12 Famous Festivals and holidays in India in June 2021

India is a dynamic land with a beautiful culture, which believes God lives everywhere around people, starting from the sun to a blade of grass. Thus, Indians have the heritage of celebrating every small detail around them as festivals.

June is one of the peak summer seasons and the place is quite dry and humid. This doesn’t stop the locals from celebrating the sun, nature or deities of the land. Are you visiting India during June of 2021?

1. Ganga Dussehra

12 Famous Festivals and holidays in India in June 2021
Photo: Travelogy India

Location : Varanasi, Haridwar, Allahabad, Rishikesh, and Garhmukteshwar

Date : 20th June 2021

Ganga Dussehra is one of the major festivities observed in India in the honor of Goddess Ganga who is also popular as Gangavataran. The day is celebrated to mark the descent of Ganga on Bhumi (Earth). Because of the sacred Ganges coming on the Earth, it became purified and attained a heavenly status. Ganga Dussehra is a ten-day long festival which starts a day before Nirjala Ekadashi.

As per the Hindu calendar 2021, the celebrations of Ganga Dussehra takes place in the month of Jyeshtha during the Shukla Paksha on the tenth day (Dashami Tithi). According to the Gregorian calendar, the day falls in the month of May.

Ganga Dussehra signifies the potential of sacred Ganges to purify the ten sins which are related to actions, speech, and thoughts. It is believed that when the devotees worship Goddess Ganga on this day then they get relieved from their present and past sins as well as also attain salvation. It is regarded as an auspicious day to make investments, purchase new house property, vehicle, etc. and also for entering into a new house.

2. Kottiyoor Utsavam

12 Famous Festivals and holidays in India in June 2021
Photo: Travelogy India

Location : Kottiyoor Temple, Kerala

Date : 25th May 2021 – 20th June 2021

A 28-day festival, in the heart of a dense forest and in front of a roaring river, is an experience only God’s Own Country can provide. The hills of Kannur play host to the Kottiyoor Vysakha Mahotsavam, a festival hosted by two temples, Akkara Kottiyoor, and Ikkara Kottiyoor. Situated on the banks of the mighty River Baveli, it is among the most beloved festivals of Northern Kerala.

The venue is the Akkara Kottiyoor Temple which only opens during festival days annually. Akkara Kottiyoor and Ikkara Kottiyoor and the venue is the Akkara Kottiyoor Temple which opens only during festival days annually (Chothi asterism of the Malayalam month of Edavam to the Chithira asterism of the Malayalam month of Midhunam). The dates normally fall between May-June.

The devotees worship a swayambhoo lingam (self-created idol of Lord Shiva) and the temple is famous for its absence of a formal structure. The deity itself is placed on a platform made of river stones named manithara. The rituals are performed in thatched huts and begin with the Neyyattam (pouring of ghee). It begins with the bringing of a sword from Muthirerikavu in Wayanad. Another interesting spectacle seen is the Rohini Aaradhana where the priest embraces the swayambhoo Shiva linga as part of the ritual. One would also not wish to miss the Elaneer Vayppu, in which tender coconut is offered before the swayambhoo lingam. The festival ends with the Elaneerattam, in which the collected tender coconut water is poured on the idol by the head priest. It is a stunning visual spectacle, with nature itself sanctifying this divine event.

3. Shimla Summer Festival

12 Famous Festivals and holidays in India in June 2021
Photo: Travelogy India

Location : Shimla

Date : First week of June, every year (exact dates are not yet announced

Shimla summer festival is celebrated by the local people on a grand scale. It is attended by a huge gathering of tribal people, budding artists, and tourists to mark the advent of the summer season. It is said to be a tribute to God by singing and dancing. For the people of Himalayas, this festival is a way to mark a successful harvest season and they ask for the same blessing in the following year.

