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Delhi Guide

All you need to know

before you go.

A whirling dervish of people, culture and religion, Delhi offers a feast of festivals for every imaginable taste. This city celebrates harvests, seasons and celestial mangos, worships holy books and sacred stories, burns the devil and pays homage to light, and throws birthday parties for the founders of Islam, Hinduism, Jainism, Hare Krishna, Sikhism - and India.

 

Holi, in February or March, is one of the most exuberant Hindu festivals. To mark the end of winter, people chuck large quantities of coloured water and powder at one another - tourists are not excluded. In March or April, Hindus celebrate the birth of Rama by reading the Ramayana at temples throughout the city. In April or May Sikhs have a similar celebration, Baisakhi, where their holy book the Granth Sahib is read, followed by feasting and dancing.

 

If you're in Delhi in July don't miss the International Mango Festival, when Talkatora Stadium hosts hundreds of varieties of the heavenly fruit. August and September are happy festival months - during Ganesh Chaturthi, the elephant-headed god gets heaps of attention, while on Janmashtami, Krishna's birth is celebrated with plenty of mischief-making. Ram Lila, India's most popular festival, runs over 10 days in September or October. The Ramayana is acted out and huge images of the demon Ravana are burnt. In late October, Hindu households light oil lamps to guide the god Rama home from exile, during the festival of Deepavali, which is also known as the festival of sweets.

 

Delhi's Muslims celebrate the usual Islamic festivals. During Ramadan, the most important, Muslims fast from dawn to dusk to commemorate the revelation of the Qu'ran to Mohammed. When Ramadan ends, Muslims celebrate Id-ul-Fitr by eating a great deal and praying at the Jama Masjid.

 

26 Jan - Republic Day

30 Jan - Martyrs' Day

Jan/Feb - Id-ul-Zuhara

Feb/Mar - Holi

Feb/Mar - Muharram

Mar/Apr - Good Friday

Apr/May - Mahavir Jayanti

Apr/May - Buddha Purnima

Apr/May - Milad-un-Nabi

15 Aug - Independence Day

Sep/Oct - Ram Lila (Dussehra)

2 Oct - Gandhi Jayanti

Oct/Nov - Deepavali

Oct/Dec - Guru Nanak's Birthday

Nov/Dec - Id-ul-Fitr

25 Dec - Christmas Day

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