December 2020 India Festivals and Events Guide

What's On in India in December 2020

Odissi dancers striking a pose at Konark temple.
Visage/Getty Images

India comes alive in December with an eclectic mix of traditional and modern festivals and events. From classical to electronic dance music, and local performers to international DJs, it's all on offer. Not to forget Christmas celebrations as well! Here's the best of what's on in December in India (listed by date).

Do note than many celebrations have been curtailed or canceled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Details, where available, are provided below.

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Rann Utsav

Rann Utsav

Rann Utsav/Gujarat Tourism.


Set against the surreal backdrop of Kutch's white salt desert, the Rann Utsav showcases the region's culture and heritage (although it has unfortunately become rather commercial and overcrowded). Activities include folk dances and music, food stalls, ATV rides, camel cart excursions, para-motoring, meditation, yoga, and trips to surrounding destinations. A luxury tent village is constructed on the fringe of the salt desert to accommodate visitors. Gujarat Tourism offers package tours. Read more about how to visit the Great Rann of Kutch.

  • When: Ongoing until February 28, 2021. It's best on full moon nights (December 30, 2020) to see the moon shining on the salt.
  • Where: Great Rann of Kutch salt desert, Dhordo, Gujarat.
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Kumbhalgarh Festival

Kumbhalgarh, Rajasthan.

Olmoroz/Getty Images


Magnificent Kumbhalgarh Fort near Udaipur provides the setting for this annual three-day festival organized by Rajasthan Tourism. It features performances by folk artists, art camp, puppet show, and puppet-making exhibition.

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Konark Festival

Konark Dance festival.
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The official Konark Festival, organized by Odisha Tourism, has a range of classical Odissi, Bharathnatyam, Manipuri, Kathak and Chau dance performances. Added attractions are an exhibition of temple sculptures, sand art exhibition, and crafts fair. The festival has been taking place since 1989. Plan your trip with this Konark Sun Temple essential visitor's guide.

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International Sand Art Festival

International Sand Art Festival
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Held to coincide with the five-day Konark Festival in the same area, the International Sand Art Festival sees renowned international and local artists competing to create the best sand sculptures.

  • When: December 1-5 every year.
  • Where: Chandrabhaga Beach, Konark, Odisha.
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Hornbill Festival

Hornbill Festival
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The Hornbill Festival, named after the bird, shows just how diverse a country India really is. Held in a tiny and remote north eastern state of India, the festival is one of the largest celebrations of the indigenous warrior tribes of the region. It features traditional arts, dances, folk songs, games, and music concerts in the evenings. Local handicrafts are also on sale during the festival.

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Feast of Francis Xavier

Mausoleum of St Francis Xavier in Basillica of Bom Jesus.
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This annual celebration is held in honor of Saint Francis Xavier, one of the greatest Christian missionaries to visit India. His mummified body is kept in a casket inside the captivating Bom Jesus Basilica in Old Goa, and every year people come to pray on the anniversary of his burial. The festival, which lasts for several days before and after the feast and includes a large fair, is one of the most important Christian events in Goa. The morning mass attracts people from all over the world.

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Bhopal Potters' Market

Pottery in Jaipur.

Keren Su/Getty Images


Love pottery? Don't miss the annual Potters' Market, which is back for the 10th edition this year. More than 40 noted potters from across India, who have all made significant contributions to ceramics and studio pottery, will be in attendance. Highlights include live demonstrations, interactive workshops, and presentations. The market is supported by Jehan Numa Palace Hotel.

  • When: December 3-6, 2020. Will take place online.
  • Where: Gauhar Mahal, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh.
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Mahindra Kabira Festival

Mahindra Kabira Festival

Mahindra Kabira Festival


Dedicated to the revered 15th century mystic poet Kabir, this festival offers an immersive experience of his teachings across a two day program with the aim of promoting "oneness amongst diversity" as expounded by him. It encompasses music, history, literature and the arts. Activities include guided heritage walks, morning and evening music performances, and afternoon literature discussion sessions, Packages are available.

