February 2021 India Festivals and Events Guide

What's On in India in February

Theyyam in Kerala.
Christophe Boisvieux/GettyImagess

Across India, February is a month filled with special events, religious ceremonies, and colorful festivals with dance and music for all to enjoy. From the northern capital of New Delhi all the way to Kerala in the southern tip, you can find something happening all month long.

Apart from the festivals, February is considered one of the best times of the year to visit India. The milder temperatures of the Indian winter mean you won't likely come across stifling heat, and it's well outside of the wet monsoon season. Plus, it's shoulder season for tourism. Tourists attractions are packed in December and January with vacationers, so you can avoid the worst of the crowds by visiting in February.

In 2021, most events and festivals—some of which attract crowds of millions of people—have been canceled, scaled back, or moved to a virtual format. Confirm the most up-to-date details with official event organizers when possible.

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Pondicherry Heritage Festival

Pondicherry street scene.

Peter Adams/Getty Images

The annual Pondicherry Heritage Festival was conceived as a way of drawing attention to the need to conserve the town's outstanding architectural legacy. It has since expanded to embrace the diverse traditions and cultural practices that give Pondicherry its distinctive flavor. For 2021, the theme is "The Talking Streets of Pondicherry." Accommodations book up early for this popular festival, so be sure to look into hotel rooms as soon as possible.

  • When: January 22 to February 21, 2021
  • Where: Pondicherry, about four hours south of Chennai in Tamil Nadu. 
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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.

  • When: Ongoing until February 28, 2021. It's best on full moon nights (February 27, 2021) to see the moon shining on the salt.
  • Where: Great Rann of Kutch salt desert, Dhordo, Gujarat
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Kumbh Mela

Kumbh Mela at Haridwar.

Thierry Bresillon / Getty Images

The largest religious gathering in the world, the Kumbh Mela brings Hindu holy men together to discuss their faith and disseminate information about their religion. Holy men and pilgrims also take a dip in the river on auspicious days to cleanse themselves of sins. The Kumbh Mela is attended by millions of people each day. In December 2017, UNESCO included the festival on its Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list in recognition of its importance.

  • When: Ongoing until April 27, 2021.
  • Where: Haridwar, Uttarakhand.
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Magh Mela

A sadhu offer prayer after taking holydip in Sangam, the confluence of River Ganga, Yamuna and mythological Saraswati on the occasion of Mauni Amavasya(the main bathing day) during Magh mela festival

Prabhat Kumar Verma / Getty Images

 

The Magh Mela is promoted as the "Mini Kumbh Mela". It takes place every year at the same place as the Kumbh Mela, at the confluence of the holy Saraswati, Yamuna, and Ganges rivers. Every twelfth year, the festival transforms into the Kumbh Mela there. The Magh Mela is widely believed to be older than the actual Kumbh Mela. Similar to the Kumbh Mela, hordes of pilgrims and sadhus (Hindu holy men) come to bathe in the water and cleanse their sins. The most important bathing dates are January 14 (Makar Sankranti), January 28 (Poush Purnima), February 11 (Mauni Amavasya), February 16 (Basant Panchami), February 27 (Maghi Purnima), and March 11 (Maha Shivratri).

  • When: Ongoing until March 11, 2021. The 2021 festival is limited to religious ceremonies and participants, and recreational facilities are not available.
  • Where: Prayag (Allahabad), Uttar Pradesh.
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Surajkund International Crafts Mela

Traditional Indian folk musicians performing in a fair, Surajkund Crafts Mela, Surajkund, Haryana

Exotica.im / Getty Images

The Surajkund Crafts Mela is a giant crafts fair, showcasing one-of-a-kind handicrafts and locally-made products (including delicious Indian cuisine). About 1,000 artisans display and demonstrate their crafts from across India and the world, and there are also cultural programs and an amusement zone for children. The Mela has a different state theme and partner nation every year. 

  • When: February 1–16 each year.
  • Where: Surajkund, in the Faridabad district a short distance from South Delhi. It's around 35 minutes drive from Delhi Airport.
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Sur Jahan World Peace Music Festival

Sufi singers.

