If there is anything that can bring the world’s largest population together besides Pakistan Vs India Cricket matches, is their season of festivities. And every time it arrives, it infuses a spirit of celebration in the whole nation. As you gear up for Diwali, we bring to you a list of 10 weirdest and craziest festivals celebrated in India.
- Angi Kheli
Widely known as the Fire Festival, Angi Kheli is celebrated in Mangalore every April with hundreds of daredevils wearing nothing but loincloths throwing fireballs at each other. These men are divided into two teams and if a player catches fire, his teammates treat with him some kind of a special holy water called Kumkumarchane. Full of danger yet a spectacle to watch – every Indian must witness Agni Kheli at least once in his life.
- Nag Panchami
They don’t call India the land of snake charmers for no reason. The craziest Nag Panchami celebrations take place in Baltis Village, Maharashtra where people bring snakes to a temple and worship them. The snakes are then offered milk and rats and set free. The fangs of these venomous snakes aren’t removed before worshipping them because it is said snakes do not bite on Nag Panchami.
- Kila Raipur Rural Olympics
These mini Olympics in Raipur have gained so much of prominence amongst sports enthusiasts, it witnesses participation from people from all across the globe. Celebrated in Ludhiana, Kila Raipur Rural Olympics see a lot of mindboggling death0defying stunts and games like the bulock cart race and pulling trucks with nothing but your teeth!
Every year, Thrissur celebrates Pulikkali in such a grand way that will totally blow your mind. Men dress up as tigers and entertain the spectators. By the end of it all, the best performer is chosen and awarded. The detail with which the make-up and the costumes are done is just mind boggling. If you want to see a hundred tigers together, Pulikkali is a festival you must not miss.
- Jaisalmer Desert Festival
Rajasthanis show the world how real celebrations are done. Splashes of vibrant colours, people dressed in traditional Rajasthani attires, competitions for the locals – the desert festival totally defines festivity in the true sense of the word. You have to see it to believe the scale at which it is celebrated.
- Lath-Mar Holi
People in and around Mathura start celebrating Holi way in advance and how! According to a legend, Lord Krishna was chased out of Barsana by women using sticks because he was teasing them, playfully, of course. Since then, men from neighbouring places come to Barsana only to be chased away (read beaten up) by women holding lathis for celebrating Holi. The devotional songs playing in the background with people chanting Hare Krishna and the bhang/thandai totally add to the mood
- Hemis Festival
The Masked Dance is the highlight of this festival that is celebrated in the Buddhist monastery of Hemis Jangchub Choling, near Leh. This festival is known for its masks that are so intricately made, keeping each and every minute detail in mind, that you wouldn’t be able to believe your own eyes. Another dance, Padmasambhava showcases various legends about Yama- The God Of Death.
Krishna devotees make a human pyramid that is dangerously high as one of them climbs up to the top and breaks the ‘dahi handi’. Many people have suffered severe bone injuries during these celebrations but the enthusiasm has not even once dropped. Also glorified in a lot of movies, Janmashtami celebrations are something the whole nation is proud of.
- Karni Mata Festival
One of the most interesting, and definitely the creepiest, Karni Mata Festival sees hundreds of devotees visit the temple of Karni Mata, Rajasthan to worship Goddess Durga. There are thousands of rats living in this temple that are said to have Durga’s souls. It is auspicious to eat the food left over by these rats. Also, only the most fortunate people get to spot a white rat amongst the other ones.
- The Thaipuism Festival
Seeing the Thaipuism festival celebrations is gut-wrenching to say the least. People put themselves through intolerable pain to seek the blessings of their Gods, for which they get their body parts pierced. It is largely celebrated in Southern India and even other countries’ like Sri Lanka, Singapore and Thailand.