The monsoon arrives in India in June, so it's an excellent month to enjoy the wet weather at a monsoon festival in India! Otherwise, head north to the hills to catch some great festivals and events. Here's the best of what's on in June in India (listed by date).
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The holy Muslim month of Ramadan is a fantastic opportunity to feast on fresh street food. During Ramadan, Muslims traditionally fast daily from sunrise until sunset. In the evenings, the streets in traditional Muslim areas are flooded with people and the tantalizing aroma of meat being freshly roasted to feed the famished. The revelry continues all night. Ramadan concludes with he festival of Eid-ul-Fitr, with more feasting and shopping.
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Beat the rain by heading north to the mountains in Shimla, to experience the annual summer festival. This renowned event has been held regularly in Shimla since the 1960s. It features musical performances, some from famous singers, food and fashion. Plenty of local handicrafts are on sale too. To get there, travel on a toy train to Shimla.
- When: First week of June.
- Where: Shimla, Himachal Pradesh.
- Stay: Sunnymead Bed and Breakfast
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The Ganga Dussehra festival is celebrated to mark the time that the holy Ganges River descended to earth. A large number of pilgrims congregate alongside the holy river, to bathe in it and worship. Read more about the Ganga Aarti in India.
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The annual 28 day Kottiyoor festival takes place at two temples -- Akkare Kottiyoor and Ikkare Kottiyoor -- on opposite sides of the Bavali River and surrounded by dense forest. The Akkare Kottiyoor temple is only open during the festival. There's no formal structure. Rather the idol of the deity, a swayambhoo lingam (self-created idol of Lord Shiva), is seated on the ground and formed by a small heap of stones called manithara. The Neyyattam ritual on the first day and the Thirukalasattu ritual on the last day attract the most spectators and devotees.
Continue to 5 of 12 below.
- When: June 6-July 2, 2017
- Where: Kannur district, Kerala.
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Saga Dawa is the fourth month of Tibetan lunar calendar and the holiest month for Tibetan Buddhists. The most important celebration falls on the full moon day of the month, when the birth, enlightenment and death of Lord Buddha is honored.
In Gangtok, a procession of monks carries the holy book from Tsuklakhang Palace Monastery around town. It's accompanied by the blowing of horns, beating of drums, and burning of incense.
- When: June 9, 2017.
- Where: Gangtok and other monasteries throughout Sikkim and Darjeeling.
- 11 Top Attractions and Places to Visit in Sikkim
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India's first international yoga, Ayurveda and wellness expo will bring together a wide variety of practitioners as well as displays of natural products including organic food and clothing, and herbal cosmetics. There will be workshops, seminars, interactive activities, health consultations, and astrology consultations. The festival is back for the second year this year.
- When: June 16-18, 2017.
- Where: Pragati Maidan, Delhi.
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An usual Tantric fertility festival, the Ambubachi Mela marks the menstruation period of the Goddess Kamakhya. The temple is closed for three days while the Goddess menstruates and reopens on the fourth day, with a rush of devotees who come to receive bits of cloth that are supposedly soaked with her menstrual fluid. It's considered to be extremely auspicious and powerful. The festival attracts numerous Tantric sadhus (holy men) from India and abroad. Some of them only appear in public during the four days of the festival. They perform unique rituals and exercises that are widely photographed. The festival is also popular for its rural crafts fair.
- When: June 22-26, 2017.
- Where: Kamakhya temple, Guwahati, Assam.
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The Sindhu Darshan festival is a celebration of River Sindhu or Indus. It's one of the world's longest rivers, and gave India its name. The festival aims to project the Sindhu as a symbol of multi-dimensional cultural identity, communal harmony, and peaceful co-existence in India. It promises a kaleidoscope of Indian culture and an exciting array of performing arts.
Continue to 9 of 12 below.
- When: June 23-26, 2017.
- Where: On the banks of the river Sindhu, Leh, Ladakh.
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Sao Joao Feast of St John the Baptist
The most popular festival in Goa, Sao Joao (the fertility feast of Saint John the Baptist), involves the interesting feat of men jumping into overflowing village wells to retrieve bottles of local feni alcohol. There are also boat races, and singing and dancing.
- When: June 24, annually.
- Where: North Goa, particularly Siolim.
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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.
- When: June 25-July 7, 2017.
- Where: Jagannath Temple, Puri, Odisha.
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This delicious mango festival was started in 2013 by female mango grower Jyotsana Kaur Habibullah at her mango orchard, with the aim of promoting the region's mangoes, and supporting small farmers and women in agriculture. The finest mangoes are available for sampling and purchase direct from the farmers at the festival. There are also delicious mango delicacies, mango eating contests, and plenty of children's activities. Food at the festival is cooked by locals in the village. Folk music and dances will entertain the crowd under the mango trees.
- When: June 24, 25 and 26, 2017.
- Where: Mango orchards near Lucknow, and Janeshwar Mishra Park in Lucknow.
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Feast of Saints Peter and Paul
This monsoon celebration, by Goa's local fishing communities, sees people sailing up river on rafts while performing plays and songs.
- When: June 29, annually.
- Where: Goa, particularly the riverside villages of Candolim, Siolim, Ribandar and Agassaim.