Philippe Lissac / Godong / Getty Images

The Sur Jahan World Peace Music Festival is a free event presented by social enterprise Bangla Natak and Tour East to promote harmony. It features top local and international folk performers from all around the world and is a place to experience not just traditional Indian music but also Spanish flamenco, Irish step dance, Jamaican steel drums, Korean pop, and more. The program consists of music workshops during the day and music concerts in the evening, as well as an exhibition.

  • When: February 5–7, 2021, in Nimdih, West Bengal. February 9, 2021, in Kolkata. February 11–13, 2021, in Jaipur.
  • Where: Nimdih Gandhi Ashram, West Bengal. Rabindra Sadan-Nandan campus, Kolkata. Jawahar Kala Kendra, Jaipur.
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Kala Ghoda Arts Festival

Kala Ghoda Arts Festival

Dinodia Photo/Getty Images

 

The Kala Ghoda (Black Horse) arts festival is a nine-day extravaganza that sees Mumbai's Kala Ghoda Arts Precinct transformed into an open-air exhibition space and stage show. This vibrant street festival includes arts and crafts, exhibitions, workshops, dance performances, music, theater, heritage walks, and special events for children. The great thing about it is that it's all free!

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Indian Derby

Horse racing.
Alan Crowhurst / Stringer/Getty Images

The Indian Derby is one of the biggest events on the Mumbai social calendar and India's premier horse race. Held at the massive Mahalaxmi Race Course in Mumbai, it's a huge lifestyle sporting event that attracts around 25,000 people. In addition to horse racing, there are fashion events, food, a mini flea market, DJs, and live bands. It's sponsored by Kingfisher. Dress to impress!

  • When: First Sunday in February each year. February 7, 2021.
  • Where: Mahalaxmi Race Course, Mumbai.
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Dhauli-Kalinga Mahotsav

Dhauli-Kalinga Mahotsav
Aditi/ Flickr/CC BY NC SA 2.0

The Dhauli-Kalinga Mahotsav is hosted by the Odisha Dance Academy (ODA) and Art Vision. It combines martial dance, which celebrates the victory of peace over war, with classical and folk dances of the state. The festival's location is evocative. It's held in the hills alongside the historic Daya River, at the place where Emperor Ashok is believed to have fought the last battle of the Kalinga war before surrendering the sword and embracing Buddhism.

  • When: February 6–8, 2021. Attendees should check event updates on the website.
  • Where: Shanti Stupa/Peace Pagoda, Dhauli Hill, on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar.
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Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year celebration with lion mask dance competition, Calcutta, Kolkata, West Bengal

Dinodia Photo / Getty Images

 

In the Chinese calendar, 2021 is the Year of the Ox. You may not immediately associate India with Chinese New Year, however, Kolkata has a large Chinese community. The city's prosperity and cosmopolitan atmosphere drew an influx of Chinese migrants, starting from the late 18th century when they came to work at its ports. Traditional lion dancing is a popular feature of the occasion. The Indian Chinese Association for Culture, Welfare and Development holds a Lion Dance and Cultural Festival in Tiretti Bazaar a couple of days before the main day.

  • When: February 12, 2021.
  • Where: Chinatown, Tiretti Bazaar and Tangra, Kolkata, West Bengal.
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Goa Carnival

Goa Carnival

Radiokukka / Getty Images

 

The colorful Goa Carnival, which began as a local feast by the Portuguese in the 18th century, has developed into the state's most famous event. During the festival around the state of Goa, the streets come alive with parades, floats, music, and masked dances. It culminates with the Red and Black Dance, a formal ball in Panaji, where the dress code is red and black. The festivities kick off with a Food and Culture Festival in Panaji.

  • When: February 13–16, 2021.
  • Where: The carnival moves from city to city (Panaji, Margao, Vasco, and Mapusa) in Goa. The parade starts out from Panaji.
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The Nagaur Fair

Nagaur Fair, India.

ANDREW HOLBROOKE / Getty Images

 

The rural town of Nagaur comes alive with India's second-largest cattle fair, which sees the trading of around 70,000 bullocks, camels, and horses. Entertainment is provided in the form of folk dances, tug of war competitions, and camel races. You can also expect to see lavishly decorated animals, a huge red chili market, and traditional handicrafts. Rajasthan Tourism sets up a tourist village to accommodate visitors.

