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Festivals and fairs in Rajasthan

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Rajasthan’s vibrant local costumes are at their most dazzling during the state’s festivals. For dates of specific events, ask at tourist offices; most festivals fall on days determined by the lunar calendar.

Desert Festival

(Feb). Two-day event in Jaisalmer.

Elephant Festival

(March). Parades of brightly painted elephants march through the streets of Jaipur, concluding with an extraordinary elephant-versus-mahout tug of war.

Mewar Festival

(March & April). The ranas of Udaipur celebrate Holi with traditional dances, the lighting of a sacred fire, and music by the city’s famous bagpipe orchestra.

Gangaur

(April). Women pray for their husbands, and unmarried girls wish for good ones. At its best in Jaisalmer and Mount Abu.

Nagaur Cattle Fair

(late Jan/early Feb). Thousands of farmers and around seventy thousand steers, cows and bullocks descend on Nagaur, south of Bikaner.

Pushkar Camel Fair

(Nov). The world’s largest livestock market and Rajasthan’s most colourful festival.

Rani Sati Mela

(Aug). Vast crowds gather in Jhunjhunu for a day of prayers and dances in memory of a merchant’s widow who committed sati in 1595.

Tilwara Cattle Fair

(held over a fortnight in March or April). One of Rajasthan’s biggest livestock markets, held at Tilwara, 93km southwest of Jodhpur.

Urs Mela

(Oct). India’s largest Islamic festival, held in Ajmer.

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