Few countries have as many holidays as India. Due to the different religions and cultures, India has a national or regional holiday almost every week: Holi, Diwali, Independence Day and countless other religious festivals. To visit these festivals, an Indian visa has to be applied for. Here, you can read what you need to keep in mind when planning your trip.
Keep the holidays in mind
When planning a trip, it is wise to keep the major holidays in mind. It can be an amazing experience to witness these holidays up close. This might make it a good idea to, for example, delay your trip by a week so you can be in India during the holiday. However, holidays can also lead to problems, as public transportation sometimes does not operate, and stores and other public buildings can be closed. In certain cities, it can be extra busy during festivals, making it difficult to find a hotel or other accommodation. To avoid surprises, the most important holidays are listed here.
Visa for India application
The visa for India can be applied for as early in advance as desired. Visa applications that are submitted more than 90 days before the expected date of arrival are put on hold. The visa is valid for one year from the moment it is issued. After the visa is granted, the exact day you arrive in India no longer matters. You can therefore decide for yourself when the trip to India will take place, as long as the trip falls within the validity term of the visa.
If you want to travel at a different date to experience a holiday in India, that won’t be a problem. In fact, you can use the visa to travel to India multiple times, as long as the visa is valid. This way, it is possible to experience multiple holidays or festivals in India.
26 Januari: Day of the Republic
The Day of the Republic is a national holiday in India. On this day, the nation celebrates that the Indian constitution was ratified and India became a republic. In New Delhi, military parades take place each year, which go from the presidential palace to the India Gate, and from there through the Red Fort to Old Delhi.
Holi, also called the festival of colours, is a Hindu festival celebrated throughout the Indian subcontinent. Holi is dedicated to a new year and the beginning of spring. It is also called the harvest festival, because it generally coincides with the grain harvest. During Holi, the victory of good over evil is celebrated. Make sure you have a set of old clothes, because during Holi, coloured water and powder is thrown around. Although this creates very beautiful scenes, the colours don't always wash out easily.
March/April: Rama Navami
Rama Navami is a Hindu festival in honour of the birth of the god Rama. The birthday of the god falls in the first month of the Hindu calendar. During Rama Navami, houses are decorated and statues of the god are covered with flowers and jewels.
April: Kumbh Mela
Kumbh Mela is the oldest Hindu festival and is celebrated only once every 3 years. The festival takes place in four cities; every three years, a different city hosts it. Millions of pilgrims visit the feast and immerse themselves in the holy river Ganges, to wash away their sins.
August 15: Independence Day
On August 15, it is commemorated that India became independent from the United Kingdom in 1947, and became an independent nation of the British Commonwealth. The Prime Minister addresses the population on Independence Day from the Red Fort in Delhi.
October/November: Diwali (festival of the 1000 lights)
Diwali, also called the Festival of Lights, is a Hindu festival that takes place each year in October or November. It is a festival in honour of Maha Lakshmi, the goddess of light. During the feast, lights are lit everywhere in houses and on roofs. In addition, fireworks are lit.
November: Pushkar Mela
Pushkar Mela is a camel festival in the state of Rajasthan. Hundreds of camel traders travel with their herds to Puskar. The festival is visited by many tourists because of the various entertaining activities, such as a camel race and performances of fire-breathers and tightrope walkers.