1. Onam

festival in Onam

Onam involves a melting pot of colours and flavours from across “God’s Own Country” and the celebrations reach their zenith on the auspicious day of Thiruvonam. Onam is one of the festivals celebrated in South India to commemorate the return of a mythical, righteous king – King Mahabali and to bring together communities across the landscape. Houses are decorated with mesmerizing floral carpets (Pookkalam), traditional art forms and are cleaned to the last stain. One can see elaborate sumptuous feasts (Onasadya) served in every single home, with the feast ending with delicious payasam (Kerala dessert).

Date: 08-09-2022
Venue: Throughout Kerala

2. Karaga

festival in Karaga

The tradition of the 9-day Karaga was started and sustained by a Tamil speaking community of gardeners called Thigalars. The Karaga festival is held at the Dharmaraya Swamy Temple in Bangalore. Just after dusk on the Karaga day, a priest dressed in female attire leads a spectacular procession,accompanied by breathtaking swordplay by a number of dhoti-clad, bare-chested Thigalars. On his head, the priest carries a flower-bedecked pyramid. A unique feature of the Karaga is the unbroken tradition of visiting the tomb of an 18th-century Muslim saint every year which strengthens the communal bonds between different communities.

Date: Full moon day of Chaitra, March/April as per the Gregorian Calendar
Venue: Throughout Karnataka

3. Pongal

festival in Pongal

Pongal is one of the most popular harvest festivals celebrated in South India, mainly in Tamil Nadu. Pongal falls in the mid-January every year and marks the auspicious beginning of Uttarayan – the sun’s journey northwards. Pongal festival usually lasts for four days. This four days long festival of Tamil Nadu is celebrated by showing gratitude to nature. The literal meaning of Pongal is “spilling over” and it has been named so because of the tradition of boiling rice in a pot until it starts overflowing. Other traditions of the celebration include drawing of Kolam, swinging & cooking of delicious Pongal.

Date: 14-01-22
Venue: Throughout Tamil Nadu

4. Hampi Utsav

festival in Hampi Utsav

Hampi Utsav, also known as the Vijaya Utsav. The festival of Hampi has been celebrated from the era of the Vijayanagara empire. This event has been recently renamed as the “Nada Utsava“ by the Government of Karnataka. Hampi is a World Heritage Site and the festival it hosts attributes to the mega cultural extravaganza. Renowned artists from all over India come and perform at this festival. The rich culture of Kannadigas in the fields of dance, music and art complements the beautifully carved ruins of Hampi.

Date: First week of November
Venue: Hampi, Karnataka

5. Mysuru Dasara

festival in Mysuru Dasara

Mysuru Dasara, the Royal Festival of Karnataka, is celebrated as a 10-day south Indian festival in Mysore. It starts with nine nights called Navratri while the last day is Vijayadashmi. The city celebrates this festival in a pompous way displaying the beautifully decorated elephants, camels and horses walking together in a procession. The city receives lakhs of visitors every year during the festive season.

Date: The tenth day of the Hindu month Ashvin which usually falls in September or October as per the Gregorian Calendar.
Venue: Karnataka

6. Ugadi

festival in Ugadi

Ugadi is one of the festivals celebrated in South India, especially in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Telangana. This south Indian festival marks the beginning of a new Hindu calendar year and is celebrated on the first day of “Chaitra” month, which falls in the months of March-April as per the Gregorian calendar. Ugadi is recognized by many as the day Kali Yuga officially began, when Krishna ended his time on earth.

Date: Hindu month of Chaitra. March/April in the Gregorian calendar.
Venue: Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Telangana

7. Mahamaham Festival

festival in Mahamaham Festival

Mahamaham is one of the festivals celebrated in South India every 12 years in the Mahamaham Tank that’s located in Kumbakonam. This 20 acre tank surrounded by Lord Shiva’s mandapams is believed to be sacred. It is considered that on the day of the festival, the river goddess and Lord Shiva rejuvenate its waters. Thus the Hindus consider taking a dip in the tank as very auspicious. It is often said to be equivalent to attending the Kumba Mela. This festival is held over a 10 day period. Legend tells us that Lord Shiva came in the form of a hunter and broke the pot that contained the nectar of immortality when it came to rest here after the great flood ended the world. The water inside the pot is said to have created the Mahamaham tank.