Durga Puja is the most prominent festival of West Bengal. Though it is celebrated with great enthusiasm all over the country, the zeal and devotion for this festival can be best witnessed in West Bengal. Durga Puja is not only enjoyed by Bengalis but tourists from different parts of the world also find this festival highly attractive. The grandeur of this festival in West Bengal is worth a visit. The festival is mainly celebrated at the time of Navaratri, from sixth to tenth day.
Bihu is celebrated as the new year of Assamese. During Bihu, which is celebrated on 14th of April, the whole state of Assam is adorned with vibrant hues and beautiful foliages for the whole month. During this festival, the nature exhibits its most colourful form where purple orchids and blooming bhebel creepers are found in abundance. The colourful nature also reflects in the attire of the people who ornament themselves with beautiful orchids. Celebration of Bihu is a means of spreading joy. Traditional dance performance by the men of the state is a charming feature of the festival of Assam.
Konark Dance Festival
During the month of December, Korank Dance Festival is celebrated in Orissa. This festival plays an important role in promoting classical dance and music of India. People from different parts of the country give extraordinary performances in this festivals of Orissa which is organized in the open air auditorium of the Konark Temple.
Rath Yatra is one of the grandest festivals of India. The focus of this festival is the journey of the idol of Lord Jagannath with his sister Subhadra and brother Balarama, from the main Jagannath Temple of Puri to Gundicha Temple. In this temple the idols remain for nine days. The journey is carried out in a spectacular wooden chariot which is pulled by numerous devotees. The second day of the lunar month marks the beginning of Ratha Yatra. This festival attracts devotees from all over the country to pull the sacred chariot.
Teesta Tea festival
Another important Regional Festival of Eastern India is the Teesta Tea Festival of Darjeeling. Tea cultivation in Darjeeling is famous all over the world and is relished greatly for its unique taste and flavour. Teesta tea festival is a great attraction for the tourist of the whole world. This is celebrated usually in the months of December and January. Apart from Darjeeling, the neighbouring regions like Kalimpong, Kurseong and Sikkim are also the centres of the grand celebration of this festival. Amidst the majestic hills, this festival is accompanied by food carnival, nature walk, film fest, water sports, toy train rides and sanctuary visits. Shopping also remains a great attraction of this colourful festival.
The capital town of Nagaland, Kohima, hosts the famous Hornbill Festival. Celebrated from 1st to 5th of December, this festival exhibits the richness of the culture and heritage of the 'Naga', people of Nagaland. This festival is especially promoted by the government with the aim of protecting the cultural heritage of Nagaland. Hornbill festival attracts people from distant places owing to its spectacular celebrations. The festival has been named after the most admired bird of Nagaland, Hornbill. Heritage of 16 Nagaland tribes are showcased here which promotes tourism in Nagaland to a great extent. Hornbill National Rock Concert is also another prominent feature of this festival which attracts rock bands from different parts of India.
Brahmaputra Beach Festival
Brahmaputra Beach Festival is another festival that adds to the rich cultural heritage of India. The two day celebration of this festival includes adventure sports, food, crafts, paragliding, rafting, boat cruises, beach volleyball and canoeing. It is celebrated in the month of January or February on the bank of Brahmaputra River.
Torgya Monastery Festival
This festival is celebrated by Monpa tribe of Arunachal Pradesh and Tawang Monastery serves as the venue. In the month of January, this three day festival is accompanied by sacred dance performances by monks. It is believed that the celebration of this festival confers prosperity to the tribe by driving away the evil spirits. On every third year, Torgya Monastery Festival is celebrated in the grandest manner and is called Dungyur Chenmo.
Dehing Patkai Festival
Assam offers some very beautiful and worth experiencing festivals among which Dehing Patkai festival is an important one. The festival takes its name from the Dehing River and Patkai range of eastern Assam. In the month of January, this festival is celebrated in a place called Lekhapani situated in the Tinsukia district of Assam. Tea heritage tours, adventure sports, fairs, golfing, trips to Stilwell Road, hiking and wildlife and visit to World War II cemeteries are main attractions of this festival.
Nongkrem Dance Festival
Nongkrem Dance Festival is celebrated mainly by the Khasi tribe of Meghalaya. Goat sacrifices, locally known as Pomblang, are an important feature of this festival. Shillong hosts Nongkrem Dance Festival in the month of November where traditional dances by tribal people are a treat to watch.
Wangla festival is celebrated for two days in the honour of the sun, God of fertility. The celebration includes traditional rituals like tribal dancing. The festival is also popular as the Hundred Drums Wangala owing to an important event of this festival where 100 drums are beaten. The festival is organized in the second week of November in a village of Garo hills known as Asanang village.
Shillong Autumn Festival
Another rocking festival of Meghalaya is the Autumn festival, celebrated in the month of October or November. Meghalaya Tourism Department especially promotes this festival by inviting national as well as international performers in the beauty pageants, street carnival, flower shows, traditional and rock music, fashion shows and many more events.
Tripura hosts a well known festival known as Kharchi Puja, which was previously associated with only royal families of the state. Various tribal legends are associated with the celebration of this week long festival which includes worshipping 14 Gods and cleansing of Mother Earth. Celebrated in the month of July, this festival organizes various cultural programs and fairs.
The sketch of real India always remains incomplete without the mention of the religious festivals. Apart from protecting the traditional and cultural heritage of the country, these festivals also serve to impart joy, frolic and enthusiasm among the people.