May 2018 India Festivals and Events Guide

What's On in India in May

Saga Dawa at Rumtek Monastery, Sikkim.
Saga Dawa at Rumtek Monastery, Sikkim. Satyaki Basu / Contributor/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 08

    Moatsu Festival

    Tribes in Nagaland.
    Hira Punjabi/Getty Images.

    Celebrated by the Ao tribes 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 highlight of the occasion 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 08
    Yoga and meditation.
    ImagesBazaar/Getty Images

    India's first international yoga, Ayurveda and wellness expo brings 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 third year this year.

    • When: May 4-6, 2018.
    • Where: Pragati Maidan, Delhi.
  • 03 of 08

    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. Activities include the annual 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. This year, there will also be a night bazaar on Commercial Road. To get to Ooty, take the Nilgiri Mountain Railway toy train.

    • When: Spice Show on May 4, Vegetable Show on May 5-6, Rose Show on May 12-13, Flower Show on May 18-20, and Fruit Show on May 26-27.
    • Where: Ooty and surrounding areas, Tamil Nadu.
    • Read More: 11 Top Tamil Nadu Tourist Places
  • 04 of 08
    Indian woman with guitar.
    Copyrights @ Arijit Mondal/Getty Images

    The Festival of Bharat is a tribute to India's culture and civilization. The diverse program includes a flea market and exhibition, organic food festival, Ayurvedic cuisines, yoga and meditation sessions, group explorations of Vedanta, debates and discussions, music, literature, theater, and a fashion show.

    • When: May 9-14, 2018.
    • Where: Indira Gandhi National Center for the Arts, Delhi.
    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    Dhungri Mela

    Gods and goddessees at Hadimba temple.
    Gods and goddessees at the mela. 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 08

    Ramadan

    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 16-June 15, 2018.
    • Where: See Mumbai and Delhi. Also Lucknow and Hyderabad.
  • 07 of 08

    Ganga Dussehra

    Ganga Dussehra.
    Exotica.im/Getty Images

    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.

  • 08 of 08

    Saga Dawa

    Saga Dawa at Rumtek Monastery, Sikkim.
    Saga Dawa at Rumtek Monastery, Sikkim. Satyaki Basu / Getty Images.

    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. Colorful masked dances also take place at Rumtek Monastery.