July 2017 India Festivals and Events Guide

What's On in India in July

Bonalu parade.
••• Bonalu parade. Ashit Desai/Getty Images.

The monsoon fun continues in India in July. A number of colorful religious festivals take place all over the country. Here's the best of events in July in India (listed by date).

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    Chariots at the Rath Yatra, Puri, Orissa.
    ••• Chariots at the Rath Yatra, Puri, Orissa. Getty Images/Visage.

    The exuberant 12 day Rath Yatra festival sees Lord Jagannath (a reincarnation of Lords Vishnu and Krishna), along with and his elder brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra, venture out of their abode in Puri's Jagannath Temple. The gods are transported on massive towering chariots. Discover how the chariots are made.

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    Ponies and pilgrims on Amarnath Yatra trail
    ••• Tristan Savatier/Moment Open/Getty Images

    The famous Amarnath cave temple, one of the top caves in India, houses a Shiva lingam made out of ice. It's one of the toughest pilgrimages in India to visit it. Pilgrims must battle inclement weather, which makes the track slippery and dangerous, as well as very high altitude. About.com's Hinduism Expert has prepared this essential information about Amarnath and guide to the Amarnath yatra.

    • When: June 29-August 7, 2017.
    • Where: On Mount Amarnath, around 140 kilometers from Srinagar in Kashmir. There are two routes to the shrine -- 16 kilometers from Baltal in Ganderbal and the traditional 45 kilometers Pahalgam track in Anantnag district, approximately 3-4 hours drive from Srinagar.
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    Masked performers at the Hemis Festival.
    ••• Masked performers at the Hemis Festival. Richard I'Anson\Getty Images.

    The two day Hemis Festival commemorates the birth of Guru Padmasambhava, who founded Tantric Buddhism in Tibet. There's traditional music, colorful masked dances, and a fair full of striking handicrafts. See Photos of the Hemis Festival and plan your trip with this Leh Ladakh Travel Guide.

    • When: July 3-4, 2017.
    • Where: Hemis Monastery, Leh, Ladakh.
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    Performers at the Dree festival.
    ••• rajkumar1220/ Flickr/CC BY 2.0

    Dree is an agricultural festival of the Apatani tribe. It's celebrated by sacrificial offerings and prayers to the gods who protect the crops. Folk songs, traditional dances, and other cultural performances have also become a part of the modern-day festivities. There's even a "Mr Dree" contest, billed as the ultimate platform for men to show their strength, agility, stamina, and intelligence!

    • When: July 4-7 each year.
    • Where: Ziro, Arunachal Pradesh, northeast India.
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    Biking in the Himalayas.
    ••• Photograph by Chanon Kanjanavasoontara/Getty Images

    The 14th edition of the Himalayan Odyssey will see motorcycle riders travel across some of the most challenging trails, on an epic journey through some of the highest motorable roads in India. This year, a special women's edition of the festival is also debuting.

    • When: July 6-23, 2017.
    • Where: From Delhi to Leh and then back via Spiti.
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    Wayanad Splash Monsoon Carnival
    ••• Wayanad Splash Monsoon Carnival

    Back for its 8th edition this year, the Wayand Spash Monsoon Carnival is a fun way to enjoy Kerala during the rainy season. It features plenty of outdoor activities, adventure activities, and cultural programs. If you're fit, you can also join in the inaugural Wayanad Monsoon Run on July 2. The route is super scenic.

    • When: July 7, 8 and 9, 2017.
    • Where: Kalpetta, Wayand district, Kerala.
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    Snake boat race in Kerala.
    ••• Image: Kerala Tourism

    The Champakulam Boat Race is the oldest snake boat race of Kerala. It's also the first boat race of the season. A stunning procession is enacted prior to the race taking place. It features exotic water floats, boats decorated with colorful parasols, and performing artists. Read more about Snake Boat Races in Kerala.

