South India is famous for its magnificent relics, rock-cut shrines, ancient ruins, and captivating cultural diversity. But, if you wish to witness the opulence, grandeur, fervour, and revelry of South India, you’ve got to pay a visit to its amazing cities and towns during the festive season.
Different states of South India celebrate its festivals with much zeal and vigour. Many tourists book Coorg packages from Bangalore when Kailpold festival is around the corner whereas others are seen flocking to Mysore for the grand Dasara celebrations.
If holidaying in South India is on the cards for you, we suggest that you plan it around any of the following festivals to enjoy your vacation to the fullest:
1. Mysore Dasara
Dussehra or Dasara, as it is locally called, is a prominent festival in Mysore that usually takes place in the month of October. The Kannadigas celebrate this festival with much pomp and show. The entire city gets a makeover during this 10-day festival. Every house and temple is decorated with flowers and lamps. On the tenth day, Goddess Chamundeshwari is worshipped and then taken in a gala procession of bedecked elephants through the decorated streets of the city, from the Mysore Palace to Banni Mantappa (Dasara ground). The Mysore Palace also gets illuminated with over 100,000 lights during the festival. People from all around the world gather to watch the procession as well as the gloriously-lit Mysore Palace during this time.
2. Hampi Utsav
The historical city of Hampi gets bedazzled with colour, light and bonhomie during the Hampi Utsav. The festivities date back to Vijaynagar Empire and is therefore also called Vijay Utsav. This festival that takes place in January turns Hampi into a cultural hotbed where a congregation of various events highlight the glorious past of the country. During this 3-day long carnival, a light & sound show takes place on the banks of river Tungabhadra. Puppet shows, traditional theatre, music and dance, elephant parades and well-decorated horse processions form the heart and soul of Vijay Utsav attracting crowds from various corners of the country.
3. Pongal, Tamil Nadu
A 4-day long harvest celebration, Pongal is a quintessential Tamil festival. It is a traditional occasion where Tamilians thank nature for providing grains. The festival falls at the same time as Lohri in Punjab, around mid-January. On the first day, Bhogi Mantalu is observed where household items are tossed into the bonfire. It is followed by Thai Pongal on the second day where rice and milk are cooked in an earthen pot to which turmeric plant is tied. Also, kolam – hand-drawn design using lime powder – is made. On the third day i.e. Mattu Pongal, cows are adorned with bells and worshipped. Kaanum Pongal marks the last day of the festival. The women of the house put the leftover sweet Pongal and other food in the courtyard on a turmeric leaf, along with betel leaves, sugar cane, and betel nuts.
4. Masi Magam Festival
Masi Magam Festival is the annual festival celebrated in Pondicherry on the full moon day in the Tamil month of Masi, which falls between the months of February and March. This festival is marked by various traditional customs. Deities of around 50 odd temples from nearby cities reach Pondicherry in full pomp and show. These deities from the neighbouring temples are brought around Karaikal port where devotees come to take a holy dip. A sanctimonious sea bath is held on the beach, where thousands of devotees cleanse themselves.
The most significant deity of all is Sowriraja Perumal of Thirukannapuram. There is a mythological tale associated with the deity. It is said that he was married to a woman of fisherman community which made him enter the fisherman village. The festival is observed to mark the occasion where deities enter human society, and devotees offer them a hearty welcome.
5. Karthigai Deepam Festival
Karthigai Deepam festival in Tamil Nadu can be termed as an extension to the celebration of Diwali. It falls 15 days after Diwali in the month of October or November, ie on the day of the full moon in the month of Karthik. The festival is dedicated to the immortal light created by lord Shiva. Locals add one lamp to their house every day, post-Diwali. By the time Karthigai Deepam arrives, the houses are full of lamps. These lamps are then worshipped on the day of the festival, and oil lamps with 365 wicks are burned at Shiva temples. The site presents a spectacular view where you can see thousands of lamps burning simultaneously in every nook and corner of the city and especially in temples.
Kailpodh is celebrated in Coorg when the end of the paddy sowing season comes. The day marks the completion of rice or paddy crop transplantation. It also signifies the day when men should prepare to safeguard their crop from wild animals. During Kailpod, locals take out the weapons from their Pooja room; they clean it and decorate it with flowers. Then, the weapons are kept in the central hall of the house where the family worships it. This ritual is followed by feasting and drinking. Games and sports like races and other competitions take place.
It is best to book a Coorg Tour package around this festival. They are places to visit in Coorg in 2 days which include almost all local attractions. However, it is advised to book for an extra day. You can witness the colour that this festival adds to the environment and also to the prominent places to visit in Coorg.
So, when are you booking your South India holiday, and around which festival?