In a country where we have pretty much every religion, big and small, hundreds of festivals to celebrate, and thousands of gods to remember, is there really any room for festivals? As it turns out, there’s plenty! The cultural festival tide has turned, and we’re happy to ride the wave. Art takes the stage in a modern form with the India Art Fair, but also remember to celebrate local design at the Surajkund Mela. Music gets its share of love with the Jazz Festival; but with the growing independent music scene in India, indie bands aren’t far behind–Holi Cow, held on Holi day, gives us a blissful day out if we’re not in the mood for standard Holi celebrations. The mother of all festivals (of the national holiday kind) is Diwali—the Blind School Mela invites us in and sets the path to a brilliant new year ahead.
India Art Fair
Started as recently as 2008, this is the biggest and best show of art in the city. More than 80 contemporary artists from local towns and international hubs make their way to Central Delhi in January, to exhibit paintings, sculptures, videos, prints and mixed media to an audience of over 150,000 people over 4 days.
The love for all things handmade may be a new one for some; but for Surajkund Mela goers, it’s an old affair. Every February, the Ministry of Tourism and Culture brings together craftsmen and women from all over the country, to show their craft of textiles, pottery, terracotta, lacquer, ivory, mirror-work and everything in between.
Delhi International Jazz Festival
With its third year successfully completed, the Delhi International Jazz Festival has hit its groove. Nehru Park, with its fairy lights and dulcet sounds, has never looked prettier. Held in the cooler month of March, picnic blankets and BYOB have never been cooler. With talent from India and ashore, the line-up keeps us (dancing) on our toes.
Blind School Diwali Mela
Of all the Diwali Melas (fairs), this is the one to hit. Every Diwali, homes all over India go through a tiny bit of home improvement and it starts here. It could be as little as a palm-sized diya (earthen lamp) or perhaps a larger piece that give a lift to your house or wardrobe—whatever the case may be, you’re sure to find products of all sizes here. The Blind School holds its own stall with beautiful handmade wrapping paper.
Holi Cow Music Festival
We in Delhi are getting quite used to music festivals. But there’s only one that combines it with the festival of color—Holi. It combines a smattering of dry color powder and blurry figures of merry laughter. Together you can see the three stages where popular indie bands play to a blissful audience.