As the heat of summer approaches, the number of events in India dwindles. However, there are a few festivals that will be a highlight of your trip. Here's the best of what's on in India in April (listed by date).
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Spring is when Kashmir is at its most picturesque, and is also the season for flowering tulips. This special time of year is beautifully captured by the Tulip Festival in Srinagar, home to Asia's largest tulip garden. As well as the arresting sight of more than a million blooms, the festival features daily cultural programs, Kashmiri folk songs, sale of local handicrafts, and traditional Kashmiri cuisine.
- When: First two weeks of April.
- Where: Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden, Srinagar, Kashmir. It's located in the foothills of Zabarwan range, overlooking Dal Lake.
- Cost: Entry to the Tulip Garden is 50 rupees for adults and 20 rupees for children.
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The Aoling Festival of the Konyak Tribe
Once deadly headhunters, the fascinating Konyak tribe now lives peacefully, spending most of their time practicing agriculture, drinking local alcohol, smoking opium (and occasionally hunting). After having completed the sowing of seeds each year, the tribe celebrates their most important festival, the Aoling Festival, which marks the beginning of spring season and a new year. Holiday Scout is running a 12 night tour to the Aoling Festival, Mopin Festival, and Kaziranga National Park.
- When: April 1-6 each year.
- Where: Mon district of Nagaland in North East India.
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Mopin is the harvest festival of the hospitable Galo tribe, focused on the worship of goddess Mopin. It's celebrated to drive away evil spirits, and for acquiring prosperity and wealth. An indigenous folk dance called Popir, performed by young women, is a highlight of the festival. Traditional rice wine (apong), prepared by Galo women, is also served.
- When: April 5-6, 2017.
- Where: East Siang and West Siang districts of Arunachal Pradesh. Festivities take place on a grand scale at Mopin Ground, Naharlagun, near capital city Itanagar.
- Tour: Aoling & Mopin Festival and Kaziranga Tour with Holiday Scout
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The festival of Ram Navami marks the birthday of Lord Rama, the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu. It's celebrated in a religious manner all over India.
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- When: April 5, 2017.
- Where: Religious celebrations and processions take place at Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh, Bhadrachalam in Andhra Pradesh (there's a popular ceremonial wedding of Ram and Sita), and Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu.
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Yet another Kerala temple festival, the Arattupuzha Pooram is a particularly large elephant pageant featuring around 60 elephants bearing brightly colored silk parasols. It's one of the oldest temple festivals in Kerala. Legend has it that on the day of the festival, 101 gods and goddesses from the neighboring villages visited Sree Ayyappan, the presiding deity of the Arattupuzha Temple.
- When: April 8, 2017.
- Where: Arattupuzha Temple, in the Thrissur district of Kerala.
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This 10 day festival, celebrated by the royal family of Travencore (a former princely state in south Kerala), sees towering fiberglass statues of the Pandavas (the five sons of Pandu in the Hindu epic the Mahabharata) placed at the eastern entrance to the temple to please the Rain God, Indra. On the last day, the male members of the royal family take the idols in procession to be immersed at Sanghumugham beach.
- When: April 10, 2017.
- Where: Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple, Trivandrum, Kerala.
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Baisakhi is a harvest festival, a Punjabi new year festival, and commemoration of the founding of the Khalsa (Sikh religion brotherhood) all rolled into one occasion. It's celebrated with a great deal of feasting, bhangra dancing, folk music, and fairs. Major celebrations are organized at the Golden Temple in Amritsar, and it becomes carnival-like outside. There's also a street procession.
- When: April 14, 2017.
- Where: Throughout the state of Punjab, particularly in Amritsar. A Baisakhi Mela will also be held in Delhi from April 7-9, at Dilli Haat in Pitampura.
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Bihu is the main festival of Assam, in north east India. This agricultural festival occurs three times a year but the biggest celebration, known as Bohag Bihu or Rongali Bihu, happens in April. It's celebrated for three days and marks the start of the new year there, as well as seeding time in spring. The first day is dedicated to the cows, which are vital to agriculture. The second day is spent visiting friends and relatives, along with plenty of singing and dancing. On the third day, deities are worshiped.
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- When: April 14-16, 2017.
- Where: Assam.
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Padayani is a performing art form of southern Kerala, particularly central Travancore. It's connected with the festivals of certain temples, and is carried out by villagers accompanied by traditional music and drumming. The performers dress up in costumes consisting of huge masks. The main ones embody Bhairavi (Kali), Kalan (god of death), Yakshi (fairy) and Pakshi (bird).
- When: April 14-21, 2017.
- Where: Kadammanitta Devi Temple, Pathanamthitta district, Kerala.
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Sankat Mochan Musical Festival
The first Sankat Mochan Musical Festival was held in 1923, and since then it's attracted acclaimed classical musicians and dancers to perform from all over India. Recitals are held every evening in the temple courtyard and go on until dawn, as part of Hanuman Jayanti (birthday of Lord Hanuman) celebrations.
- When: 15-19 April, 2017.
- Where: Sankat Mochan Hanuman temple, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh.
- Varanasi Essential Travel Guide
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- 7 Best Riverside Hotels in Varanasi for All Budgets
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The Chithirai Festival is one of the biggest celebrations in Madurai. It re-enacts the wedding of Lord Sundareswarar (Lord Shiva) and Goddess Meenakshi (Lord Vishnu's sister). Legend has it that Lord Vishnu came to Madurai, mounted on a golden horse, to witness the wedding.
- When: April 28-May 13, 2017.
- Where: Meenakshi Temple, Madurai, Tamil Nadu.