  • When: December 4-6, 2020.
  • Where: Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh.
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India Bike Week

India Bike Week

India Bike Week


Billed as India's Biggest Biker Rave, this festival draws motorcycle enthusiasts from all over India and the world. Attractions include the most well known names in bike design and manufacturer, the rarest bikes and accessories, music, graffiti art, barbecues, beer gardens, training academies, and track racing.

  • When: December 4-5, 2020. Cancelled.
  • Where: Vagator, North Goa.
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Echoes of Earth

Echoes of Earth

Echoes of Earth


India's first ecologically-crafted music festival that promotes sustainable living, Echoes of Earth, is back for the 4th edition this year. 40 artists from diverse genres will preform across four stages set on 150 acres of greenery. The numerous art installations, built from recycled materials, are another highlight. There will also be workshops, flea market, and film screenings.

  • When: December 7-8, 2020. Cancelled.
  • Where: Bangalore in Karnataka.
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India Craft Week

Handicrafts in Mumbai.

Hira Punjabi/Getty Images


India Craft Week celebrates the country's handicrafts and artisans. It brings together craftsmen, designers and brands through craft installations, workshops, live demonstrations and discussions. Responsible luxury, ethical and sustainable handmade products are showcased and sold at the festival.

  • When: Usually held in the first week of December but has been postponed until January 2021.
  • Where: NSIC Exhibition Ground, Okhla, Delhi.
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Orange Festival

Orange Festival.
Orange Festival.

India's first adventure and music festival has a huge lineup of bands and sports for adrenaline-pumping fun in a remote location. Activities include motor-cross, ATV rides, 4-wheel driving, white water rafting, mud run, and zip-lining.

  • When: December 12-15, 2020. Cancelled.
  • Where: Dambuk, Arunachal Pradesh.
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Chennai Music Festival (Madras Music Season)

Chennai Music Festival
RBB/Getty Images

This hugely popular and much anticipated month long festival, which is often described as the world's largest cultural event, serves up a plethora of traditional south Indian Carnatic music, dance, and other arts. Over 1,000 performances take place during the festival, along with music related seminars, discussions, and demonstrations. It's also referred to as the December Season.

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Dastkar Winter Mela

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Dastkar is dedicated to improving the economic status of craftspeople and promoting traditional crafts. One way they do this is by holding regular markets to provide a platform for craftspeople from all over India to come and sell their wares. The Winter Mela, organized in conjunction with Delhi Tourism, is one such market and it's a highlight of the Christmas season. It features winter textiles, herbal and organic products, cultural performances, and Christmas food.

  • When: December 17-28, 2020.
  • Where: Kisan Haat, Andheria Modh, Anuvrat Marg, Chattarpur, South Delhi.
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Military Literature Festival

Indian military.
Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images

India's Military Literature Festival showcases the strength of the armed forces through literature, art, music, photography, seminars and discussions. It brings together top Indian and international defense experts, historians, authors, poets, publishers and media personalities. One of its aims is to invoking patriotism among the youth by educating them about the important military history of Punjab. Numerous events and exhibitions will be held in the lead-up to main three days of the festival.

  • When: December 18-20, 2020.
  • Where: Chandigarh.
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Chhau Jhumur Utsav

Chhau Dance

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The regional masked Chhau dance of eastern India is characterized by acrobatic twists and turns. It incorporates stories based on mythological tales that promote moral and ethical values. One of the best places to see it is at the annual Chhau Jhumur Utsav in Purulia, where nearly 2,000 artists are engaged in performing this folk art tradition. You can also visit Charida village to see the mask artists at work.

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Ranakpur Festival

Ranakpur Jain temples.

Peter Cook/Getty Images


Ranakpur, between Udaipur and Jodhpur in Rajasthan, is famous for its magnificent Jain temples. Rajasthan Tourism holds an annual festival there to showcase India's classical music, dance and culture. Fun activities such as the best mustache and turban tying also take place. It can be visited on a day trip from Udaipur.

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Shilpgram Art and Craft Fair

Shilpgram Art and Craft Fair
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Love shopping? Try and catch this impressive arts and crafts fair. Over 400 artisans and craftsmen from all over India attend the fair, which happens in a sprawling artisans' village set up by the government. Folk dances and cultural programs are also held as part of the festival.

