Rajasthan calls for celebrating winter like royals
December 12 (TravelAndy): A nip in the air, and the land of the maharajas beckons one and all to join in its rich festivities — Ranakpur Festival, Winter Festival at Mount Abu, Camel Festival, Kite Festival, and Jaipur Literature Fest, all to be held in the chilly months of December 2018, and January 2019.
Ranakpur, located in the district of Pali, is all set to host the annual Ranakpur Festival, organised by the Department of Tourism, Rajasthan, on December 21 and 22. One of the most loved festivals of the state, it takes visitors, both local and international, to a journey to the depths of the local art and culture through fun activities. The winter nights come alive with cultural performances at the open-air amphitheatre at the Sun Temple, while daytime sees nature hikes at the foothills of the Aravalli range, along with hot air ballooning, tours of the Ranakpur Jain temple, and yoga sessions.
Mount Abu’s Winter Festival will see thousands pouring in from all corners of the world on December 29 and 30, like every year. The festival offers an intimate insight into Rajasthan’s rich heritage — gorgeous handicrafts, scrumptious food, literature, eye-catching performances, even kite-flying and rowing contests, all set against the stunning background of Mount Abu. While the festival kicks off with a magnificent procession, it ends with floating of earthen lamps in the water, a tradition known as ‘Deepdaan’, in the evening, followed by a fantastic display of fireworks.
January 2019 will witness an array of festivities across Rajasthan, of which the annual Bikaner Camel Festival is undeniably one of the most popular ones. The two-day festival celebrating the beauty and strength of Bikaner’s ‘ship of the desert’ will be organised by Rajasthan Tourism on January 13 and 14. Day one starts with decked up camels parading from the Junagarh Fort to Dr. Karni Singh Stadium, where thousands cheer for camel pageants, camel milking and other contests. Cultural programmes amid loud applause call it a night. The second day of the festival is known to be a favourite among foreigners, as they get to participate in contests such as turban tying, that gives them a first hand flavour of the regional culture. There are several other contests to choose from including wrestling, kabaddi, and water pot race. Traditional performances and fireworks announce the end of the vibrant carnival.
The occasion of ‘Makar Sankranti’, believed to mark the end of harsh winter, is celebrated all over Rajasthan with respect and style, mainly through feasts and kite flying. Visitors can experience both kite wars as well as friendly kite flying at the Jaipur Kite Festival, to be held on January 14. People throng to the roofs of their houses to fly kites, thereby transforming the Jaipur sky into a gorgeous kaleidoscope.
Literature lovers wait for an entire year for the prestigious Jaipur Literature Fest, that welcomes the best known writers and poets from the world over. The annual fest that attracts literature enthusiasts from far and wide will open its gates from January 24 to 28.