6 Incredible Events In India To Travel For In January

Camel fairs in the Thar desert, dance festivals on the coast in the backdrop of the UNESCO heritage monument, tours by Grammy nominee Anoushka Shankar, and more. Here's our pick of the events in India you should bookmark in January
Billed as the world's largest music festival, Lollapalooza is set to be held in Mumbai
Billed as the world's largest music festival, Lollapalooza is set to be held in Mumbai Shutterstock

A lot is happening in January around India, from festivals celebrating the culture of one of the oldest tribes in India to Grammy nominee Anoushka Shankar's music tour, a traditional dance festival at a UNESCO World Heritage Site to a festival in the dramatic Rajasthan desert. We have put together a list of some of the most interesting events to bookmark and add to your travel calendar.

Sukan Buru

Named after the hill where it is held, the Sukan Buru festival is celebrated by the Munda community of Jharkhand in winter. Buru means mountain in Mundari. Sukan Buru in Jharkhand's Khunti district is around 70 kilometres from the state capital Ranchi and is surrounded by three villages: Totada, Dulmi, and Burudih. The festival is a significant annual event for the Munda group in Jharkhand, one of India's ancient tribes hailing from the Chhota Nagpur Plateau. Here's what to expect if you visit - colourful kites will be flown from the hills, and there will be a cornucopia of folk music and dance to the sounds traditional folk music instruments. During the event, there will be a mela (fair) displaying local handicrafts and delectable regional dishes such as buru lad and dhuska. More about it here.

When: December 30, 2023 – January 4, 2024

Getting There: The nearest airport to Khunti is the Birsa Munda Airport in Ranchi, which is approximately 35 km away. Khunti does not have a railway station, the closest one being Hatia railway station. You can hire a taxi from the station or airport to the village.

Mamallapuram Dance Festival

 The Shore temple is a world heritage site in Mamallapuram
The Shore temple is a world heritage site in MamallapuramJayakumar/Shutterstock

A short distance from Chennai lies the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Mamallapuram, also known as Mahabalipuram. The coastal town reverberates with music and dance when it hosts the Mamallapuram Dance Festival or the Indian Dance Festival. This unique dance event, dedicated to showcasing India's extraordinary cultural heritage, lasts a month and welcomes the new year. The festival was first launched in 1992 and then renamed the Indian Dance Festival. Organised by the Tamil Nadu Tourism Department with cooperation from the Union Ministry of Tourism, it showcases folk dance forms such as Karagam, Kavadi, Thappattam, and Oyilattam, as well as classical dance forms like as Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi, and Kathak. The backdrop is the stunning sculpture known as "The Arjuna Penance" at the Shore Temple, a bas-air relief that goes back to the mid-seventh century. More about it here.

When: December 22, 2023, to January 21, 2024

Getting There: The nearest airport is in Chennai. You can hire a vehicle from the airport. The nearest mainstream railhead is also in Chennai.

Lollapalooza

Global music phenomenon Lollapalooza marked a new frontier in 2022 with the eighth destination of the festival in India marking its inaugural, first-ever edition in Asia. Billed as the world's largest music festival, it is set to be held this year in January at the Mahalaxmi Race Course in Mumbai. The festival has put together a stellar line-up of international musical artists such as Sting, Jonas Brothers, and One Republic, among others. Check here for tickets. More info here.

When: January 27-28, 2024

Getting There: Mumbai is well connected with cities all across India and countries all over the world with an international airport as well as one for domestic flights. If you are coming by train, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus railway station is the main rai head, connected to all major cities in India.

Anouska Shankar Live In India

Acclaimed sitar player, composer, and Grammy-nominee Anoushka Shankar, the daughter of sitar legend Pandit Ravi Shankar, is coming to India as part of her global tour. She will be bringing new songs from her new mini-album Chapter I: Forever, For Now, as well as reworked gems from her earlier releases. Shankar will travel to five cities with a quintet of gifted instrumentalists, bringing modern music that is firmly rooted in her Indian classical heritage and the lived experience of a worldwide diaspora. Check here for tickets.

The Venues

Jamshed Bhabha Theatre, NCPA in Mumbai, Dr BR Ambedkar Bhavan in Bengaluru, Shilpakala Vedika in Hyderabad, Pandit Farms in Pune, and Siri Fort Auditorium in Delhi. She will also be a part of the Lollapalooza festival at the Mahalaxmi Race Course in Mumbai. Check here for the dates, time and bookings.

When: January 22 to 31, 2024.

Bikaner Camel Festival

The Bikaner Camel Festival in Rajasthan
The Bikaner Camel Festival in RajasthanIgor Plotnikov/Shutterstock

Experience the colours of the desert at the Bikaner Camel Festival, expected to be held in January. Organised by the state tourism department of Rajasthan, the festival attracts visitors from home and abroad. It begins with a procession of decorated camels which starts from Junagarh (Old Fort). During the two days of the festival, you will see camel beauty pageants, camel races, tug-of-war, and more. Browse the stalls selling accessories to decorate the camels. In the evening, the venue hosts a dazzling show of cultural performances and fireworks.

When: January 13 to 15, 2024

Getting There: The nearest airport is in Jodhpur, around 251 km away. Bikaner is easily accessible by road and rail. The main railway stations are Bikaner Junction and Lalgarh, located around 6 km from the main city.

International Kite Flying Festival

Head to Ahmedabad for Makar Sankranti (January 14). In Gujarat, it marks the beginning of Uttarayan and the day is celebrated with the flying of kites. Hit up the Patang Bazar in the older part of the city. And take part in the International Kite Festival held in Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad. While there, explore the stunning architectural wonders of Ahmedabad. Old Ahmedabad was declared India's first UNESCO World Heritage City in 2017. Explore the city through a heritage walk. And do not miss the wondrous stepwells like Rani ki Vav. More info here.

When: January 8 to 14, 2024

Getting There: The airport here is Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport, also known as Ahmedabad Airport, which is linked with major national and international destinations. The city also has a railhead, Ahmedabad Railway Station, linked to most of the country.

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