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Poush Mela

Poush Mela
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An annual festival featuring Bengali folk music, particularly baul music, the Poush Mela also has dancing, tribal sports, and thousands of stalls selling an array of merchandise including handicrafts. It celebrates the founding of the university town of Shantiniketan by Maharshi Debendranath Tagore, father of Noble Laureate poet Rabindranath Tagore, in 1860. Unfortunately, the festival has lost some of its charm in recent years. Do be prepared for the crowds!

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Christine Pemberton/Getty Images

Although Christians make up less than 5% of India's population, Christmas is a significant religious occasion in India. You'll be able to find traditional Christmas cheer in many parts of the country. See pictures of how Christmas is celebrated in India in this photo gallery.

  • When: December 25 every year.
  • Where: Various locations in India.
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Sundarban Folk Festival

Sundarban Folk Festival

Sundarban Folk Festival 

The artist communities of the Sundarban celebrate the third edition of the Sundarban Folk Festival this year. Visitors can watch local folk artists presenting Bon Bibir Pala (a mythological play with a storyline revolving around the man-animal conflict in the jungles), traditional Jhumur song and dance, and Bhatiyali (songs is inspired by the mystic rivers and lives of the river boatmen) along with folk artists from other regions of Bengal. Plan your trip with this Sundarban National Park travel guide.

  • When: December 25-27, 2020. Cancelled.
  • Where: Pakhiralay, Gosaba, Sundarban, West Bengal.
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Himachal Hills Festival

Himachal Hills Festival

Himachal Hills Festival


See in the new year in the hills under the stars, by camping out and partying with other likeminded travelers from around the world at the Himachal Hills Festival. It features local and Israeli cuisine, rock bands, and DJs.

  • When: December 25-27, 2020.
  • Where: Kasol, Himachal Pradesh.
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Mamallapuram Indian Dance Festival

Dance festival Mamallapuram
Dinodia Photo/Getty Images

The open air India Dance Festival is held against a background of rock sculptures in the beach town of Mamallapuram, just south of Chennai. It runs for a month and showcases a range of classical and folk dances from all over India.

  • When: Cancelled.
  • Where: Arjuna's Penance, Mamallapuram, near Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
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Cochin (Kochi) Carnival

Cochin Carnival.

Gilitukha/Getty Images


The colorful Cochin Carnival evolved from Portuguese new year celebrations held in Cochin during colonial days. Rather than being a traditional cultural event, it's more about feasting and fun, with competitions, games, beach sports, dirt bike races, dancing, and fireworks. The carnival concludes with the burning of a Santa effigy on New Year's Eve (yes, really) and a huge procession on New Year's Day.

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The Tamara Carnival

The Tamara Carnival
The Tamara Carnival

The Tamara Carnival brings together music, dance, food and experiences to showcase the cultural heritage of India. There are different performances on different days including folk dance, classical dance, traditional martial arts, Salsa dancing, Blues music, and stand-up comedy. In order to attend the carnival, it's necessary to stay at The Tamara resort. There are other activities as well, such as yoga, hiking, bird watching, cookery, pottery, and plantation tours.

  • When: Last week of December. To be announced.
  • Where: The Tamara resort, Coorg, Karnataka. 
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Kanathoor Nalvar Bhoothasthanam Theyyam

Theyyam in Kerala.
Christophe Boisvieux/GettyImagess

This is another of Kerala's biggest theyyam ritual festivals. Nearly 400 theyyams are performed together at the epic Kanathoor Nalvar Bhoothasthanam, dedicated to the Mother Goddess.

  • When: December 28 to January 1 every year. Cancelled.
  • Where: Kanathoor village, Karasgod district, northern Kerala.
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Mt Abu Winter Festival

Mt Abu festival.
KJ Pix/Getty Images

Surprisingly, Rajasthan isn't all desert! The cool, green hill settlement of Mt Abu is like an oasis, full of flourishing rivers, lakes, waterfalls, and forests. It becomes vibrant during the annual Winter Festival (a Summer Festival is also held there in May each year), which captures the spirit of Rajasthani tribal life and culture. Enjoy ceremonial processions, folk performances, fireworks, and competitions such as skating races, boat races, horse races, and tug-of-war.

