For him it is a coming together of two distinct features of human identity- literature and culture. He told BE, “Both culture and literature are intertwined. The latter takes the former to a journey of limitless reach.”
In the last few years, travellers have thronged to different places in India to experience the magic of seasonal festivals. The trend of ‘Festival Tourism’ has grown especially among the millennials in India, who continue to look for authentic cultural experiences.
India, a land of several cultures, witnesses the largest number of festivals in the world. Every small occasion, from welcoming the spring or rain and the harvesting of crops, to seeing the full moon, is celebrated with great fervour combining colourful dresses, music, folk dances and songs. This makes festival tourism one of the significant branches of Indian tourism. The market for travel and tourism in India is expected to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of around 7.23% during 2016-2021 and festival tourism is a major contributor.
Fairs and festivals are part of the intrinsic cultural fabric of the Indian society as well as a continuation of our glorious heritage. Through these festivals, tourists and visitors are spending money within the community, which strengthens the local economy, supporting not only the hospitality industry, such as restaurants and hotels but also businesses surrounding the festivals.
Major festivals boosting tourism in East India
The most important and largest religious event in the country, the Kumbh Mela is a festival of mammoth proportion. The festival is held in Allahabad, Banaras, Haridwar, and Ujjain. For the 2019 Ardh Kumbh at Prayagraj, the Uttar Pradesh government spent around `42,000 million, constructing temporary city over 2,500 hectares with 122,000 temporary toilets and a range of available accommodation from simple dormitory tents to fivestar tents, arranged 800 special trains, Artificial Intelligence (AI) video surveillance and disease surveillance.
In West Bengal, every year on the seventh day of the Bengali month of Poush, Shantiniketan hosts the Poush Mela. A unique festival which signifies the end of the harvesting season in Bengal, this fair is the celebration of the farmer’s life within Bengal’s rural lifestyle. The mela sees the celebration of Bengali culture through Bengali folk music - especially Baul Sangeet – and through folk dances. The mela attracts thousands of foreign tourists to Santiniketan.
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