By Reya Mehrotra
It’s summer and the spring season calls for a celebration of nature and culture. Every year, several parts of the country celebrate summer festivals with various shows and cultural extravaganza. An array of newly bloomed flowers is the most common sight as flower shows play a big part in summer festivals. Here we bring you some popular summer festivals celebrated across the country.
Chithirai festival of Madurai is celebrated in the month of Chthirai, that is, between April 14 and May 13. The 12-day festival this year began on April 15. However, this year, devotees are only allowed darshan at given time slots. The first half of the month celebrates the coronation of goddess Meenakshi and her marriage to Lord Sundareswara and the second half celebrates the journey of Lord Alagar to Madurai from Kallazhaghar temple.
Shimla Summer Festival
The five-day carnival celebrated in May marks the arrival of summer in Shimla and is a tribute to the gods for the harvest. It first started in 1960 and since then has become a tourist attraction. A number of renowned artists perform at the festival. A flower show is organised to present the visitors with a colourful spectacle. From fashion shows to sports tournaments, ice skating to music festival, one can find everything here. Local food dishes that make up Himachal’s cuisine and photography competitions that give a platform to budding photographers are also major attractions.
Ooty Summer Festival
The resort town in Tamil Nadu is famous for its picturesque sites and scenery. A number of festivals are held in the town throughout the year, but most of them are held during the summer. Every year in the month of May, Tamil Nadu’s tourism department organises Ooty Summer Festival to boost tourism. Cultural programmes, boat races, flower shows, local handicrafts made by artisans, folk dances are organised for the visitors.
Yercaud Summer Festival
A hill station in Tamil Nadu, Yercaud is known for its coffee, spice and fruit plantations. The summer festival in Yercaud is held every year in May. Several events like flower shows, musical concerts, dog shows, boat races, various cultural and village shows are part of the festival. A number of tourists attend the festival. It celebrates the local deity and gives the message of the importance of preserving nature and planting more trees. The flower show is held at the National Orchidarium and Botanical Garden of Yercaud which consists of more than 100 varieties of 50,000 potted plants. Since Yercaud has a moderate and humid climate and is generally pleasant between March and May, it makes for a good time to visit the place.
Mount Abu Summer Festival
The summer festival of Mount Abu, a hill station in Rajasthan, is held in May for two days during Buddha Poornima. The summer festival is held with great enthusiasm as the weather, lush greenery and natural beauty of the place make it a good time for tourists to visit. Fireworks, dance, music, competitions, activities are held during the festival. Musicians sing ballads and traditional folk dances are performed. A boat race is organised at the Nakki Lake and well-known singers of the state perform qawwalis during the evening. The extravaganza brings out Rajasthan’s vibrancy and culture.
The festival is celebrated in Nagaland every year in the month of May by the Ao people, a major ethnic group in Nagaland. It is celebrated when the seeds are sown in the fields after clearing them. It marks harmony and unity as people sing, dance and celebrate together while expressing gratitude for the abundance and blessings. The best-made rice wine is awarded after a competition. It is an important source of tourism and is celebrated with splendour. The entire village is cleaned for the festival as men and women sit around a large bonfire. Animals are reared for the festival and the strongest one is used for meat.
International flower show, Sikkim
Held in the capital of Sikkim, Gangtok, the month-long festival is celebrated in May. It is held at a time when nature is in full bloom, flowers are sprouting in all colours and the river is flowing from the mountains. Exhibitions, food festival, flower shows, cultural programmes, competitions make up for the festival. Some adventurous activities include river rafting, yak safari, trekking and mountain biking. The flower exhibition takes place in the Flower Exhibition Centre or the White Hall Complex of Gangtok. Around 250 different species of plants, tress and ferns, 30 species of rhododendron and 600 species of orchids are put on display.