5 Festivals You Cannot Afford to Miss in Delhi
Baisakhi is also known as the Harvest Festival. Baisakhi marks the beginning of the harvest season. Baisakhi is not just about the feasting and revelry but it also holds significance for the Sikhs as it marks the commencement of the Sikh New Year. With a large group of Sikhs constituting the city’s population, Baisakhi is celebrated with considerable pomp and show.
Delhi presents a vibrant picture at the time of Baisakhi. The Gurudwaras which are decorated with myriad coloured lights and flowers. During Baisakhi, the historical flower markets of Delhi, particularly the Fatehpuri phool mandi, come to life and are bustling with people. As a mark of respect to their Guru, Sikh devotees visit the shrines and make generous offerings of fruits and flowers.
The month of Ramdan ends with Eid, which usually means more feasting, families and friends spending time together. The traditional greeting involves formal embrace and wishing ‘Eid Mubarak’.
With a vibrant Muslim community belonging to the city, and a large number of migrants, the city is abuzz with people.
Though the celebrations of Eid-ul-Fitr are widespread in the city but areas of Old Delhi take away the limelight. Areas like Chandni Chowk and Ballimaran are decked with breathtaking decorations and vibrating energy.
On Eid, Jama Masjid magnificence and splendour is worth applauding. It is decorated like a new bride and hundreds of Muslims throng the Masjid to offer their Salat (Islamic prayer) and pledge to retain the level of spiritual values given to them by their Prophet.
Diwali is a celebration of victory of ‘good over evil’. Every house and every building is lit up with Diyas, candles and colorful bulbs all over Delhi.
Numerous Diwali Melas (fairs/carnivals) take place all across the major gathering points, in the city. Delhi Haat organizes a Diwali Utsav (a special event) every year with special stalls selling decorative items for Diwali, idols of Lord Ganesha and Goddess Lakshmi, specially designed Thaalis (large plates) for Diwali as well as ethnic outfits
Then there is Epicentre in Gurgaon that holds a Ramlila performance (short theatrical enactment of the story of Lord Rama and his victory.) which is entertaining and gripping. Here you can enjoy the delicious feast, the beautiful fireworks and various performances.
The young and happening people of Delhi throw various card and poker parties in their homes, months in advance, celebrating the coming of the Delhi’s winters and the Diwali spirit.
Major shopping areas in Delhi gear up for the carnival and shops are decorated with festoons and Christmas trees, fresh stock of chocolates, cookies, cakes and gourmet food imported from Europe. Gift hampers filled with the choicest cakes, puddings, short-breads and Danish cookies in cute little wicker baskets tempt the onlookers.
The DLF mall in the Saket District City Centre is a big draw every year, with thousands gathering to crane their necks up to watch a 30 ft high Christmas tree.
Traditional shopping areas like Karol Bagh, Connaught Place (CP), Sarojini Market and various malls stock up on goodies and gifts and offer special discounts to the customer.
Santa hats, balloons, streamers, bells, stars and decorative lights are sold like hot cakes
The restaurants of Hauz Khas Village, five-star hotels and fine diners in South Delhi and Central Delhi lay out special Christmas menus offering the traditional Roast Turkey, Red Wine, Yorkshire puddings and Cranberry sauces etc. with live bands playing feel-good ballads and jazz.
The Brown Sahib at MGF Metropolitan Mall and TLR in Hauz Khas are very popular with the Christmas crowd
Driving across Delhi in the evening is a pleasant experience, what with malls and churches all lit up with flashing multicoloured lights.
Festival of Dussehra, symbolizes the rise of good over evil.
The most famous celebration of Dussehra is held at the vast Ram Lila Ground, in front of Red Fort.
Huge effigies of Ravana made of straws are burnt amidst huge crowd gatherings at the Ram Lila Ground as well as local open spaces across the city.
Locals enact theatrical sequence (Ramlila) of Ramayana, the Hindu epic.