Who said festivals have to be about bright lights, music and propaganda? Showcasing our rich cultural heritage and biodiversity, these festivals portray another side of fun and frolicking. Filled with colours, short films, exotic fruits and more, they aid in our ecotourism and agrotourism while promoting concepts of sustainability and the environment.
Take a look at five such festivals that you ought to know about in India.
1. Dahanu Festival
The recently concluded Dahanu festival is celebrated in this coastal town in Maharashtra. The Dahanu festival celebrates the agriculture of the land. The town has hectares of chikoo farms, palm trees and fragrant roses growing in full glory.
The annual festival was started to promote local culture and products. Stalls are put up to showcase ethnic art forms. Fishermen of this place arrange boat rides and trips for travellers. There’s a chikoo safari, a village tour and trekking, among other highlights.
The festival, which is conducted with a sustainability theme, has been a great boost to the local community.
The fest takes place in the month of March.
2. Konkan Fruit Festival
Another festival celebrating the fruits of the land, not many may know of Goa’s Konkan Fruit Festival (KFF) conducted by the botanical society of the state.
It is an attempt to preserve the endangered food diversity of Goa. Every year the festival provides a platform for farmers to market their lesser-known fruit varieties.
During the fest, you will see exotic and traditional varieties of fruits, as well as their seeds/ saplings, being exhibited and sold. It also connects farmers, government agencies such as the Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR), agricultural colleges, scientists from regional fruit boards, technology/ machine manufacturers and fruit sellers.
The festival was first hosted in 2003 at Panaji. It is usually held in the month of May.
3. Hakki Habba Bird Festival
To attract more people to the cause of bird conservation, the Karnataka forest department launched an annual bird festival in 2014. Organised at Biligiri Rangaswamy Temple (BRT) Tiger Reserve in Chamarajanagar every year, the festival creates a checklist of the many species of birds.
Birdwatching and related classes are the main programmes of the fest. Films and documentaries related to the subject are also shown. The vast biodiversity of the place is showcased through the fest.
The fest takes place in the month of January at any major wildlife sanctuaries or tiger reserves of Mysore.
4. Hornbill Festival
In Nagaland, several tribal communities have their own language, traditions and art. The hornbill festival that takes place from 1 to 10 December every year is a platform to bring them together and exhibit their culture to the masses.
The festival aims to promote eco-tourism and socio-economic development by conducting this fest which is a celebration of all Naga tribes. Handicrafts by the communities are exhibited and sold during the event.
It takes place in Kohima, which can be easily reached by air from Guwahati and Kolkata.
5. Mobile Biodiversity Fest
For the past 21 years, Deccan Development Society (DDS), an agriculture-based NGO in Telangana, has been conducting a mobile biodiversity fest. It lasts for a month and holds the record for being the longest cultural campaign in India’s voluntary sector.
It focuses on food diversity and interestingly, it is organised by women farmers.
A moving festival with hundreds of local seeds mounted on bullock carts set in a caravan, it sees participation from folk singers, dancers and thousands of farmers. The carts travel through the villages and towns of Zaheerebad region of Sangareddy district. Several national and international agriculture experts arrive to witness the event.
This festival uplifts the agrotourism sector of the state tremendously and takes place during the months of January and February. The festival moves across at least 28 villages of Hyderabad over a 30 day period.
(Edited by Yoshita Rao)