Karnataka is the sixth largest state in India by area. Not only is it a large state, but the people residing here also have large hearts. Every festival is celebrated with a lot of warmth and togetherness. Let us look at some of the festivals in Karnataka.

1) Hampi Festival

The Hampi festival dates back to Vijayanagar times and is also called Vijaya Utsav or Hampi Utsav. It is the largest festival in Karnataka and is state-sponsored. The 2-km path near Virupaksha temple is decorated in Vijayanagar theme. Traders offer gold coins and diamonds as tokens to recreate the once famous open trade in diamonds, gold, and gems of the golden era. There are pretty arts and crafts on display. Various famous vocalists, as well as Bollywood celebrities, perform at the festival. Hampi resides on the banks of the Tungabhadra River and a light and sound show is organized in the area beside it. It depicts the struggles faced by Hampi during the rule of various rulers.

When– Between November to January. Dates vary every year

Where– Hampi, Karnataka

Experience– Enjoy the rich culture of Karnataka in forms like music shows, puppet dance shows, fireworks, rock climbing, water sports, and rural sports.

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Performances at Hampi Festival. Photo credit: Karnataka.com

2) Vairamudi festival

As per Hindu mythology, Vairamudi of Bhagawan Srihari Vishnu was stolen by a demon while he was asleep. Garuda realized this, fought the demon, and flew back with it. Vairamudi means diamond crown made out of invaluable diamonds and studded with gold. It is kept safe in government custody. A procession is taken out at night since the belief is that the divine crown should not be exposed to sunlight. The head priest places the Vairamudi on the statue of Cheluva Narayana Swamy. He has to close his eyes with a silk cloth while doing it. The crown should not be looked at with the naked eye. The crown is removed at 3 am in front of the police and is returned to the Government treasury. Vairamudi festival is 13 days long and has devotees thronging in lakhs.

When– March

Where– “Melkote” Cheluva Narayan Swamy temple, Karnataka

Experience– Devotees attend in lakhs, and the divine crown is brought in procession at night.

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Crowds gathered for the Vairamudi festival. Photo Credit: deccanherald.com

3) Pattadakal dance festival

The Pattadakal dance festival is sponsored by the Government of Karnataka and encourages traditional dance and music forms. It is a reminder of the age-old association between the arts and the people. Various artisans and craftsmen have stalls where their art is sold. It is a great networking opportunity for dancers, artists, etc. Every year some of the most famous classical dancers perform at the festival. Pattadakal dance festival is an ode to the beautiful temples that are architectural wonders and hold the rich history of the place. Dance forms like Kathakali, Kuchipudi, Bharatnatyam, and Carnatic music can be enjoyed by all.

When– 3 days celebration in January

Where– Pattadakal, Karnataka

Experience– Beautiful dance performances with the temples as the backdrop. Scenic views along with entertainment.

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Dance performances at Pattadakal dance festival. Photo credit-adotrip.com

4) Tula Sankramana

The belief associated with this festival is that Goddess Cauvery appears in the form of a sudden surge of water in a small tank. Pilgrims visit in thousands to watch the emergence of holy water from the pond. Devotees take a dip in the big tank in front of the pond and carry bottles of this holy water back to their homes. People gather at the origin of the river and wait for the miracle to happen. On this day, only vegetarian food is prepared. Consumption of alcohol is not allowed. Breakfast is always the staple food of dosa and pumpkin curry.

When– October

Where– Kodagu district

Experience-To witness the rise of the fountainhead at a predetermined moment, when the water gushes up from the spring.

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Devotees gathered for Tula Sankramana. Photo Credit: thenewsminute.com

5) Karnataka Rajyotsava

Karnataka Rajyotsava started in 1956 and is also known as Karnataka formation day. It is a public holiday in the state. Red and yellow flags are hoisted at various locations across the state, with the Kannada anthem sung in solidarity. Karnataka Rajyotsava celebration is to remember when Kannada dominant regions in South India merged to form the state of Karnataka. The festival includes grand festivities and colorful events. Various singers perform along with folk dance performances and classical Carnatic music. On this day, Rajyotsava awards are presented, by the Government of Karnataka to those in the fields of arts, literature, science, etc.

When– 1st November

Where– Karnataka

Experience– It is a day to celebrate unity and solidarity and enjoy traditional dance performances, and music.

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Performances at Karnataka Rajyotsava. Photo Credit: dreamstime.com

6) Yugadi

The festival of Ugadi is called “Yugadi” in Karnataka. Yugadi is Karnataka’s New Year. It means beginning and is considered very auspicious. As per Hindu beliefs, it is the first day of the creation of the Universe. It marks the regeneration of Mother Nature as there is greenery everywhere, and it is the harvest season. Rituals like oil bathing, house cleaning,and wearing new clothes are followed. Homes and temples are decorated with flowers and mango leaves, and a rangoli is made. Some popular food items prepared on this day include Holige and Puligore. Sweets and food are shared.

When– April

Where– Karnataka

Experience– South Karnataka celebrates for over three days by cleaning, preparing delicious meals, and villagers go hunting. North Karnataka celebrates with a farmer plowing their land in preparation for the harvest season.

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Sourama Yugadi celebrations. Photo credit: The Hindu

7) Kambala festival

Kambala festival was earlier known as the Karaga festival and originated in the farming community of Karnataka. It was traditionally to please God for a good harvest. The festival is held over two days. A parade of farmers and their buffaloes flags off the festival. Each team has one farmer controlling two buffaloes. Two teams race against each other, and the fastest is the winner. Racing is in paddy fields on a muddy track filled with slush water. The race continues overnight, and the swiftest buffalo is said to have won. The farmer controlling it is rewarded.

When– November to March

Where– Coastal Karnataka

Experience– This unique sport of buffalo racing gathers crowds in huge numbers, and onlookers cheer for the farmers at all times.

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Farmers participating in the Kambala festival. Photo Credit: indianexpress.com