The culturally vibrant and thriving central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh is home to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites. However, that’s not the only reason why you should visit the state. The state takes pride in accommodating one of the largest tribal populations in the country and is naturally the resting bed of age-old traditions and heirlooms.
The modern-day amenities and developments have found a sweet way of coexisting with the rich heritage of the different tribes and communities of the region, making Madhya Pradesh the epitome of a vivid picture of India’s varied and diverse cultures and history. If you’re planning a trip to the mesmerising state of Madhya Pradesh, you should try and attend some of these amazing festivals celebrated here. Madhya Pradesh festivals are a sight to behold and here’s why you can’t miss them.
Here are the best of Madhya Pradesh festivals to experience to catch a glimpse of the culture of the beautiful state
1. Rang Panchami
Holi is one of the favourite festivals of the country and being in Madhya Pradesh at the time of Holi just makes things better. The festival of colours, joy and spirit, Holi is celebrated for two days on the last full moon day of the lunar moon. If you are in the state for long, start with grooving to the beats of a crowd high on sugar as you paint the town with all colours of the rainbow at a Ujjain Holi party. An absolute joy of a festival, the extravaganza of Holi lingers on for quite some time with people making merriment, singing and dancing to the lively beats of the drum. Thereafter you can witness the festival of Rang Panchami, which is celebrated by the tribal communities of Madhya Pradesh, five days after Holi and being able to attend the festival is simply blissful. Celebrating Ujjain Holi is an experience of a lifetime where you’re sure to make many colourful memories.
The festival of lights signifying the victory of good over everything evil or dark, Diwali is celebrated with much vigour in the state of Madhya Pradesh. With lit-up streets, a variety of sweets and pakwans made in ghee, and smiling faces all around, Diwali is a joyous time to be in the heart of India, Madhya Pradesh. The five days of the festival, right from Dhanteras to the Govardhan Puja and Bhai Dooj see the state of Madhya Pradesh come alive to the sweet sound of laughter and firecrackers. Diwali is undoubtedly one of the best Madhya Pradesh festivals you can attend!
Around the same time, Dev Deepavali is also observed in the state. Mahakal temple in Ujjain is decked up in diyas, and while Varanasi is the centre for this festival, it is celebrated with much vigour in Madhya Pradesh too.
3. Ujjain Kumbh Mela
Ujjain is one of the four holy places (Allahabad, Haridwar and Nasik being the other three) where the Kumbh Mela takes place every four years. The Ujjain Kumbh Mela is a festival which sees thousands of lakhs of pilgrims and hermits coming to take a dip in the holy Shipra river - a practice believed to wash away all our mortal sins. Rekindle the spiritual spark in your soul by visiting the Ujjain Kumbh Mela where you’ll witness everything from devotional singing to mass temple feedings.
4. Khajuraho Dance Festival
Organised by the Madhya Pradesh Kala Parishad, the Khajuraho dance festival is a seven-day gala event that you cannot miss. The festival takes place in front of the Chitragupta temple and is a celebration of the many rich dance forms of the Indian land. Some of the dance forms staged by renowned classical dancers at this Madhya Pradesh festival include Kathakali, Kathak, Bharatnatyam, Kuchipudi, Odissi, Manipuri and Mohiniyattam. The Khajuraho dance festival takes place around February-March every year and should feature on your list of things to do in Madhya Pradesh if you’re here around that time.
5. Pachmarhi Festival
One of the most famous Madhya Pradesh festivals you must visit is the Pachmarhi festival. It is a 6-day long event that starts on December 25th and ends on New Year’s Eve. The festival is all about celebrating the country’s rich folk art and talented artisans. At the Pachmarhi festival, you can engage in a joyous spree of shopping for locally-made handcrafted products that symbolise the region’s vibrant cultural heritage. If you’ve attended the Ujjain Mahashivratri, then the Shivratri Mela is another attraction you can enjoy here. The Ujjain Maha Shivratri mela is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is flocked by thousands of Shiv-bhakts.
6. Chethiyagiri Vihara Festival
The Chetiyagiri Vihara festival is a grand celebration of Buddhist traditions held in Sanchi, every year around November. The festival witnesses thousands of Buddhist monks visiting Sanchi to pay tribute to the relics of two of Buddha’s disciples. Immerse in the divine and serene act of relic worship here at one of the monumental Madhya Pradesh festivals.
7. Bhagoria Haat Festival
Last on our list is the intriguing Bhagoria Haat festival of Madhya Pradesh. This is a tribal festival celebrating love that encourages young boys and girls to elope after choosing their life partner. It is a fun and spirited festival where boys and girls put red powder on their chosen one’s face as a symbol of choosing/accepting the other as their life partner. Lovers can run away from the ground and be sure that their parents will be accepting of their relationship when they return!