The trend of this festival began 59 years ago. Shimla was the summer capital during the British Raj. They started this festival in order to boost the tourism of Shimla. This festival has become a huge success since then and a number of tourists come from all corners of the world to enjoy it.

4. Panihati Chida Dahi Utsava

12 Famous Festivals and holidays in India in June 2021
Photo: Getty Images

Location : Bangalore

Date : 4th June 2020

The Panihati Chida-dahi Utsava is celebrated to commemorate the meeting of Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami with Sri Nityananda Prabhu for the first time in a village named Panihati near Kolkata in West Bengal. This festival is also known as Danda Mahotsava (the Festival of Punishment). It is celebrated on the thirteenth day of the bright moon in the month of Jyeshta (May-June). To this day, pilgrims visit Panihati to celebrate the Chida-dahi festival.

Under the prevailing situation of national lockdown, we will be observing Panihati Chida-dahi festival this year, on Thursday, June 04, 2020.

All devotees are requested to demonstrate their respect for the government restrictions on moving out from home as responsible citizens. No one is permitted to visit the temple on June 04. There will be no exemption.

Resident devotees on Hare Krishna Hill will conduct the festival, respecting the social distancing norms. The devotees shall also offer special prayers to Sri Sri Nitai Gauranga for the protection of all the devotees and for the welfare of the world.

5. Saga Dawa

12 Famous Festivals and holidays in India in June 2021
Photo: Travelogy India

Location : Gangtok

Date : Almost Comes in June First week

When the star of Saga appears in the sky in the fourth month of Tibetan Calendar, Tibetan Buddhists start to celebrate the most auspicious and significant time of a year: Saga Dawa Festival. This month-long festival honors Buddha Sakyamuni whose birth, enlightenment, and nirvana all took place in the same month and reaches its peak on 26 May 2021.

Believing that the good deeds and prayers are multiplied thousand-fold during this period, people are much more merciful than usual: we do Kora around Jokhang Temple and give out alms to needy people, refrain from killing animals and release captured animals (like fish) into their natural habitats with sincere prayers, making it the "Month of Merits". More pilgrims visit Mt Kailash during Saga Dawa Festival to attend the flagpole-erecting ceremony at Tarboche and do Kora around Mt Kailash - the greatest activity for our Tibetan Buddhists.

6. Sindhu Darshan Festival

12 Famous Festivals and holidays in India in June 2021
Photo: Travelogy India

Location : Ladakh

Date : 12th – 14th June 2021

Held on the banks of the River Indus (River Sindhu) in Shey Manla, which is about 8 km from the city of Leh, the Sindhu Darshan Festival is attended by hundreds of tourists from all over the country. The celebration features such cultural events as musical shows, dance performances and art exhibitions, organised by artistes from around India. Also called the Singhe Kabaab Festival, it draws focus to the Sindhu river and promotes the waterbody as a symbol of the country’s communal unity and harmony.

Usually celebrated on the day of Guru Purnima, the festivities continue for three days. On the first day, a reception ceremony is held, which is followed by prayers conducted by lamas on the river banks. The day concludes with a bonfire at night. The second day is all about cultural exchanges, showcases of indigenous arts and crafts, and performances by artistes, which is followed by a puja (prayer).

7. Ochira Kali

12 Famous Festivals and holidays in India in June 2021
Photo: Travelogy India

Location : Kollam district of Kerala

Date : 15th – 16th June 2021

A temple without a definite layout or idol of worship, the Ochira Temple situated near the National Highway connecting Kollam and Alappuzha districts is well renowned for its festival – the Ochira Kali. Here, the whole concept of worship revolves around the Parabrahma or the universal consciousness. It is this uniqueness that makes this temple stand apart from the rest.

The highlight of the festival, at this temple, is the mock battle between two groups, to the sound of drums, in a waterlogged field called padanilam. This battle commemorates the historic battle, fought between the erstwhile Kayamkulam and Ambalapuzha kingdoms. The event features boys and men, split in two groups, who jump into the field, to engage in a mock battle. In this mock battle, sticks replace swords and the participants splash muddy water at each other.

