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Travel 2015: What should you celebrate this March?

February 10, 2015 15:36 IST

In the third of a 12-part series, we list out all the places you should visit and all the festivals you should celebrate through the New Year.

Part 1: India's January festivities

Part 2: India's February festivities

We are more than a week into February and it isn't too late to start making plans for March.

So what should you be celebrating next month?

Holi

If you want to make the festival of colours count this year, do visit Mathura or Vrindavan in Uttar Pradesh.

The Holi celebrations here begin a few days before the big day, with the Sri Krishna Janmastham in Mathura holding a well-attended show during the days preceding Holi.

The Banke Bihari temple in Vrindavan also hosts a week-long celebration before the festival.

And if you are there, do stop by at the village of Barsana near Mathura, which hosts the Lathmar Holi where women beat up men with sticks as the men protect themselves with shields (see the video here).

It's a sight to watch sari-clad women having the time of their lives in this rather amusing ritual. 

Holi falls on March 6 this year.

Photograph: Anindito Mukherjee/Reuters


Jodhpur Flamenco and Gypsy Festival

The majestic Mehrangarh Fort is the backdrop for this unique festival that aims to nurture the ties between the Rajasthani and Flamenco folk dance cultures.

Even if you don't fancy dancing so much (which would be a terrible thing), do take a trip to this wonderful city that is home to the mother of all forts, Mehrangarh (take a video tour of the magnificent fort here).

The festival takes place between March 13 and March 15.

Photograph Courtesy: Jodhpur Flamenco and Gypsy Festival


Gangaur Festival

If you're in Jodhpur for the Flamenco and Gypsy Festival, stay on for a few more days and witness the Gangaur Festival that will be held on March 22-23 this year.

The festival is celebrated in honour of the goddess of abundance as single young girls pray for a spouse.

Festivities include a procession being taken to the closest water body with the women carrying images of the goddess on their heads.

You can stay on in Jodhpur and witness the procession that starts from Mehrangarh Fort and travels through the old city.

The festival is also celebrated with gusto in the Rajasthani cities of Bikaner, Nathdwara and Jaisalmer.


Paripally Gajamela

On March 2, the Kodimoottil Bhagavathy temple at Parippally will host the annual Gajamela or the festival of elephants.

The temple dedicated to Goddess Bhadrakali.

A grand procession of 50 caparisoned elephants marks the end of the 10-day festival which, without doubt, is one of the grandest spectacles you will ever see.

The temple is located in Kollam district, about an hour to the north of Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of Kerala.

Photograph courtesy: Kerala Tourism


Thirunakkara Arattu

Yet another temple festival in Kerala that starts on March 15 and goes on till March 24 draws to a close with the Arattu procession that comprises nine caparisoned elephants.

This 10-day festival has a lot to offer -- from folk art forms like Mayilattom (peacock dance) and Velakali as well as all-night Kathakali performances.


Shigmo

The fun-loving folks in India's best-known beach state have their own version of Holi.

Shimgo, like Holi, is a spring festival and involves lots of singing, dancing, colours and bright decorations.

The traditional dance form, Ghodemodni, is central to these celebrations, which take place in Goa.

Photograph: Abhisek Sarda/Creative Commons


Konkan Turtle Festival

If you are in Goa, why not cross the border into Maharashtra where Velas village in Ratnagiri will host the Konkan Turtle Festival mid-March.

Watch newly-hatched Olive Ridley turtles march into the sea and get a taste of rural life in the state.


Nauchandi Mela

The Nauchandi Mela is a fine example of religious tolerance in India.

Held near the Nauchandi temple and the shrine of Bala Mian in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, the month-long fair will start on March 15 this year.

The mela, which started as a one-day cattle trade fair in 1627, has gained popularity over the centuries. It has been held every year except in 1858, a year after India's uprising against the East India Company.

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