South Indian Festivals: You Can’t Miss to Celebrate

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South Indian Festivals are the identity of India. Being one of the few countries which celebrates every festival on a grand scale, there is an innate beauty to it. Every region has its own cultural beliefs but it doesn’t refrain from being a part of others’ celebrations. 

Such is the love seen in India. That’s why, South Indian festivals hold a special place in everyone’s hearts. If you are travelling to the southern states and want to be a part of those festivals, then you have come to the right place.

We have brought you the elaborative South Indian festival list so that you can plan your visit accordingly.

South Indian Festival List

South Indian festivals have a way of seeping into our hearts and filling them with memories. The purity, grandeur aura, and love all around are something you shouldn’t have to miss out on. So, here is the exclusive South Indian festival list for you.

1. Pongal: Harvest Festival of Tamil Nadu

Pongal - South Indian Festival
Pongal – South Indian Festival

Pongal, a south Indian festival is the four-day harvest festival celebrated predominantly in Tamil Nadu. It is a joyous occasion that marks the culmination of the winter solstice. Taking place in mid-January, Pongal is a time for farmers to express gratitude to the Sun God for a bountiful harvest. 

Families come together to celebrate by preparing the eponymous dish, Pongal. The festival kicks off with Bhogi Pongal, followed by Thai Pongal, Maatu Pongal, and concluding with Kaanum Pongal. It’s a spectacle of colour, tradition, and communal celebration.

2. Onam: Kerala’s Grand Harvest Festival

Onam - south Indian festival
Onam – South Indian festival

Onam is the ten-day grand harvest extravaganza and is at the top of the South Indian festival list. It commemorates the mythical return of King Mahabali. The festival is celebrated in the Malayalam month of Chingam (August-September). 

It transforms the state into a rich spectacle of cultural events, rituals, and langar. One of the highlights is the creation of ‘Pookalam’ a mesmerising floral carpet laid at the entrance of homes. Traditional dance forms like Kathakali add to the festive spirit and the grand Onam Sadya is served on banana leaves. These practices bring families and communities together in a celebration of abundance.

3. Ugadi: New Year Celebrations in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana

Ugadi festival dishes - South Indian festival
Ugadi festival dishes – South Indian festival

Ugadi is the Telugu and Kannada New Year South Indian festival and is celebrated with much enthusiasm in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana. Typically falling in March or April, the festival marks the beginning of a new lunar calendar year. 

Ugadi begins with the ritualistic preparation and consumption of ‘Ugadi Pachadi’. It is a special mixture symbolising the various flavours of life: sweetness, bitterness, tanginess, and more. Homes are adorned with colourful rangolis, and the day is marked by cultural performances, rituals, and a wholesome festive vibe.

4. Mysuru Dasara: Nine Nights of Dance and Devotion

Mysuru DasaraSouth Indian Festival

Mysore Dussehra is a famous South Indian festival dedicatedly celebrated in Karnataka. Marking the victory of good over evil, this festival commemorates the victory of Chamundeshwari over Mahishasura. The festival is marked by elaborate decorations, traditional dance performances, and the chanting of devotional hymns.

The goddess idol is carried gracefully over a decorated elephant. On this day, the Mysore palace is illuminated with a myriad of lightning to create a stunning visual. A Naada Habba exhibition also takes place where cultural aspects and art are highlighted.

5. Hampi Festival

Hampi Festival – South Indian Festival

Hampi festival celebrates the rich history and heritage of the Vijayanagara Empire.This cultural extravaganza is where folk dances and classical shows are performed. Along with that, drama and concerts are also conducted. Various street plays and puppet shows are also featured.

Impressive sound and light shows showcase the stories and history of the city. There are many craft and food stalls arranged where traditional artwork and traditional craft shows are set up. This keeps the visitors entertained for hours and also gives a chance to indulge in shopping.

6. Mahamaham Festival of Tamil Nadu

Mahamaham – South Indian Festival

Mahamaham is one of the South Indian festivals which is celebrated across Tamil Nadu. It is celebrated once in 12 years in the Kumbakonam town.The festival marks the entrance of Jupiter in the Leo zodiac sign.

One of the special aspects of this festival is when the believers take a bath in the Mahamaham Tank. It is believed to cleanse the devotees’ sins. Inside the temple, various rituals and prayers are scheduled. They attract thousands of people from around the country.

7. Karaga Festival: A Blend of Tradition and Spirituality

Karaga Kunita - South Indian Festivals
Karaga Kunita – South Indian Festivals

The Karaga Festival in Bengaluru is a unique blend of rituals and cultural traditions. Celebrated in honour of the goddess Draupadi, the festival involves a priest carrying a sacred water pot on his head. It symbolises Draupadi’s journey. 

The procession winds its way through the streets and attracts devotees and visitors alike. The festival is not only a display of religious devotion but also a celebration of communal harmony and unity. At this South Indian festival, people from various communities come together to participate in the festivities.

8. Karthigai Deepam: Tamil Nadu’s Festival of Lights

Karthigai Deepam - South Indian festival
Karthigai Deepam – South Indian Festival

Karthigai Deepam is a South Indian festival celebrated predominantly in Tamil Nadu. It is a festival dedicated to Lord Shiva and the celestial light. Typically falling in November or December, the festival is marked by the lighting of lamps in homes and temples. 

The illumination of the Arunachala Hill in Thiruvannamalai is a spectacular sight. It attracts pilgrims and tourists alike. Devotees engage in traditional prayers and rituals, creating a serene and spiritually charged atmosphere.

Witness the Glory of South Indian Festivals

The South Indian festival list brings you an amalgamation of traditions, colours, and love. The surroundings are filled with a warmth that is hard to miss. Every festival is a unique journey that brings communities together and dismisses all faux pas. As families exchange sweets, prepare scrumptious dishes, and pay their respects to the deities, everyone feels at home.

Pack a bag, call your travel buddies, book bus tickets online and visit South India. Book your tickets as soon as possible as seats are always full during the festive season. This is your sign to enjoy at the South Indian festivals.

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