South India Festivals

The south India Festivals are unique and amazing. South India tours are the exclusive tour of beaches, historic places, temples etc. It has rich culture and famous for their passion for religion tradition, and custom. People of south India follow very ritualistic lifestyle. The tourists visiting South India during festive time will definitely try not to miss the celebrations of the festivals. Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Pondicherry are the main cities where distinctive festivals are to be celebrated.

Pongal

Location: Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh
Held In: This is the four days festival that is 13 January (Bhogi), 14 January (Pongal), 15 January (Mattu Pongal), and 16 January (Surya Pongal).

Pongal is the most popular festival of south India which is celebrated in Tamil Nadu. It is harvest festival and it is celebrated over 4 days in the month of January. On the first day people clean up their home and places this is called Bhogi then all wastage things are on fire. On the second day people worship and offering prayers while paying homage to Sun God that is called Surya Pongal. On the third day it’s time to pay homage to cattle various animals are decorated and given food. The fourth day is biggest day people get gathered at various places and celebrate the last day with dance, music and feast. There are few interesting legends behind the Pongal celebrations. The most popular among them related to the celebrations of the first day of the Pongal festival goes like this - Lord Krishna lifted the Govardhan Mountain on his little finger to shelter his people and save them from being washed away by the rains and floods.

Onam

Location: Kerala
Held In: The first month of Malayalam calandar is the time for Onam celebration. The month known as Chingam corresponds to August-September in Gregorian calendar.

Onam is the biggest and the most inimitable festival of South India which is the most celebrated in the Kerala. This festivals is celebrated maximum for 10 ten days. A large number of foreign tourists plan their vacations in India around Onam so that they can be a part of the grand celebrations that mark this festival. On the first day girls decorate their house with Pookalam and designer flora carpet. People take bath and offer prayers in their local temples. On the Second Day Chithira is to be celebrated and Third day Chodhi is to celebrated. On the fourth Day it’s time to shopping of gift items. Fifth day, Anizham has an extremely special event being organised. This is the internationally renowned the Grand Snake Boat Race event called Vallamkali. By sixth (Thriketa) and seventh (Moolam) day, Keralaites staying away from their family, in other parts of India or even abroad start pouring in to be a part of the mega event on the tenth day. Day eight (Pooradam) is when the devotees begin to create clay pyramid shaped idols which is called Ma or Poorada Uttigal. Uthradam, the ninth day sees the festivities climbing a new high. Infact, for many Onam begins on the ninth day itself. This is the day of giving gifts and meeting other people warmly. Finally the tenth day ends the long wait and Thiruonam arrives with enthusiasm, happiness as well as devotion dominating the atmosphere. People take bath and wear new clothes.

Aaranmula Boat Race

Location: Kerala
Held In: August/ September

Aaranmula Boat Race is second famous festival of Kerala of South India. It is famous for 100 feet long boat race. This river carnival is part of the Aaranmula Temple festival. Aranmula Uthrittathi Vallomkali is conducted in the Pamba River in front of Sri Parthasarathi Temple. Though, large snake boats take part in this festival they do not race with each other. Instead, they row in union, to the accompaniment of songs and reach their destination together because Lord Krishna is believed to be present in each boat.

Nehru Trophy Boat Race

Location: Alappuzha, Kerala
Held In: 2nd Saturday of August every year.

Nehru Trophy Boat Race is the annual water carnival at Punnamada Lake in Alappuzha is considered as the biggest snake boat race in the world. It is the festival of Kerala. This annual regatta is held on the Punnamada Backwaters of Alappuzha district on the second Saturday of August.

Thrissur Pooram Festival

Location: Thrissur, Kerala
Held In: April/May

Thrissur Pooram Festival is the festivals of festivals. It is conducted at the great Vadakkunnatha temple of Trissur. Thrissur is best known for its mammoth Pooram Festival, which is the most colourful and spectacular temple festival of Kerala. In the evening of Pooram day, two lines of 13 elephants face each other, on the ground south to the temple. Each Pachyderm bears an umbrella holder, a peacock fan carrier and a yak-tail fly whisk wielder. Between the two lines of elephants stand percussion and wind orchestras. As each orchestra reaches a crescendo, a new display of brilliant ceremonial umbrellas blossoms over the elephants and the supporting crowd applauds. This continues till sunset when the elephants depart and late at night, the darkness explodes with a magnificent fireworks display.

Chithirai Festival

Location: Thrissur, Kerala
Held In: April/May

Chithirai Festival is a mammoth spectacle with rows upon rows of caparisoned elephants bedecked with ornaments. The elephants face each other in two straight, disciplined rows – with the grace and nobility of a royal entourage. The ancient resonance of Panchavadhyam, the five instruments comprising the conch, cymbals, trumpet and two kinds of drums, build up the final, glorious crescendo of the spectacle.

Natyanjali Dance Festival

Location: Tamil Nadu
Held In: February/March

Natyanjali Dance Festival is dedicated to Lord Natraja, the cosmic dancer. It is marked by dance and music activities. Natyanjali festival opens on the auspicious occasion of the Maha Shivaratri day and of course in the right kind of venue - the 'Prakara' of the Chidambaram temple. This is an opportunity for all dancers, from all over India, to perform and to pay their tribute to Lord Nataraja.

Kavadi Festival

Location: Tamil Nadu
Held In: April/May

The Kavadi festival is celebrated at all shrines of Lord Muruga. Dancing in a hypnotic stupor to the rhythm of drums, devotees of Muruga carry the Kavadi all the way up the Palani hills to fulfill their vow. Ettukudi Kavadi Festival is a famous festival celebrated during the months of April-May. Devotees from places and villages around this temple come here with Kavadis, milk pots, coconuts, cocks and goats. This is a major crowd pulling festival where one can see the true Tamil culture in its habitat.

Karthigai Deepam

Location: Tamil Nadu
Held In: Karthigai

Karthigai Deepam is famous and the oldest festival of Tamil Nadu. The month of Karthigai is of special importance to Tamil people, which derives its name from the star 'Krithigai'. Lord Shiva, with His divine light, created Lord Muruga, in this month. This festival is considered as the extension of the Deepavali festival. In some houses, they double the number of lamps every day from the day of Deepavali and this way, they end up with a number of lamps on the day of Karthigai Deepam. On this day, people clean their houses and draw 'Kolams' (Rangoli) in front of the house and also place some lamps on it. They place the lamps ('Agal') in the puja room and light them and after the 'Deeparathana' (puja) the lamps are moved to the different places in the house. The lamps glow all over the streets on this day. Karthigai Deepam falls in the Tamil month of Karthigai when the star Krithigai is on the ascendant and usually occurs on a full moon day.

Hampi Festival

Location: Karnataka
Held In: November

Hampi Festival is celebrated with great eagerness which clearly reflects in the dance and music performance held during the festival. It is celebrated in the first week of November. Other important festivals are Pattadakkal Dance Festival, Makar Sankranti, Hoysala Mahotsav and Ganesh Chaturthi. Yagudi, Dussehra, Karaga, etc are also the most celebrated festivals of Karnataka.
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