7 Dance And Music Festivals You Must Attend This December

Bring the year 2021 to a close with traditional dance and musical performances held in the month of December in India.

Tanvi Jain

It's December! Time to bid adieu to the year 2021 and welcome 2022. And, what better way to do this than in the company of some good music, mind-blowing dance performances, fun cultural activities, and delicious food from different parts of the country. So, this month if you are willing to indulge in some traditional activities and soak in pure Indian vibes as you step into the next year, then you must attend these seven festivals.

1. Kumbhalgarh Festival, Rajasthan 

December 1-3, 2021 

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Plan a trip to Udaipur to participate in the Kumbhalgarh Festival, organised annually by the Rajasthan Tourism Department at the Kumbhalgarh Fort (in the nearby Rajsamand district) to promote Kumbhalgarh's art and culture. The three-day festival gives you a chance to witness artists from distinct parts of the country perform folk music and dance, and take part in competitions such as applying henna or tying a turban. You can also enjoy light and sound shows which are held all night here.

2. Hornbill Festival, Nagaland

December 1-10, 2021

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If Northeast India is still pending on your bucket list, then this is the perfect time to tick off at least one of the seven sisters from the list by visiting Kohima for Nagaland's famous Hornbill festival. Held at the Naga Heritage Village, for the festival various Naga tribes dress up in traditional attire with headgears and ivory armlets. It is considered to be one of the biggest festivals of the warrior tribes of the state. The festival, recognised internationally, welcomes tourists from all over the world who indulge in singing, dancing, eating and drinking as a part of the grand celebrations.

Other highlights include the Naga Morungs’ exhibition of art and craft, food stalls serving delicious Naga cuisine, archery,  wrestling, and music concerts.

3. Bacardi NH7 Weekender 

Dates to be announced

Another grand music and comedy festival to look out for in December is the Bacardi NH7 Weekender that takes place in multiple cities across India. Organised by Only Much Louder (OML), the festival that started in Pune in 2010, has now travelled to cities like Bengaluru, Goa, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Shillong, and Delhi/NCR. Lucky Ali, Nucleya, Prateek Kuhad, and When Chai Met Toast are just some of the many artists that displayed their magic at last year's virtual edition of the music festival. While this year's line-up is still a surprise and even the dates haven’t been confirmed yet, as per an official tweet, tickets are to go live in three days.

4. Cochin Carnival, Kerala 

December 25, 2021 - January 1, 2022

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This is Fort Kochi's biggest gala, organised by the District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC), Ernakulum. The carnival witnesses a huge crowd on New Year's Eve that is gathered to witness the burning of the effigy of Pappanji, an old man wearing a suit—signifying hope and harmony. The carnival kickstarts with The Ceremony of Peace at The War Memorial and then hoisting of the Carnival Flag at Vasco da Gama Square. As a part of the celebrations here, you can participate in events such as cultural shows, food festivals, beach football, cycle races, and more.

5. Mamallapuram Dance Festival, Mahabalipuram 

December 25, 2021 - January 15, 2022

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Around two hours from Chennai lies the temple town of Mamallapuram or Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu's Chengalpattu district. The ancient port city is known for monuments from the Pallava dynasty dating to the seventh century. Every year, the UNESCO World Heritage site hosts Mamallapuram Dance Festival from December end to mid-January, where artists perform dance forms such as Kuchipudi, Odissi, Bharatanatyam, and more. A popular beach resort, the place is rich in caves, temples, and ancient monuments and sculptures. When here, don't forget to visit the famous Shor Temple to witness the celebrations.

6. Tansen Samaroh, Gwalior 

Dates to be announced

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Photo: Facebook/Tansen Samaroh

The four-day music festival is celebrated every year in December in Behat village near Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh. During the festival, organised by the MP government, artists and music enthusiasts assemble near the tomb of Tansen to pay tribute to the famous musician from Emperor Akbar's era. Throughout the event, one can witness various vocal and instrumental performances by both aspiring as well as known artists. In fact, at the end of the event, the best one out of the lot is also honoured with Rashtriya Tansen Samman—an award of the highest respect in the Indian classical music industry. Last year it was awarded to Santoor player, Satish Vyas. As per an official tweet, local artists can apply for the music festival by December 2.

7. Winter Festival, Mount Abu 

December 29-30, 2021

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Photo: Twitter/ Rajasthan Tourism

The famous Winter Festival of Mount Abu in Rajasthan is organised every year at the end of December jointly by the Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation and the Municipal Board of Mount Abu. The festival, aimed at highlighting the state's rich culture and heritage starts with a parade covering the hill station and ends at the Nakki Lake Chowk—followed by lighting hundreds of diyas and setting them afloat. Artists can be seen performing various classical and folk songs. Sufi kathak, ghoomar, and shaam-e-qawwali are just some of the dance and music performances that you can enjoy here. Not to mention various sports activities, handicraft fairs, fireworks, band performances, and more.

Disclaimer: Kindly visit festival and state tourism websites for updates. 

Photo: Shutterstock
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