The festivals belonging to this category highlight the cultural tradition of our country. These reflect the traditional art of India. Recently, State Tourism Departments have also taken initiative to highlight the unique culture and tradition of the region. Such festivals include the Phool Walon Ki Sair, Elephant Festival of Kerala, Desert Festival of Rajasthan, Music and Dance festival in different parts of India, etc.
Phool Walon Ki Sair
Phool Walon Ki Sair is a three-day festival celebrated every year in the month of October at Mehrauli in Delhi. Although this is popular as a flower fest, the unique feature of this festival is the inter-religious bonding. Hindus and Muslims both celebrate this. This involves a procession decorated with flowers to the shrine of Devi Jog Maya and the dargah of Khwaja Bakhtiyar Kaki. Hindus offer a chaddar (spread) decorated with flowers to the shrine of Bakhtiyar Kaki, while Muslims offer a floral pankha (fan) at the Jog Maya Temple. Cultural programmes including singing and dancing activities such as qawwalis and kathak are organised. Recent years have also seen the increased participation of youth in this festival.
Elephant festival was a novel idea initiated by Kerala Tourism Development Corporation in 1990. It was basically aimed to attract foreign tourists and since then it has become very popular among, both foreign and domestic visitors. It is celebrated every year for four days in the month of January. The march with elephants starts at Trichur and ends at Kovalam, the famous beach. Each elephant is adorned with decorated headgear and mahouts bear colourful dress. The procession is live with the drum beats and playing of other musical instruments. During the journey, elephant rides are arranged for the tourists and traditional folkdances are organised at different places. Other attractions enroute include setting-up of handicraft stalls for shopping, facility of backwater cruise, boat racing, provision of Kerala style food, display of fireworks, etc.
Desert festival of Jaisalmer in Rajasthan is another such creation by Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation. It was started in 1979 and attracts a large number of visitors every year. It is celebrated during the full moon in the month of February. The highlights of the festival are the desert folk music and Rajasthani dances like Dhap, Ghormar, Moria, Chari, Gangane, etc. Camel acrobatics, camel races, camel decor competitions, polo, camel safaris, etc. are other attractions. The competitions such as the turban tying contests, moustache contest, etc. with grand finale ending with the selection of Maru-Shri – Mr. Desert, are the significant features of the festival.
Music and Dance Festivals
Music and Dance festivals organised at different places also reflect the traits of Indian culture. Some of the popular music and dance festivals are – Mahabalipuram Dance Festival at Mahabalipuram, Bijapur Music Festival at Bijapur, Khajuraho Festival at Khajuraho, Dhrupad Mela at Varanasi, Konark Dance Festival at Konark and Tansen Festival at Gawalior. Of these the festivals at Mahabalipuram, Khajuraho and Konark are the dance festivals where the performances by the leading exponents of various dance forms such as Bharat Natyam (Tamilnadu), Kuchipudi (Orissa), Kathakali (Kerala), Kathak (Uttar Pradesh), Manipuri (Manipur) and even foreign dance like Balinese (Indonesia) are organised in the open space or mandap in the architectural setting of the temple complexes at the above mentioned sites. These festivals draw large crowds. The craft fairs are also organised at these centres. Music festivals of Varanasi, Gwalior and Bijapur are also becoming popular. The skilled musicians perform with instruments like shehnai, sitar, veena, etc. The classical music concerts are also organised.
Off late the film festivals organised at different places in India have also become popular. As we know, India is the largest producer of films. Due to linguistic variations, a large number of films are produced in various languages. As a result, the film festivals are held at different places to screen the films in different languages. These films reflect the cultural traits of our society. The Annual Film Festival is held every year at Delhi. Besides this, the Film Festival of the films made in foreign languages, is also organised annually.