  • When: February 17–20, 2021.
  • Where: Nagaur, about three hours northeast of Jodhpur in Rajasthan.
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Jaipur Literature Festival

Jaipur Literature Festival

Prakash SINGH/AFP PHOTO/Getty Images

 

Lovers of literature shouldn't miss this fantastic opportunity to meet with renowned national and international authors and listen to them speak, and all for free! The Jaipur Literature Festival is an annual event that's considered to be one of the most important literature events in Asia. A festival program and details of attending authors are available on the event's website. The list is extensive and impressive.

  • When: February 19–21 and 26–28, 2021.
  • Where: To be held virtually online in 2021, with the theme "JLF presents Brave New World". Typically held in Jaipur.
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Khajuraho Dance Festival

Khajuraho Dance Festival
Khajuraho Dance Festival

The Khajuraho Dance Festival takes place against the alluring backdrop of one of India's top historical destinations: the Khajuraho Erotic Temples. The festival, which has entertained audiences since 1975, showcases classical dance styles from all over India. The dances are performed in the western group of temples, mainly at the Chitragupta Temple (dedicated to Surya the Sun God) and the Vishwanatha Temple (dedicated to Lord Shiva). Entry is free and hotels are conveniently located throughout the city.

  • When: February 20–26, 2021.
  • Where: Chitragupta Temple and Vishwanatha Temple, Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh.
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Baneshwar Fair

settings India, Rajasthan State, Baneshwar, Banjawara tribeswomen buying jewellry

BODY Philippe / hemis.fr/Getty Images

 

 

Baneshwar Fair is a popular tribal fair features members of the Bhil tribe, who travel from surrounding Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh to take a holy bath in the river on the auspicious full moon. It's sometimes referred to as a tribal Kumbh Mela. Other highlights are the performance of traditional folk songs and dances, magic shows, acrobatic stunts, and carnival rides.

  • When: February 23-27, 2021.
  • Where: Sabla village in Rajasthan. It's about two and a half hours southeast of Udaipur, in Dungarpur district.
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Joranda Mela (Mahima Mela)

Joranda monk wearing tree bark cloth

Annie Owen / robertharding / Getty Images

 

The Joranda Mela is the annual fair of the ascetics of the unusual Mahima Cult, which combines Buddhist and Sufi beliefs. Among other things, they must keep moving, and eat and sleep in a different place every day. The highlight of the fair is the jhada deepa (sacred fire ceremony) at the four gates of the temple, where thousands of liters of ghee are offered and burned in havan (fire) amid mass prayer to ensure the welfare of mankind. It commences around 5 p.m. However, the festival rituals get underway much before that, when the doors of the temple are opened at around 3 a.m. Stop at nearby Sadeibareni Village to see artisans at work making traditional dhokra metallic figurines.

  • When: February 25–26, 2021.
  • Where: Jorhanda Gadhi temple, Joranda, Dhenkanal district in Odisha. It's about two and a half hours north of Bhubaneshwar, and two hours north of Cuttack.
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Arth: A Culture Fest

India classical dance.

Paddy Photography / Getty Images

 

India's first multi-regional culture festival is dedicated to keeping the meaning of Indian culture alive. The festival, held at the Indira Gandhi National Center for the Arts, aims to create a platform for lovers of art and culture to learn and celebrate Indian culture across all its dimensions. It has a wide focus on literature, society, music, traditions, history, and art. The program features lectures and panel discussions by over 100 scholars, intellectuals, journalists, authors, artists, and members of parliament. Plus, more than 20 workshops ranging from Indic arts to Indic martial arts, a curated expo focusing on Indic crafts, music and dance performances, and an elaborate food flea.

  • When: To be announced.
  • Where: Indira Gandhi National Center for the Arts, Delhi.
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World Sacred Spirit Festival

World Sacred Spirit Festival

World Sacred Spirit Festival / David Horsman

With magnificent Mehrangarh Fort as its backdrop, the World Sacred Spirit Festival aims to take patrons on an "amazing spiritual and musical journey" with dance, song, and ritual theater performed by artists from India and abroad.

