Festivals of India – July

article by
mahesh

From the Jaganath Rath Yatra of Orissa to the Champakulam Boat Race and the Beh Deinkhlam of Meghalaya, July is a month of vibrant festivals all over the country. Here is a list of festivals that the country celebrates in the month of July.

(Photo from: http://img.top-10-india.com/2015/7/8/Njangattiri_Aanayoottu685.jpg)

 

Puri Rath Yatra

(Photo from: http://media2.intoday.in/indiatoday/images/stories/rath-647_071815050511.jpg)

When: June 25 to July 7, 2017

Where: Puri, Orissa

This spectacular chariot festival celebrated at the famous Jagannath Temple at Puri. Thousands of devotees flock to Puri during the occasion as they believe that a glimpse of Lord Jagannath in his chariot gives salvation.

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.

 

Hemis Festival

(Photo from: https://imghtlak.mmtcdn.com/blog/sites/default/files/hemis-festival-leh.png)

When: July 3-4, 2017

Where: Hemis Monastery, Leh, Ladakh

Hemis Gompa, the largest and richest Buddhist monastery in Ladakh plays host to the popular yearly festival day called Hemis Festival. This 2-day festival is celebrated on the 10th day of the Tibetan lunar month and remembered as the birth of Padmasambhava, the founder of Tibetan Buddhism. During the festival, the locals get dressed-up in traditional clothes, where men wear cummerbunds and women wear vibrant headgears and loads of jewellery.

The Lamas perform sacred masked dance, known as Chaam while they are accompanied by musical drums, long horns and cymbals.

 

Dree Festival

(Photo from: https://thenortheasttoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/124.jpg)

When: July 5, 2017

Where: Ziro, Arunachal Pradesh

Dree is a fertility festival of the Apatanis held annually on July 5. The word ‘Dree’ is derived from ‘Diiri’, which means purchasing or borrowing of food items when in scarcity or add to the existing stock in anticipation of lean days.

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.

 

Champakulam Boat Race

(Photo from: http://aboutfestivalsofindia.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/kerala-snake-boat-race.jpg)

When: July 8, 2017

Where: Champakulam, Alleppey, Kerala

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 colourful parasols, and performing artists.

The banks of the Pampa River gets swarmed by people from far and near, cheering and egging on the oarsmen to a resounding finish. These snake boats ripping through the serene waters and propelled by hundreds of oarsmen splashing and beating their oars about in the waters in unison makes for a grand visual spectacle. Boats such as Chundan (snake boat), Veppu, Iruttu Kuthi, Churulan and others from nearby regions line up to participate in this spectacular water sport.

 

Guru Purnima

(Photo from: http://ahmd.amritavidyalayam.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/13/nggallery/guru-purnima-celebration-2014/GURU2.jpg)

When: July 9, 2017

Where: All Over India

Guru Purnima is an Indian and Nepalese festival dedicated to spiritual and academic teachers. This festival is traditionally celebrated by Hindus, Jains and Buddhists, to pay their respects to their teachers and express their gratitude.

This full moon day is celebrated in remembrance of the ancient sage Vyasa, who edited and wrote a number of holy Hindu scriptures. However, Guru Purnima is also a day for giving thanks to anyone who has taught spiritual lessons in life.

 

Bonalu

(Photo from: https://www.telugu360.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Bonalu-begins.jpg)

When: July 16, 2017

Where: Telengana

Bonalu or Goddess Mahankali Bonalu is a Hindu Festival where Goddess Mahankali is worshiped. Bonalu is an annual festival of Telangana. Special Poojas are performed for Yellamma on the first and last day of the festival. The festival is also considered a thanksgiving to the Goddess for fulfilment of vows.

 

Beh Deinkhlam

(Photo from: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CndMO5XWIAAx_k5.jpg)

When: July 16, 2017

Where: Jowai, Jaintia hills, Meghalaya

Organized annually by the Seinraij Jowai, this unique festival is held after the sowing season is over so as to overcome any destructive forces of nature including diseases by invoking the God for a good harvest. Beh Deinkhlam literally means driving away the plague as “Khlam” means ‘Plague’ and “Beh Dein” means to drive away the plague.

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.

 

Njangattiri Aanayoottu

(Photo from: https://www.keralatourism.org/images/hri/large/aanayoottu_vadakumnathan_temple_3_335.JPG)

When: July 21, 2017

Where: Njangattiri Bhagavathi temple, Pattambi, Palakkad

A grand ceremony wherein a special feast is prepared for the elephants, the Njangattiri Aanayoottu ritual is held in the Njangattiri Bhagavathi Temple at Pattambi in the Palakkad district. In the Aanayoottu (Aanayoottu meaning feeding of elephants) ceremony, the elephants are fed specially medicated food. The ceremony is based on the principles of Ayurveda which consider the Malayalam month of Karkkidakam as a month of rejuvenation. Accordingly, this Ayurvedic tradition of rejuvenation is extended towards Elephants as well.