The festival is held on the first two days of the Malayalam month of Mithunam (Mid June).

8. Yuru Kabgyat

12 Famous Festivals and holidays in India in June 2021
Photo: Travelogy India

Location : Lamayuru, Ladakh

Date : 7th – 8th June 2021

A colourful festivity, Yuru Kabgyat is acclaimed for being the important occasion for the followers of Buddhism. It witnesses a huge crowd of Buddhist monks from all over the world. The popularity of the event can be assumed by the fact that monks from Japan, Tibet, China and Korea head to Lamayuru, lying 127 km away from Leh.

Yuru Kabgyat is a 2-day festival, which is celebrated on the 17th and 18th day of the 5th Tibetan month, which usually coincides in July. Lamayuru monastery serves as the venue for the event.

The main figures usually depicted in the dance drama are Yama (the Lord of Death) and Padmasambhava (the Second Buddha). He is considered to be the protector of the horses and animals and is also regarded as the Lord of Wealth. The festival concludes with sacrificial offerings and sacred rites performed.

Buddhist Monks especially dress for the event to celebrate the festival with great fervour. Yuru Kabgyat is actually a dance drama, comprising of “Chhams”. In Chamm, the Lamas dance in a circle decorated with vibrant masks. These masks are generally made of paper Mache and have a thin quote of plaster encasing it. The circular dance movements are followed by the beats of the drums, cymbals and long pipes.

9. Puri Rath Yatra Festival

12 Famous Festivals and holidays in India in June 2021
Photo: Travelogy India

Location : Orissa

Date : Shifted in July 12th July 2021

Ratha Yatra or Ratha Jatra or Chariot Festival of Lord Jagannath, Devi Subhadra and Lord Balabhadra, a Hindu festival, is undoubtedly the biggest and the most popular festival held in Odisha. It is the oldest Ratha Yatra taking place in India and the world. Every year in the month of June or July, this festival is celebrated on the second day of the Shukla Paksha, Ashadh month as per the traditional Oriya calendar. It is considered most auspicious to visit the temple during this period. The festival in Odisha is celebrated for nine days, the commencement of this festival is called as the Rath Yatra and the return journey on a ninth day is called as Bahuda Jatra. During the return journey (Bahuda Jatra) of Ratha yatra festival, the chariot of Lord Jagannath stops at Mausi Maa temple (Lord Jagannath's Aunt) and the deity is offered his favorite Poda Pitha, a kind of baked cake meant for the poor. As part of Ratha Yatra, the deities of Lord Jagannath, his elder brother Lord Balabhadra and younger sister Devi Subhadra are moved from their holy abode for a procession up to Gundicha Temple.

The Ratha Yatra takes one day for traveling to Gundicha temple, deities of lords remain in the temple for seven days, and one day to return home. This Journey is known as Gundicha Yatra, Nava Dina Yatra ("nine days Journey"), or Ghosa Yatra. Three chariots are constructed and decorated for the deities to start their Yatra. Three chariots for the deities, Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra are built. The construction of Chariots starts with Chandana Yatra. Carpenters called as Maharana undertake the construction of these chariots, which is their hereditary right since ages. After the construction, decoration starts with different colour clothes. Lord Jagannath's Chariot is called as Nandighosa which is 45.6 feet high with 18 wheels, Lord Balabhadra's chariot is called as Taladhwaja which is 45 feet high with 16 wheels and Devi Subhadra's chariot is called as Dwarapadalan, which is 44.6 feet high with 14 wheels. The three chariots are taken out onto the streets of Puri in the afternoon and that is when the traditional Hindu festival Yatra begins. All three chariots are pulled by the devotees with the help of ropes up to Gundicha temple which is just two km away from the Puri Jagannath temple. This festival showcases the art and culture of Puri as well as of Odisha as a whole. Many cultural activities are organized as part of this festival.

