May 2019 India Festivals and Events Guide

What's On in India in May

Gods at Hadimba temple festival, Manali.

cococinema/Getty Images


If you don't mind the summer heat, you'll be able to enjoy some big festivals in India in May. Fortunately, many of them take place in the hills, where it's not too hot. Here's the best of what's on in May in India (listed by date).

01 of 09

Moatsu Festival

Tribes in Nagaland.
Hira Punjabi/Getty Images.

Celebrated by the Ao tribe of Nagaland, the Moatsu Festival is a time of great rejoicing as the planting season comes to an end. All activities are associated with the harvest. You can expect a lot of singing, dancing, and merry-making at this festival. The main event is Sangpangtu. Men and women dress up in their best attire and sit around a fire, eating meat and wine. See more North East India Festivals.

02 of 09


Muslims break their Ramadan fasting at Khatri Masjid in Pydhonie, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India.
Dinodia Photo/Getty Images

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.

  • When: May 6-June 5, 2019.
  • Where: See Mumbai and Delhi. Also Lucknow and Hyderabad.
03 of 09

The Yoga Shala Expo

Yoga and meditation.
ImagesBazaar/Getty Images

India's first international yoga, Ayurveda and wellness expo features a wide variety of practitioners and natural products such as organic food and clothing, and herbal cosmetics. There will be 150 exhibitors and speakers from 20 countries. Attractions include workshops, seminars, interactive activities, health consultations, and astrology consultations. The festival is back for the fourth year this year.

  • When: May 10-12, 2019.
  • Where: Pragati Maidan, Delhi.
04 of 09

Thrissur Pooram

Kerala Tourism

The grandest of all Kerala temple festivals, the Thrissur Pooram features a procession of around 30 colorfully decorated elephants and ensemble of 250 musicians. Other attractions include drum concerts, ornamental parasol displays, and fireworks. The festival is a huge cultural event that runs through the night with exuberant celebrations. Special viewing areas are provided for foreigners at the festival.

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05 of 09

Dhungri Mela

Gods and goddessees at Hadimba temple.
Sharell Cook.

The three-day Dhungri Mela takes place in honor of Goddess Hadimba's birthday in Manali. She was the wife of Bhima, one of the five Pandavas brothers from the great Hindu epic the Mahabharata. Her temple is one of the most important ones in the region, and gods and goddesses from surrounding villages are carried in procession to attend the celebrations. A fairground is set up with stalls and carnival rides as well. The festival involves much singing and dancing, including performances of the Kullu Natti folk dance. It provides an interesting glimpse of local culture.

06 of 09

ShopArt ArtShop Festival

ShopArt ArtShop Festival
ShopArt ArtShop

What's the solution for a glut of empty shops in remote Himalayan village? Invite artists to come and live in the village, and create art to display and sell in the shops. This unique and innovative event takes place every three years and will be happening for the third time this year. It's organized by the 4tables Project, which was established eight years ago in the village to form a space for alternative and meaningful living. The project also includes an art gallery, an ecological boutique hotel, and a fusion restaurant.

  • When: May 15-June 15, 2019.
  • Where: Gunehar village, near Bir-Billing in Himachal Pradesh.
07 of 09

Ooty Summer Festival

Ooty, Tamil Nadu.
Dethan Punalur/Getty Images

Ooty is a popular hill station in Tamil Nadu. Every May, it comes alive with the Summer Festival. The top events are the Spice Show at Gudalur, Vegetable Show at Nehru Park in Kotagiri, Rose Show at the Government Rose Garden, Fruit Show at Sim's Park in Coonoor and the famous Flower Show at Ooty Botanical Gardens. There will also be a night bazaar on Commercial Road. To get to Ooty, take the Nilgiri Mountain Railway toy train.

  • When: Flower Show on May 17-21 and Fruit Show on May 25-26, 2019. Dates of the other shows to be announced.
  • Where: Ooty and surrounding areas, Tamil Nadu.
  • Read More: 11 Top Tamil Nadu Tourist Places
08 of 09

Mount Abu Summer Festival

Woman in traditional dress at Mount Abu.
Keren Su/Getty Images

The Mount Abu Summer Festival kicks off with ballad singing, followed by regional folk dancing. The festival also offers sports such as boat racing on Nakki Lake, and a roller skating race. It concludes with a fireworks display. The highlight of the festival is the Sham-e-Qawwali musical show, which features some of the most renowned qawwalis from various parts of India.

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09 of 09

Buddha Purnima and Buddha Jayanti

Buddha statue at Mahabodhi temple.
Dinodia Photo/Getty Images

Buddha Jayanti, also known as Buddha Purnima, celebrates the birth, enlightenment and death of Lord Buddha. It's the most sacred Buddhist festival. Activities include prayer meets, sermons and religious discourses, recitation of Buddhist scriptures, group meditation, processions, and worship of the statue of Buddha. Indian Railways runs a special Mahaparinirvan Express Buddhist Tourist Train that visits all Buddhist pilgrimage places in India.

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