  • When: To be announced.
  • Where: Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur, Rajasthan.
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Shekhawati Heritage Festival

Painted mansion of Shekhawati.

Tibor Bognar / Getty Images

If you're interested in admiring the old painted havelis (mansions) that the Shekhawati region is famous for, the Shekhawati Festival is the perfect time to do so. As well as visiting the region, you can see locals exhibiting their skills and talent. Enjoy organized tours, country rides to farms, cultural programs, arts and crafts workshops, local games, fireworks, and an organic food court.

  • When: To be announced.
  • Where: Shekhawati region of Rajasthan. The main location is Surya Mandal Stadium in Nawalgarh.
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India Heritage Walk Festival

Colorful montage photo showing scenes from India

John M Lund Photography Inc / Getty Images

 

Love heritage? The award-winning India Heritage Walk Festival offers almost 80 free immersive curated walks in more than 35 cities across India. The walks are designed to be thought-provoking and cover issues such as architectural heritage, sustainable tourism, gender-related issues, and cultural infusion. Locations include museums, monuments, and markets. Participants get an opportunity to interact with local residents and see the cities from a new perspective.

  • When: To be announced.
  • Where: Across India.
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SulaFest

SulaFest
SulaFest

At SulaFest, you can expect an eclectic mix of music, wine, food, fashion, and shopping, in this Indian-style Coachella. There are more than 100 artists performing across three stages. Fancy camping out among the grape vines? Let's Camp Out erects a special tent city for festival-goers, not far from the amphitheater. Local hotel accommodations are also available.

  • When: Canceled in 2021.
  • Where: Sula Vineyard Amphitheater, Nashik, Maharashtra.
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Chettikulangara Bharani

Chettikulangara Bharani

Kerala Tourism

 

A visual and cultural spectacular, the highlight of the Chettikulangara Bharani temple festival is a stunning event called Kettukazhcha, featuring a procession of brightly decorated structures. The festival is dedicated to the Goddess Bhagavathy.

  • When: Canceled in 2021.
  • Where: Chettikulangara temple, Mavelikara, Alleppey district, Kerala.
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Taj Mahotsav

Taj Mahal.

WIN-Initiative / Getty Images

The Taj Mahotsav takes place at Shilpgram in Agra, right near the eastern entry gate to the Taj Mahal. The focus of this festival is on arts, crafts, Indian culture, and recreating the Mughal era. It gets underway with a spectacular procession that includes elephants, camels, and drummers. Apart from camel rides, there are games for the kids and a food festival. The venue has special significance, as it's said to be situated on the site where the artisans who built the Taj Mahal once lived. Best of all, it's free for foreign tourists to attend.

  • When: Canceled in 2021. Usually February 18–27 each year.
  • Where: Agra, Uttar Pradesh.
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Pariyanampetta Pooram

Kerala temple elephants.

Images Etc Ltd / Getty Images

Pariyanampetta Pooram falls on the last day of the seven-day festival at Pariyanampetta Bhagavathy temple. It features Kalamezhuthu Pattu (a ritual in which images of goddesses are drawn on the floor using colored powder) and a procession of decorated elephants. The preceding part of the festival includes shadow puppetry every evening and folk arts.

  • When: Canceled in 2021.
  • Where: Pariyanampetta Bhagavathy temple, Kattukulam, Palakkad district of Kerala.
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Machattu Mamangam

Machattu Mamangam Festival, Kerala

Ashit Desai / Getty Images

At the Machattu Mamangam, see a procession of decorated horse effigies called kuthirakolams offered to the temple deity on the last day of this five-day temple festival. There's also a parade of elephants in the evening, accompanied by traditional percussion.

  • When: Canceled in 2021.
  • Where: Machattu Thiruvanikavu Temple, Vadakkancherry, Thrissur district, Kerala.
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Kuttikkol Thampuratty Theyyam

Kuttikkol Thampuratty Bhagavathy Temple for the Theyyam Festival

Kerala Tourism

This grand Theyyam Festival showcases most of the theyyam forms of Kerala. Theyyam is a sacred dance ritual that's popular in the northern part of Kerala. The artists dress up and, in a trance, channel gods and goddesses through their bodies.