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Hilltop NYE Party

Goa party.
Ami Vitale/Getty Images

Want to experience a legendary Goa psychedelic trance party? Head to Hill Top for its annual NYE bash. More than a dozen international artists and local legends will perform non-stop for over 24 hours of madness. It kicks off at 4 p.m.

  • When: December 31, 2020.
  • Where: Hill Top, Vagator, North Goa.
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Serendipity Arts Festival

syolacan/Getty Images

This eight-day interdisciplinary arts festival features 70 projects, including 40 commissioned projects, spread across multiple venues. It encompasses photography, Goan crafts and architecture, visual arts, theater, music, dance and culinary arts. The festival aims to expose more people to art, as a medium to advance society by provoking, questioning and breaking barriers. It will address issues including arts education, patronage, and accessibility.

  • When: Will be held virtually online.
  • Where: Panjim, Goa.
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Sunburn Festival

Sunburn Goa

Sunburn Festival. Photo by Baricci.


The iconic Sunburn Festival is Asia's largest commercial electronic dance music festival. Sunburn Campout campsite will be set up to provide accommodations and a festival vibe.

  • When: Cancelled.
  • Where: Vagator, North Goa.
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Magnetic Fields Festival

Magnetic Fields
Nishant Shukla Photographer/Magnetic Fields

Magnetic Fields Festival is an intimate affair, limited to 500 people and held at a restored 17th century palace hotel in Rajasthan. On offer is cutting-edge music from both bands and DJs, plus fashion, art, and food. Attendees can either camp in luxury tents or stay in rooms at the hotel. The property is extensive and includes courtyards, swimming pool and ballrooms. Decorations are expected to create the vibe of a magical, fantasy carnival.

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Toshali Crafts Mela

Odisha handicrafts.
Sharell Cook.

Odisha's biggest handicraft fair is back for the fourteenth edition this year. It's organized by the state Handlooms, Handicrafts and Textiles department and has in excess of 350 stalls with products from across India. Participants include 130 weavers and more than 150 artisans. Other attractions are a food court, cultural performances, and themed pavilion that showcases handlooms of Odisha.

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National Street Food Festival

India street food.

Madhurima Sil/Getty Images


The National Association of Street Vendors of India holds this annual food festival, which is into its 12th year and showcases various types of street food from all over India. If you love street food, or just want to try it, don't miss attending!

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Ranthambore Music and Wildlife Festival




This festival aims to promote wildlife and folk art conservation. It brings together music, art, food and wildlife experiences against the backdrop of opulent Nahargarh Palace near Ranthambhore National Park. Activities include wildlife safaris and photography, star gazing, yoga, and an art auction. There will also be dance and folk music performances, and DJs.

  • When: To be announced.
  • Where: Ranthambore, Rajasthan.
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Dhanu Jatra

Dhanu Jatra

Wikipedia/C0 1.0


Known as the world's largest open-air theater (it's mentioned in the Guinness Book of World Records), the Dhanu Jatra features enactments of the mythological story of Lord Krishna (locally known as Krushna) and his demon uncle Kansa. During the performance, Kansa can punish people with a penalty for their mistakes (Biju Patnaik, the former Chief Minister of Odisha was once fined).

  • When: Cancelled.
  • Where: Bargarh, Sambalpur district, western Odisha near the Chattisgarh border.
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Times Litfest

Euge de la Peña/Getty Images.

The popular Times Litfest features a range of discussions and book launches, centered around a different theme every year. All sessions are free to attend and you can register at the gate.

  • When: Cancelled.
  • Where: Mehboob Studio, Bandra West, Mumbai.
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Comic Con

Comic Con
Comic Con

From the producers of the iconic New York Comic Con, this is India's greatest pop culture celebration. The festival started in 2011 and features the best of comics, movies, television, gaming and cosplay. 

  • When: Dates will be announced on the official website.
  • Where: Mumbai and Delhi, respectively.
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