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5 September 2019 | 5 min read

September Travel Guide – Music Festival, Harvest Celebrations & More

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Whether it’s a quick getaway, a road trip, a destination where you can’t get any network, or a voluntary break from your gadgets, it is good {and even recommended} to occasionally get off the grid. One of the most popular ways to recharge your batteries {and test yourself} is to take a break from all your commitments and plunge into total silence, with no communication at all, digital or in person.

So this month, head either to the Rann of Kutch where you can spot some migratory birds or unwind with the locals at the Ziro Music Festival – there is so much happening around the country. Have you planned your getaway yet?

Kerala

Why go now – To witness its colorful Onam celebrations

One of the biggest festival in Kerala, Onam is a vibrant ten-day celebration that takes place across the entire state. It marks the return of the mythical king Mahabali, who according to legend was a well-loved ruler in Kerala. He lost his land to Vamana {an avatar of Vishnu} and since then was only allowed to visit his kingdom once a year. So to celebrate his return, people in the state decorate their homes and temples while holding night-long Kathakali performances.

Without doubt, one of the best times to witness the rich traditional culture of the state, there is something here for everyone. From snake boat races to puli kali performances – a traditional folk dance where men paint themselves to resemble tigers {this takes places in the city of Thrissur}, there is a lot of experiences that you can experience during this time. The celebrations peak on Thiruvonam day {September 14}, the highlight of which is the Onasadya, a 11-course vegetarian lunch served on banana leaves.

Tip: Book taxis well in advance if planning a trip around Onam, as many drivers tend to take time off during this season.

When – 1-14 September, 2019
Where – Throughout Kerala

The Kaas Plateau

Why go now – For a scenic getaway  

Every year between late June and early September, Kaas Plateau is carpeted with thousands of flowers: purple-hued Sita’s tears, bright green cobra lilies, and crimson lantern flowers. But be warned, these are not just pretty blooms – there are several carnivorous flora here that have over the years, developed ingenious techniques to lure insects. 

Trust us, spending the weekend watching these carnivorous plants in action is truly worthwhile experience. Plus, with the monsoon views of the Western Ghats, you have all the ingredients for a memorable weekend getaway from Mumbai.  

When – June-September, 2019 
Where – Kaas Plateau, Satara, Maharashtra 

 Arunachal Pradesh

Why go now – The Ziro Festival of Music

The number of reasons to plan a holiday to Arunachal Pradesh is endless. From gorgeous landscapes to delicious local fare {including millet beer which is a specialty in this region} to a wide variety of flora and fauna, there is every reason for travelers to spend time here. Add to that this month, the Ziro Music Festival takes place from September 26-29, 2019. Although the line-up of artists this year are yet to be announced, there will surely be a prominent mix of bands from the North East of India as well as electronic, rock, and folk-jazz acts. If you love music and scenic views, this is something you just cannot afford to miss. 

That’s not all – the festival is also an excellent opportunity to meet the Apatani tribe, who are an indigenous community from this region. They are known for their animist culture, sustainable lifestyle, and tattooing traditions. Do not miss it!

When – 26-29 September, 2019
Where – Ziro, Arunachal Pradesh 

The Little Rann of Kutch, Gujarat

The Little Rann of Kutch is a big deal around winter, especially for avian enthusiasts. During September, hordes of migratory birds from around the world descend, bringing colour and chaos to this otherwise somber landscape. In fact, in the marshlands and the Nava Talao, you can spot hundreds of pelicans, flamingos, and demoiselle cranes building their nests. In the Rann’s scrublands, eagles, merlins, and short-eared owls are easy sightings for these bird lovers. Don’t forget to carry your binoculars. 

Tip – If you are planning a trip, make sure you stop at the Wild Ass Sanctuary near Dhrangadhra, the Modhera Sun Temple, and the Rani ki Vav stepwell. 

When – September to February, 2019
Where – Little Rann of Kutch, Gujarat

Varanasi

 Why go now – To watch the Ramnagar Ramlila

The reenactment of the Hindu epic Ramayana, head to Varanasi to witness the Ramlila that has been taking place here for nearly 200 years. It commences with the incarnation of Lord Vishnu as Rama, to save humanity from the demon king Ravana. The Ramilia takes place over a month every year from Anant Chaturdashi and ends on the full moon night. It is a unique experience and one that you are likely to remember for a long time.

When – September 12–October 13, 2019
Where – Ramnagar, on the banks of the Ganga river, opposite Varanasi 

Plan Ahead for October

Rajasthan International Folk Festival, Jodhpur – The historic Mehrangarh Fort of Jodhpur comes to life during the Rajasthan International Folk Festival (RIFF), a five-day celebration of traditional and modern folk music. Venues are scattered across the palatial sandstone fort and attended by musicians, erstwhile royal families, and travelers from across the world. This year’s edition will take place between October 10 and 14, 2019.

Navratri, Gujarat – Gujarat is at its athletic and colourful best during the nine days of Navratri, between September 29- October 7, 2019. Soak in the exuberance at dandiya and garba nights, where residents dance the night away, dressed in glitzy chaniya cholis, and brightly coloured kurtas. To feel the buzz, plan a trip to Ahmedabad, Baroda, Surat, Bhavnagar, and Rajkot. And while you’re there, don’t forget to tuck into Gujarat’s famous thalis.

Durga Pujo, West Bengal – Kolkata takes Durga Pujo very seriously. For five days, from October 4-8, nearly every corner of the city hosts imaginative pandals dedicated to the feisty Hindu goddess Durga. If you are here in the city, go pandal-hopping as it is the best way to experience the festivities and sample the food prepared at this time of year, like khichuri, a simple, savoury preparation of rice and dal, served as prasad. It is highly recommended. 

by Mary Martina
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