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    Guru Purnima.
    ••• Luis Davilla / Getty Images

    This full moon day is celebrated in remembrance of the ancient sage Vyasa, who edited and wrote a number of holy Hindu scriptures. However, the idea behind Guru Purnima extends further than that. It's also a day for giving thanks to anyone who's taught you spiritual lessons in life. Many people simply spend some time reviewing all the knowledge they've acquired in the last year, and the way it's helped transformed them. See these Top 6 Spiritual Destination in India.

    • When: July 9, 2017.
    • Where: All over India, particularly in spiritual centers such as Sivananda Ashram, Rishikesh. One of the largest Guru Purnima festivals is held at Goverdhan, near Mathura.
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    BONALU is a Hindu festival of the Goddess of power, Mahakali
    ••• (C) Satish Chelluri/Getty Images

    The 200+ year old Bonalu festival is a celebration of the Mother Goddess and Shakti (female energy). Rituals, dedicated to Goddess Mahankali, take place on Sundays during the Hindu month of Ashada. Bonalu means feast in Telugu, and it signifies the offerings (rice cooked in milk and jaggery) presented to the goddess. The women carry decorated clay pots on their heads to the temple. The festivities are first held at Mahankali Temple in Golconda Fort. Next Sunday, they move to Ujjaini Mahankali Temple in Secunderbad, with Rangam (predicting the future for the forthcoming year) and a procession of the goddess on an elephant the following day. The final (and biggest) event happens at Akanna Madanna Temple at Lal Darwza in the Old City of Hyderabad, with a huge street procession.

    • When: July 9 at Ujjaini Mahankali Temple, followed by the Rangam on July 10. Bonalu celebrations in the Old City will happen on July 23. (Dates to be confirmed).
    • Where: Secunderabad and Hyderabad, Telangana. 
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    Behdienkhlam festival in Meghalaya, India
    ••• Timothy Allen/Getty Images

    The most important festival of the Pnar tribe of Meghalaya, Beh Deinkhlam is celebrated after agricultural sowing is over. Khlam means plague and beh dien means to drive away with sticks. Hence, the festival is held to drive away and negative forces that may affect the crop. The festivities take place over three days, and culminate with procession of chariots and ceremonial tree trunks (khnongs) to a sacred pool full of water. Another highlight of the occasion is a football match between locals. The winner is believed to have a bumper harvest.

    • When: July 16, 2017.
    • Where: Jowai, Jaintia hills, Meghalaya, Northeast India.
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    Elephant feeding festival in Kerala.
    ••• Kerala Tourism

    Elephants are usually seen decorated and paraded around during temple festivals in Kerala. However, during this elephant feeding ritual, they remain unadorned. The elephants are taken inside the temple premises and given a delicious feast of sugarcane leaves, coconut, jaggery and other local produce by people who come to worship them. The ritual aims to please Lord Ganesha, for the removal of obstacles and fulfillment of wishes.

    • When: July 21, 2017.
    • Where: Njangattiri Bhagavathi temple, Pattambi, Palakkad district, Kerala.
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    Dancers at Teej festival.
    ••• Palani Mohan / Getty Images.

    The Teej festival is an important festival for women, and much anticipated monsoon festival. It commemorates the reunion of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Women apply henna to their hands and feet, get dressed up, and parade around. Artists such as folk singers and dancers follow the procession. Caparisoned elephants, bullock carts, and chariots add to the spectacle.

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    India snake.
    ••• Luisapuccini/Getty Images

    Nag Panchami, the festival of snakes, isn't for the faint of heart! This festival involves the worship of snakes, which are especially dug out and gathered for the occasion. On the day of Nag Panchami, villagers dance to music and carry the snakes in procession to the temple.

    • When: July 27, 2017.
    • Where: Mostly in rural areas, particularly Battis Shirala village, Maharashtra. Other popular places include Adiesha Temple in Andhra Pradesh, Nagaraja Temple in Kerala, Nagathamman Temple in Chennai, and Hardevja Temple in Jaipur.