10. Sao Joao Festival

12 Famous Festivals and holidays in India in June 2021
Photo: Adotrip

Location : Goa

Date : 24th – 25th June 2021

São João festival originated has a pagan festivity back in the 14th century as a celebration and thanks to the sun god for a good harvest and abundance. It was later christianised as a celebration to São João by the Church, but many of the pagan customs persist even to this day, like the usage of wild leek, basil and the bonfires.

All in all, in its many incarnations, this festival has been celebrated in Porto for about 700 years and it is truly part of the city’s identity.

São João festival in Porto is celebrated on June 23rd, and it usually begins with a dinner between friends/family, in a restaurant or on a barbecue at a friend’s place.

It is a night that starts pretty early for Portuguese standards, at around 18h30 (if you are at a friend’s place) or a bit later on if you are going to a restaurant).

The typical dishes of São João festival in Porto are grilled sardines, grilled peppers, caldo verde (the famous Portuguese green broth soup) and fresh tomato salad. The meat lovers usually go for grilled spare ribs, or for some beautiful bifanas (pork sandwiches).

Everything served with red wine or with the local beer Super Bock (don’t you dare drinking Sagres, the local beer from Lisbon, on São João Festival in Porto!).

11. Bonalu Festival

12 Famous Festivals and holidays in India in June 2021
Photo: travelogy India

Location : Telangana

Date : 28th June – 19th July 2020

Date : This Year this festival will be celebrated in August 4th 2021

Bonalu is a Hindu festival where the celebration usually falls during July and August. Bonalu festival showcases Telangana's rich culture as people soak in the traditional festivities simging Bonalu songs. For this festival, Goddess Mahankaali is worshipped, and special poojas are performed during the days of the festival. This wonderful festival is considered as a way of thanking the Goddess for her blessings.

In Telugu, Bonam means Meal, which is one of the offerings given to the Goddess. Every year, devotees worship and honor the Goddess with dance and rituals. The government of Telangana has declared this beautiful festival as a state festival. The Bonalu 2020 festival will begin on 28th June and end on 19th July.

*****READ MORE: Buddha Purnima (May 7): History, Significance, Wishes and Quotes

12. Hemis Gompa Festival

12 Famous Festivals and holidays in India in June 2021
Photo: Travelogy India

Location : Hemis Monastery of Ladakh

Date : 20th June – 21thJune 2021

Hemis Gompa fair or Hemis festival is celebrated annually on the tenth day of the Tse-Chu month which is the lunar month of the Tibetan Calendar. It is celebrated for 2 days and marks the birth anniversary of Guru Padmasambhava. Buddha Shankyamuni predicted the birth of Guru Padmasambhava on the 10th day of the 5th month of the Monkey year. Various dance performances at the Hemis Monastery are the main highlights of the celebration. The festival also showcases culture and crafts of the area. The main events are held at the Buddhist monastery of Ladakh, Hemis Monastery. The cold area of Leh comes to life during this festival.

Hemis Monastery exists since before the 11th century. The monastery is the largest Buddhist monastery in Ladakh and is the main celebration location for the annual Hemis festival. The two day affair thus celebrated marks the victory of good over evil. It is believed that to protect his people, the Tibetan Buddhist founder, Guru Padmasambhava fought the evil spirits and demons. So the lunar month’s tenth date is celebrated as the Hemis festival which is the birth anniversary of Guru Padmasambhava. The fair is organised on the 9th and 10th of the fifth month of the Tibetan Calendar. The tantric Buddhism in Himalaya Kingdom is also believed to be introduced by Guru Padmasambhava.

It is also believed that the main aim of Guru Padmasambhava was to improve the condition of all living beings both physically and spiritually. The performing of various rituals and celebrations are believed to give strength and good health to the humankind.

A new way of attaining spirituality was achieved by combining Buddhism and Tibetan culture.

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