Madhya Pradesh shares its borders with 5 states of India. It is a perfect blend of all the different cultures and traditions imbibed from these states, yet it has its own identity. Let us look at some of the festivals in the state which make it the heart of India.
1) Lokrang festival
Lokrang festival has been celebrated for more than 19 years. Over time, people were drawn toward western culture after British rule. Hence, the Madhya Pradesh tourism board decided to have a festival focusing on ancient culture, folk dance, and music. Every year, the festival focuses on a particular dance form of India in addition to tribal dances. There are eight different events for different performers. There is Ramayni for theatre, Darohar for promoting Indian culture, Lokrag for folk musicians, Deshantar for foreign artists only, Aakar for handicrafts, and Ullas is specially designed for children, Swad is an array of food, Lokwarta is exclusively for book lovers.
When– 26th January for five days
Experience– Enjoy the diversity of Madhya Pradesh which is flaunted through its art, dance, and tribal dances.
Dance performers at Lokrang. Photo credit: madhyapradeshgk.in
2) Khajuraho festival
Khajuraho dance festival started in 1975 and is deeply connected to Hindu mythology. It is organized to keep Indian culture alive. The Department of Culture in the Government of Madhya Pradesh organizes this event yearly. Khajuraho dance festival showcases various classical dance forms like Bharatnatyam, Kathakali, Odissi, Manipuri, Kathak, and Mohiniyattam. Renowned artists perform against the backdrop of historical monuments. Artists are presented with the National Kalidas award for dance as well as MP state Rupankar Kala Award.
When– February for seven days
Where– Chhatarpur in Madhya Pradesh
Experience– Dance lovers from across the nation come together to perform against a beautiful backdrop making for a delightful experience.
Dance performers at Khajuraho festival. Photo credit: currentaffairs.adda247.com
3) Bhagoria Haat festival
This is a one of its kind festival which is celebrated by the local tribes of Bhil, Bhilala, and Barela. Bhagoria Haat festival is also known as the matchmaking festival. It is like a marriage market where youngsters come to choose their life partners. One of the rituals at the festival is that the boy applies color to the girl he likes. If she reciprocates, she can do same to him or accept a paan leaf. If not, the girl can wipe off the color and move on. The festival is filled with tribal rituals and traditions. Besides this, the festival also has agricultural importance since it coincides with the end of harvest. There are numerous shops at the haat (market) selling everything from clay pots and silverware to fruits and vegetables.
When– March, just before the Holi festival.
Where– Madhya Pradesh
Experience– Watch young girls and boys choose their life partners in a maha-swayamwar kind of situation.
Women dressed in their finest at Bhagoria Haat Festival. Photo credit: india-tours.com
4) Malwa Utsav
Malwa Utsav is held to celebrate the spirit of dance. Famous performers in the fields of classical dance, music, folk artists and singers come specially to participate in the festival. The performances are different theme-based. There is always a huge gathering of locals and tourists to attend this event. Malwa Utsav is one of the biggest and most spectacular events in Madhya Pradesh. Besides dance, there are craftsmen also sell handicraft items and traditional clothing. There is also a variety of delicious local cuisines for everyone to enjoy.
When– usually in May
Where– Two days in Ujjain and Five days in Indore.
Experience– It is a vibrant festival with extraordinary dance performances.
Classical dancers performing at Malwa Utsav. Photo credit: twitter
5) Ujjain Kumbh Mela
Ujjain Kumbh Mela started in the 18th century and is held once every 12 years. It is a colorful and pompous event where attendees of the fair are emersed in the old-world charm. Ujjain is considered one of the holiest cities where devotees take a dip in the river Shipra at Ram ghat and Narsingha ghat. It is a way to wash away all your sins and cleanse your soul. Sages roam around doing penance and praying. Devotional singing, religious discussions, and mass feeding of men, women, and poor people take place. A million attendees gather to witness this festival in all its glory.
When– Every 12 years. April-May 2028 will be the next date
Experience– People speaking different languages belonging to different castes all come together to celebrate this festival every 12 years. It is like mini India.
Crowds gather at Ujjain Kumbh mela. Photo credit: indianastrology.co.in
6) Tansen Sangeet Samaroh
Tansen Sangeet Samaroh is a 4-day musical festival. Ustad Alauddin Khan Kala Evam Sangeet Academy and Department of Culture, Government of Madhya Pradesh organizes Tansen Sangeet Samaroh in Gwalior. It is organized near the Tansen tomb. This festival is the most prestigious in the country and world in the fields of Indian classical music. It was initially a local festival in Gwalior but was later converted to a famous national music festival. Tansen award is presented every year for excellence in Hindustani classical music.
Where– Behat village in Gwalior district, Madhya Pradesh
Experience– Music and art lovers gather from all over the world to pay tribute to musical maestro Tansen through vocal and instrumental performances.
Classical performances at Tansen Sangeet Samaroh. Photo credit: cultureandheritage.org
7) Pachmarhi Utsav
Pachmarhi Utsav showcases the folk arts of the country, preserving the rich cultural heritage. There are cultural events daily during the evening hours which includes eye-catching art, performances, competition, and much more. The Utsav is celebrated for six days and goes on to bring in the New Year. New Year bonanza includes social projects and craftsmanship exhibitions. There are various handicraft items for sale, sponsored by Handloom and Handicraft Development Corporation. One can find everything from papad and pickles to woolens, bamboo crafts, and carpets here. Locally prepared food like Daal Bafla, Chakki ki shaak, Bhutte ka kees, and Mawa Bali are worth trying.
When– 25th December onwards for six days
Where– Pachmarhi, Madhya Pradesh
Experience– The hill station is decorated in beautiful colors for the
festival. The grounds are buzzing with excitement and activity. Bring in a unique new year with local entertainment and performances.
Performances at Pachmarhi Utsav. Photo credit: indianholiday.com