A Spirited Celebration Of Life

Sparkling. Colourful. Over the top. The festive spirit is alive and well in India.

In our part of the world, celebrations are always larger than life. Whether it’s nine nights of female power at Navratri or chopping off ten heads of a demon king for Dussehra, we have no shortage of inspiration.

But beyond traditional festivals like Diwali and Holi, some spectacular events are always on our radar. From literature to tribal traditions, music to spirituality, each one offers a unique perspective on Indian culture.  Mark your calendars for these experiences of a lifetime

World Sacred Spirit Festival:

Beneath the night sky in a remote corner of Rajasthan, a soulful song floats through the air. Music brings a 15th century Rajput fortress to life, as the World Sacred Spirit Festival begins at Ahhichatragarh fort in Nagaur. Persian poets, Sufi dervishes, and Baul mystics come together in harmony. The audience lounges on soft mattresses and cushions that are spread across the ground, while the artistes perform onstage. If you are a musical soul, this event is unmissable.

Encounters Asia will arrange for accommodations within the ramparts of Ahhichattragarh Fort in Nagaur. This event is a must for music lovers, cultural connoisseurs, and spiritual seekers. The next World Sacred Spirit Festival takes place in western Rajasthan in January 2022.

Jaipur Literature Festival

High brow meets radical at the Jaipur Literature Festival, which is arguably “the greatest literary show on earth.” While the critics clamour away, there’s no doubt that it is the largest event of its kind.

Jaipur buzzes like a queen bee during this event. Literature to politics, the arts to current affairs, it offers an insider’s perspective on contemporary India. It takes place on the grounds of Diggi Palace in Jaipur. From Simon Winchester to Shashi Tharoor, the festival attracts a fabulous line-up to engage in a thorough and thought provoking exchange of ideas.

The next Jaipur Literature Festival takes place in January 2022. Jaipur has several stunning hotels. From erstwhile palaces to boutique havelis and luxurious tented camps, there’s no dearth of fabulous places to park yourself during this festival.

This event is a highly recommended for those who want an insight into contemporary culture in India.

Hemis Festival

The Hemis Festival is all about high drama.

According to the Tibetan Calendar, the tenth day of the lunar month is a tse-chu, when the lamas of Hemis Monastery in Ladakh put on their finest costumes and create an impressive show for their audience.

As the long horn echoes off the mountain slopes, masked dancers form a long procession and dance in a vivid pantomime, waving their arms and kicking up their legs, depicting a triumph of good over evil. An orchestra of monks play horns, drums and cymbals in lively rhythm. 

The next Hemis Festival will take place at Hemis Gompa in July 2022. If you’re a culture-curious traveler, or an avid photographer, this is an event not to be missed.

The Hornbill Festival:

Known as the ‘festival of festivals’, the Hornbill Festival in Kohima, celebrates the customs and traditions of the various Naga tribes of Nagaland. This ten-day long visual extravaganza makes your eyes pop and is a huge favourite with photographers.

You’ll be glad that it’s not your head on the line, when the Konyak Mons show off their headhunting ritual, and the Changs draw their daos (long swords)! From fashion shows to rock bands and the Ms. Naga beauty contest — the Encounters Asia’s team helps you to navigate the celebrations so that you don’t miss out on its best moments.

We arrange for your stay at a luxury tented camp, with proper beds, hot and cold running water, luxurious en-suite bathrooms.

The next Hornbill festival takes place from 1-10 December 2021. If you are fascinated by tribes or have a passion for photography, don’t miss this event.

While we’ve piqued your curiosity with a few of our favourites, our calendar is overflowing with festivals and events and it’s difficult to choose one versus the other. Whether we’re celebrating spring fever with Holla Mohalla in Punjab, or mingling with nomadic tribes at the Kavant Mela in Gujarat, or attending the Muziris Biennale in Cochin, there’s always something to celebrate when you’re in India!