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 fulfilment of wishes.

 

Teej Festival

(Photo from: https://rajasthantourismbuzz.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/223844_237138749650845_133125643385490_798568_3742985_n.jpg)

When: July 26-27, 2017

Where: Jaipur, Rajasthan

The festival commemorates the reunion of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi. 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.

Decorating the Teej Mata temple is also an integral part of the festival. The idol of Teej Mata is adorned with and traditional jewellery and beautifully embroidered clothes. On this occasion, married women pray to Lord Shiva and Parvati to bless them with happy and long married life. Celebrated in and around Rajasthan this festival of swings welcomes monsoon. The swings are decked with flowers and hung from trees, women dressed in green clothes make merry and sing songs. This festival that symbolises growth continues for two days, women observe fasts for the long life of their husbands and men pray for good rain and crop.

 

Nag Panchami

(Photo from: https://c1.staticflickr.com/4/3055/2842347195_8b4c907676_b.jpg)

When: July 27, 2017

Where: Battis Shirala village, Maharashtra

Naga Panchami is a sacred Indian festival dedicated to the snake-God. The festival gets its name from the fact that it is celebrated on the fifth day (Panchami) of the moonlit fortnight of the Hindu month of Shravan (July /August).

Battis Shirala is known for its centuries old tradition of Nag Panchami celebration. Here, people offer their prayers to snakes that are alive. The preparation for the Snake Festival begins at least two weeks before Nag Panchami. Villagers, especially the farming community, clean their cattle and decorate them. They are fed specially prepared delicacies.

 

Shachukul Gustor

(Photo from: http://s3.amazonaws.com/samexhibit/production/images/77879/89b841982845d0bfb9b6f60a07f006f4a6bcd15c_large.?1381708279)

When: July 11-12, 2017

Where: Shachukul Monastery, Ladakh

Celebrated in Shachukul Monastery in the month of July, Shachukul Gustor is an important festival of this region. Most of the festivals in this part are held on the basis of monasteries and Gompas. This monastery, situated at a height of 14,000 feet in the middle of Shachukul village was constructed by Lama Choje Denma Kunga Dragpa.

Gustor literally stands for sacrifice of the 29th day and depicts the victory of good over evil. A unique dance performance that attracts tourists from all over world marks the commencement of the festival. In this dance, performers wear black hats showing their triumph against evil. The dancers wear different masks portraying themselves as the patron divinities of the Geluk-pa order and other Buddhist gods. The dance performance also shows the killing of Lang-dar-ma by a monk in the 9th century.

 

Karsha Gustor Festival

(Photo from: http://im.hunt.in/cg/jk/Leh/City-Guide/Gustor-Festival1.jpg)

When: July 21-22, 2017

Where: Karsha monastery, Zanskar

This festival of Oracles held in Stok is commonly known as Karsha Gustor. Presently Stok is a Royal Residence. In this festival, it is the layman who predicts the future instead of reputed soothsayers, who are commonly recognized for this job. The layman is spiritually cleansed by the Lamas after a formal selection, and is prepared for receiving the spirit of the Holy Deity.

 

Kharchi Puja

(Photo from: http://eprahaar.in/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Kharchi-Puja.jpg)

When: July 1, 2017

Where: Agartala

The festival lasts for seven days and 14 gods are worshipped at the Chaturdasha temple near Old Agartala. The 14 deities are known as the Chaturdasha Devata and are Lord Shiva, Vishnu, Brahma, Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswathi, Kartikeya, Ganesha, Earth, Ganga, Agni, Kama, Himavan and Varuna.

On Kharchi Puja, the gods are taken out from the temple and carried to be washed in holy water from a stream then taken back to the temple. Kharchi is derived from ‘khya’ which means ‘earth’ and the festival marks the cleansing of Ama Pechi which is the female cycle of the earth goddess. During the festival no ploughing, furrowing or tending to the soil is done to give it time to cleanse.

 

Bastille Day

(Photo from: https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-5z-d4jg2WkE/V4Zje2WXIHI/AAAAAAAAMdA/EcASbkKoA5oBC8YdV0EMMZ6Vjwp33nR2gCLcB/s1600/4.jpg)

When: July 14, 2017

Where: Puducherry

Bastille Day, one of the main festivals in Puducherry is also known as the ‘National Day of France’. Being an important French colony Pondicherry celebrates this day with great honour and pride. On the eve of the Bastille Day retired soldiers engage themselves in parade and celebrate the day with Indian and French National Anthems. On the day uniformed war soldiers march through the street to honour the French soldiers who were killed in the battles. You can perceive French and the Indian flag flying alongside that project the mishmash of cultures and heritages.