Timeless India – Events Calendar

Exploring the backwaters of Kerala provides a respite from the clamour and bustle of the major cities. Everything fades to a relaxed and tranquil charm as you navigate the seemingly endless network of canals and waterways through rural India. Drift quietly in your own private houseboat as you interact with villagers and enjoy the local cuisine.

The Jaisalmer Desert Festival is a celebration of the rich heritage and folk culture of the Rajahstani people. For three days in February, this dusty desert city explodes in a burst of colour and excitement as the locals attempt to outdo each other with bright traditional costumes. Folk music fills the air and various activities, including camel races, turban-tying contests and acrobatic displays entertain visitors well into the night.

Known as the “Festival of Colours”, Holi is a Hindu festival welcoming the beginning of Spring and an exhilarating experience for visitors. Starting the night before Holi, a series of huge bonfires are lit, symbolizing the demise of the demon Holika. On the day itself, revellers throw brightly coloured powders at each other, leading to a mind-bending explosion of vibrant colour on the streets.

Held annually in April, when the tulips are in full bloom, the Srinagar Tulip festival is the best time to experience the incredible beauty of this region. After the cold winter, the landscape softens and a silken carpet of brightly-coloured tulips covers the ground of the Indira Ghandi Memorial Tulip Garden in Srinagar. Spread over 5 hectares of land in the foothills of the Zabarwan mountains, the garden is truly an unforgettable sight during the festival period.

The Bengal Tiger is an important part of Indian culture and one of the reasons many wildlife enthusiasts choose to visit the country. The best time to see these elusive and magnificent creatures is during the warmer months of May and early June, when the tigers come out to cool themselves in the grass or by a watering hole, rewarding the patient traveller with some spectacular photographic opportunities.

Hemis Gompah is a Bhuddist Monastery situated in Ladakh and the site of the Hemis Festival, held to commemorate the birth of Lord Padmasambhava. Visitors are treated to an amazing display of mystic ceremonies, pounding drums and esoteric rituals, including the Masked Dances, during which colourfully dressed dancers wearing spectacular paper-mache masks simulate the battle between good and evil.

Trek through some of the most scenic landscapes, surrounded by the Himalayan mountain range. These soul-stirring journeys will take you across icy-cold glacier fed streams, through winding canyons, to snow-capped peaks and to areas filled with diverse bird life. Many species are breeding migrants and the region is an important staging post for birds crossing the mighty Himalayan range. To date, around 310 species have been recorded, many of them much sought-after and difficult to see anywhere else in the Subcontinent.

The Nehru Trophy Boat Race is held annually on the second Saturday in August on the Punnamda Lake, near Alappuzha, Kerala. A favourite among locals and tourists alike, spectators flock to witness the chundanvallams (known as “snake boats”) race across the teeming waters to claim glory for their village. The chundams measure over 100 feet in length with a raised prow and provide a spectacular sight as they race across the lake cheered on enthusiastically by the crowds.

Ganesha Chaturthi is a Hindu festival that celebrates the birthday of Lord Ganesha. The festival is celebrated in a very public manner as local communities compete with each other to put up the biggest and best Ganesha statue and display, with some statues as large as 70 feet. During the festival the streets are crowded with boisterous devotees, and an atmosphere of excitement permeates, ensuring an unforgettable and eye-opening experience.

Chandni Chowk is quintessentially Delhi. It is one place that Dilliwallahs dream about returning to, as if tasting their memories. Enjoy wandering through the ancient narrow lanes while sampling the exotic street food of Old Delhi. You will fall in love with the flamboyant, spicy cuisine, which, like the country itself, is bursting with flavour, aroma and texture.

Diwali, known as the “festival of lights” is one of the most important Hindu festivals of the year. Light illuminates every corner of India and the scent of incense hangs in the air as Hindu devotees houses are decorated with oil lamps and firecrackers are burnt at night. Processions of decorated deities are taken out in the streets and oil lamps are set afloat on the river, creating an incredible atmosphere that can be felt around the country.

Warm waters, white sands and waving palms, all painted glistening gold by the gentle sun. Goa is a beach-lovers paradise and the silken sands come in many forms from deserted shores surrounded by soaring cliffs to busy resorts with an array of watersports. But there’s far more to discover here than the exquisite pleasure of warm sand between your toes. Pep up your stay with a visit to the vibrant markets, wander around a vanilla-scented spice plantation, stroll the bird-filled banks of the state’s gentle rivers and poke around centuries-old cathedrals.