etc. This fair is a shopper’s paradise. It also has food stalls selling food specialities from various parts of the country.
If you are planning a trip to Goa, then try and plan it in such a way that it coincides with the Goa carnival. The Goa carnival is a 3 to 4-day event held every year in Goa in February or March. This event is basically a celebration of Goa and its history and culture. You will see colourful floats and parades on the streets and everyone is in the party mood. This is one of the most fun festivals in India and you can witness 3 days of non-stop festivities and revelry. Enjoy Goan food and drinks and become a part of the merriment.
Folk festivals give us an opportunity to explore indigenous art and craft. West Bengal’s Bishnupur Festival is held in December, and it is very famous for terracotta handicrafts. Bishnupur is known for its handloom and pottery industries and its local handicrafts are quite popular across India. You can also interact with local artisans and enjoy local foods and drinks at the festival. This is an ideal place to shop for souvenirs and other goods.
The above-mentioned fairs and festivals are some of the most unique and fun-filled events held all over India, and you should be a part of at least some of these. Try and plan your trip to India in such a way, that you can attend at least some of these fests. This is the best way to get to know the food, arts and the people of this diverse country, and you can also get some great bargains in the process. India has been a popular destination for foreign travellers for a long time and you won’t have any trouble regarding accommodation and other amenities here.