Madhya Pradesh is a land that exudes vibrancy from all its alcoves. It not only cradles people belonging to different religions and communities, but is also home to numerous exotic tribes of India. This has led to its unique cultural and religious matrix that poses a colorful stance, as far as its festivities are concerned. These fairs and festivals interweave all the people of Madhya Pradesh in a common web and see much aplomb and gaiety throughout the state. In fact, the spirit of celebration is entrenched in the culture and tradition of Madhya Pradesh and finds best expression through these different seasons of revels.
The rich cultural riches of Madhya Pradesh have indeed, led to the
birth of many religious and cultural festivals. A major progenitor of
art, in the form of dance and music, the state revels in traditional
cultural festivals that exalt these art forms. In fact, two of its most
famous festivals- the Khajuraho Dance Festival and the Tansen Music
Festival celebrate the traditional art forms of dance and music. Apart
from these spectacular vaudevilles, various tribal festivals of the
state add on to its festive spirits. Here, we have provided information
on the major festivals of Madhya Pradesh.
No one can deny the entrancing aura that envelops the cluster of
temples in Khajuraho. These monuments are the finest examples of the
fusion of beauty, spirituality and sensuality, which delineates art in
its most spectacular form.
The tribal people of Madhya Pradesh form an important part of its
culture and contribute to the colorful graffiti of the state. They have
their indigenous norms, moral yardsticks and tribal heritage that they
strive to preserve. This unique tradition and vibrant culture comes
alive in the Bhagoriya festival of Jhabua.
Hindustani Classical Music is known for its poignant ragas and
mellifluous notes and showcases its musical splendor in the form of
Tansen Music Festival, held in Gwalior every year. Gwalior, acclaimed as
the oldest Gharana in Hindustani music, has managed to retain its
musical spirit and tradition.
Madhya Pradesh, known for its overpowering gaiety and pomp during
festive celebrations, exhibits the Mandu festival every year with the
same exulting fervor. This festival falls in September/October and
coincides with the celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi in other places.
Kumbh Mela is the largest religious congregational fair of the Hindus
and has known celebration from many centuries. This pilgrimage is
observed four times every twelve years, at each of these four places -
Prayag, Ujjain, Haridwar and Nashik. The celebration of Kumbh Mela sees
the convergence of millions of devotees, shamans, monks and religious
saints across India, making the festival the largest of all Hindu fairs.
According to astrologers, Kumbh Mela takes place when the planet Jupiter
enters Aquarius and the Sun enters Aries.
One of the most important religious festivals of Madhya Pradesh, Karma
originally belongs to the list of festivals celebrated by the Korba
tribal. However, other tribes too participate in the merriment of the
Karma. The festival falls in the month of August. People undergo a full
day, fast from the morning of the festive day to the morning of the next
day. During the night, people indulge in singing, dancing and
merrymaking, around a branch of Karam tree.
Fair of Nagaji
Nagaji fair or 'mela' of Madhya Pradesh is popular amongst the tribal
people and is a way of paying homage to Saint Nagaji, who lived at the
time of Emperor Akbar, nearly 400 years ago. With the onset of the
winter season, generally in November or December, the adivasis or
tribals congregate at Porsa village in the Murena district. They stay
there for about a month and indulge in various communal activities that
bring about lot of conviviality and merry making. Various domestic
animals traded in the markets form a major draw of this fair.
The Madai festival, held at various tribal hamlets of the state, is
especially dear to the people belonging to the Gond community. This
festival takes place in the third or fourth week of February. Though it
is a gala event, marked by singing and dancing, yet the religious
overtone of the festival remains evident. During Madai, devotees
assemble under the shade of a sacred tree and make sacrificial
offerings, in the form of a goat, to the Mother Goddess. During the
night, the tribal people gloat and make merry.