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4 Cultural Festivals in Jammu and Kashmir That You Can’t Miss

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Jammu and Kashmir, the crown jewel of India, is not just known for its breathtaking landscapes, but also for its vibrant and culturally rich festivals. The region is a melting pot of diverse traditions and religions, beautifully reflected in its festive celebrations. From the famous Baisakhi festival to the grand Tulip Festival, Jammu and Kashmir festivals offer a plethora of festivities that will leave you mesmerised. The festivals in Kashmir are a perfect blend of music, dance, food, and religious rituals.

You can’t even imagine what you might miss if you don’t check out the top festivals while you are there. So, in this article, immerse yourself in the infectious energy and enthusiasm of the Jammu and Kashmir festivals. Here is a list of the top 4 festivals you should visit during your Kashmir trip.

1. Tulip festival

Tulip Festival

The tulip festival in Kashmir is organised annually in the mesmerising Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden in Srinagar. This festival is a testimony to the region’s natural beauty and rich cultural heritage. The stunning beauty of blooming tulips during springtime attracts many visitors from all over the country. The entire garden has more than 30 hectares of land, making it the most extensive tulip garden in Asia!

It was founded in 2007 to promote tourism and horticulture in Jammu and Kashmir. It is situated below the Zabarwan range, overlooking the picturesque Dal Lake. With its terraced structure and specially nurtured flowerbeds, the garden creates a breathtaking sight during the festival. The Tulip Festival in Kashmir is a beautiful and festive event that is sure to be enjoyed by people of all ages. If you are planning a trip to Kashmir in the spring, be sure to include the tulip festival in your itinerary.

2.  Sindhu Darshan Festival

Sindhu Darshan Festival

Sindhu Darshan Festival has been celebrated during the auspicious day of Guru Purnima on the banks of the Lake Indus since 1997. The festival is named after the Sindhu River, the Indus River. The festival begins with a ceremony where the devotees and the monks offer prayers to the river.

The Sindhu River is one of the major rivers in the Indian subcontinent including India. The festival has become more prominent since the beginning of the 21st century. The festival also includes cultural programs, various rituals, and sightseeing, and celebrates peace and harmony. It usually takes place in the months of June and July.

3. Baisakhi festival

Baisakhi marks the beginning of the Sikh new year and the new harvest season. It is another colourful festival celebrated in Jammu with great enthusiasm. The celebration takes place on April 13 or 14 every year. The festival is one of the most important festivals in the Sikh community, as this day is the birth anniversary of the tenth Sikh guru, Guru Gobind Singh.

On this auspicious occasion, people wake up early and go to the gurdwaras to pray and participate in special rituals. Devotees participate in Nagar Kirtans, where they sing devotional songs and show martial arts skills. The festival also commemorates the formation of the Khalsa Panth in 1699. The devotees dip in any water source, considering this act holy. They also participate in community meals known as Langars.

4. Shikara festival

Shikara festival

The main highlight of the Shikara festival in Kashmir is the enchanting Shikara race. It is an annual event where the Dal Lake comes alive with a magnificent display of beautifully decorated shikars. Each shikhara includes unique designs and outstanding works of art.

During July and August, the water bodies in Kashmir come alive with colourful Shikaras. The festival attracts locals and tourists to witness the grandeur and grace of the traditional boats. As a tourist, you can ride on one of these shikaras and take in the surroundings. You can also witness the floating gardens, and historic Mughal gardens, and even stay on the houseboats for the night.

Some other cultural festivals in Jammu and Kashmir

Apart from the top 4 festivals in Jammu and Kashmir you just read, there are quite a few more. Check out some more festivals you should visit during your stay in Kashmir.

1. Pahalgam festival

Pahalgam festival

Pahalgam is a famous hill station in Kashmir. The Pahalgam festival marks the beginning of spring. Several cultural programmes, events and exhibitions take place during the festival.  There are different zones for kids where they can have some fun of their own, and handcrafted items are on display here as well.

You will have a chance to taste local food and enjoy local music events. It’s a gala event where the local artists showcase their talent.

2. Lohri

Lohri is a popular festival celebrated in the northern part of India including Kashmir. It is an immensely important festival for the farmers as it marks the end of shorter days and the return of longer days. Typically, the festival is celebrated a day before the Makar Sankranti, on 13 January.

On the day of Lohri, the people of Jammu and Kashmir wear new clothes, wake up early and the kids visit different houses singing songs. The festival is filled with joy, music, dancing and bonfires. Through this festival, the beginning of a new year is celebrated with fun and prayers to the sun god.

3. Sri Rama Navami festival

Sri Rama Navami festival is a significant festival celebrated in Jammu and Kashmir. Lord Rama was born on this auspicious day, and the devotees celebrate the day in style by fasting and offering prayers to him.

The day falls typically in April, on the ninth day of Navratra, and many different rituals take place in the temples. Worshippers take part in processions as well to commemorate this particular day, and some temples also offer free meals.

4. Saffron festival

Saffron is a precious spice that is grown in only a few places in the world. In India, the best saffron comes from the Jammu and Kashmir region. The people of this region celebrate the harvesting season of saffron with a festival that lasts for 8 days. There are folk dances, cultural performances, and stalls selling various saffron products. The highlight of the festival is a traditional tea made with saffron called Kahba.

5. Amarnath Yatra

Amarnath Yatra

Amarnath is located in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir, and it is one of the holiest annual pilgrimages in India. According to the legend the cave is said to be the place where Lord Shiva and Parvati talked about the mystery of life. The journey to Amarnath is physically demanding, but lakhs of devotees take it to get in touch with the divine. There are two routes to the cave, one from Pahalgam and the other from Baltal. Helicopter services are also available.

6. Gurez festival

Gurez festival

Gurez Valley is located 113 km from Srinagar and offers you a picturesque view of the silk route. During July or August every year, the Gurez festival is celebrated here to honour the culture, heritage and handcrafted items. Apart from showcasing the talents of the people of Gurez, activities like river rafting, trekking, and cycling are also performed.

As a visitor, you can also participate in these activities, taste different cuisine or purchase handcrafted items. Here, you will have a chance to have fun with the locals and get familiar with them.

7. Kheer Bhawani Mela

Kheer Bhawani Mela

The Kheer Bhawani Mela is a Hindu pilgrimage that is held in the town of Tulmulla in Kashmir. The festival is dedicated to the goddess Kheer Bhawani, a manifestation of the Hindu goddess Durga. The festival is held in the month of August, and it is a time for Hindus from all over the region to come together and celebrate the goddess. The Kheer Bhawani Mela is a colourful and vibrant festival. The festival features a variety of events, such as folk dances, cultural performances, and a fair. The main event of the festival is a procession that is held in the spring of Kheer Bhawani. The procession is led by a tableau of the goddess, followed by dancers, musicians, and devotees.

Jammu and Kashmir’s festivals serve as a reminder of the indomitable spirit of the state. They also provide a perfect platform for the local artists, craftsmen, and communities to show their traditions and culture. They also bring people together, promote Kashmir tourism, and are a source of joy for the locals and the tourists.

Planning a Kashmir trip but still looking for the perfect tour package? Well, if that’s the case, then your search ends here now that Thomas Cook is here to help you out. At Thomas Cook, you will find plenty of Kashmir tour packages which could help you to select one. Check out these packages today before time runs out!

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