  • When: Canceled in 2021.
  • Where: Kuttikkol Thampuratty Bhagavathy temple at Kuttikkol, Kasaragod district of Kerala. The nearest railway station is at Kasaragod, 28 kilometers away. The nearest airport is at Mangalore, about 50 kilometers away.
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India Art Fair

India Art Fair
India Art Fair

The India Art Fair was founded in 2008 to be a leading platform for the discovery of modern and contemporary South Asian art. More than 80 galleries are involved in showcasing paintings, sculptures, new media, installations, and performance art. There are talks, artist projects, live performances, and other events too.

  • When: Canceled in 2021.
  • Where: International Exhibition & Convention Center, Pragati Maidan, New Delhi.
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Jaisalmer Desert Festival

Jaisalmer Desert Festival.

Hira Punjabi / Getty Images

 

The exuberant Jaisalmer Desert Festival is a wonderful opportunity to experience the sandstone city of Jaisalmer at its magical best. A parade of camels and fancily dressed locals, camel races, polo matches, turban tying competitions, competitions for the finest facial hair, acrobats, puppeteers, and jugglers are all part of the festival. You're sure to be amused! The festival happens around the full moon in February.

  • When: Canceled in 2021.
  • Where: Jaisalmer, Rajasthan.
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Ezhara Ponnana

Ezhara Ponnana

Rajesh Unuppally / Wikimedia Commons

 

The temple festival of Ezhara Ponnana presents a rare opportunity to witness a spectacular procession of golden elephants, which were offered to the deity by the erstwhile ruler of Travancore, Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma. It's accompanied by traditional musicians.

  • When: Canceled in 2021.
  • Where: Ettumanoor Mahadeva temple, Kottayam district, Kerala.
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Chinakkathoor Pooram

Chinakkathoor Pooram
Kerala Tourism

The last day of the Chinakkathoor Pooram festival at Chinakkathoor Bhagavathy temple features an unusual and colorful procession, accompanied by decorated elephants and traditional drumming. In the 17 days leading up to the Chinakkathoor Pooram, you can also see shadow puppet performances every evening at the temple premises.

  • When: Canceled in 2021.
  • Where: Chinakkathoor Bhagavathi Temple, Palappuram, Palakkad District, Kerala.
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Attukal Pongala

Pongala Ritual at Attukal Temple, Trivandrum

Ashit Desai / Getty Images

 

Trivandrum goes up in smoke on the occasion of Attukal Pongala, when the world's largest gathering of women for a religious activity cooks up a special offering for the goddess Attukalama. The festival earned a place in the Guinness Book of World Records in 1997, when 1.5 million women attended it. Numbers have been on the rise ever since!

  • When: Canceled in 2021.
  • Where: Attukal Bhagavathi Temple, Trivandrum, Kerala.
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Udyanotsav

settings Flowers In Full Bloom At The Mughal Garden Of The President House

T.C. Malhotra / Contributor / Getty Images

The magnificent 15-acre Mughal Gardens at the President of India's residence are thrown open to the public for a month each year for the annual Udyanotsav. On display are hundreds of varieties of flowers and trees including roses, tulips, and bougainvillea. In addition, guests can visit special themed gardens such as the Spiritual Garden, Herbal Garden, Bonsai Garden, and Musical Garden.

  • When: Canceled in 2021.
  • Where: Rashtrapati Bhavan, Delhi. Enter through Gate Number 35 of the President’s Estate, which is located at the extreme end of Church Road.
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Udaipur World Music Festival

Udaipur World Music Festival
Udaipur World Music Festival

The Udaipur World Music Festival brings together more than 100 artists from around the world to collaborate and give an eclectic variety of performances at this meaningful cultural event. Entry is free.

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Mahindra Blues Festival

Mahindra Blues Festival
Mahindra Blues Festival

One of Asia's finest and largest blues festival brings artists from around the world to perform in Mumbai. The Mahindra Blues Festival is organized by the multinational Indian manufacturing company Mahindra, which runs a tractor factory in Tennessee and has a strong connection to the American Deep South where blues music originated.

  • When: Canceled in 2021.
  • Where: Mehboob Studio, Bandra West, Mumbai.
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