India is known for her festivals and these are evident in Chhattisgarh festivals too. An explosion of music and colour, a generous dose of spirituality, a liberal helping of sheer exuberance all topped with age-old tribal traditions. Come, join in the fun.
- Bastar Dassera
- Bastar Lokotsav
- Madai Festival
- Bhoramdeo Festival
- Goncha Festival
- Champaran Mela
- Narayanpur Mela
- Fagun Wadai
- Koriya Mela
- The Earth Festival
- The First Fruits Festival
- Chakradhar Samaroh
- Hareli Festival
- Pola Festival
- Teeja Festival
- Other Tribal Festivals
- Other Festivals
As with the rest of India, Bastar celebrates Dassera. In fact, it is the region's most important festival, and all the tribes participate in the 10-day event. But Dassera in Bastar is different from anywhere else.
Bastar Lokotsav This fortnight-long tourism event, organized to coincide with Bastar Dassera , showcases the best of Bastar. It takes place every year after the monsoons, when the forests and waterfalls are at their best. Tribal handicrafts can be bought directly from artisans. A folk arts festival of tribal dances and music, Bastar Parab, is organized in Jagdalpur. The dates for Bastar Lokotsav are according to the Hindu (Lunar) calendar, which means the date is not fixed as per the Gregorian calendar. In 2006, it will be held from September 23 to October 7.
Madai Festival This tribal festival is celebrated by the tribes of Kanker and Bastar regions, to worship the local God(dess). It travels through the Kanker, Bastar and Dantewada regions from December to March each year.In December, celebrations start in Bastar to honour the goddess Kesharpal Kesharpalin Devi. In January, the people of Kanker, Charama and Kurna celebrate the festival. In February the festival goes back to Bastar and Cheri-Chher-Kin is honoured this time. Towards the end of February, the festival goes to Antagarh, Narayanpur and Bhanupratappur. In March it goes to Kondagaon, Keshkal and Bhopalpattanam. It is held in a big ground, so that thousands of people can attend the ceremony, which starts with a procession of the local God(dess), followed by worhip of the same, culminating in cultural programs, dancing and lots of good food.
Bhoramdeo Festival The architecturally brilliant Bhoramdeo temples, built by King Ramachandra of the Nag dynasty, in the Satpura hills on the banks of river Sankari, form the backdrop for the annual Bhoramdeo Festival.
Goncha Festival This comes alive every year during the "Rath Yatra" in Jagdalpur. The tribes participate in the festivity using a goncha (a sort-of pistol made from bamboo) and tukki (a fruit as the bullet) to shoot at each other, in fun, of course.
Champaran Mela Held every year during January and February in a town 10 km from Rajim, this fair reflects the rich culture of the region. Mahaprabhu Vallabhacharya was born here and the mela attracts Vaishnavas from all over the country.
Narayanpur Mela In month of February, right after Jagdalpur Dassera, various Bastar tribes gather, with their deities, for the Narayanpur Mela. The fair is marked by worship and celebration.
Fagun Wadai This festival takes place in March, starting 7-8 days before Holi and ending a few days after Holi. The main attractions of this festival are the deities and the dances based on various tribal and folk stories. The madai (fair), marking the end of the festival, is attended by tribals from all over India.
Koriya Mela This fair was first held by Ramanuj Pratap Singh Judeo, King of Koriya State, on Mahashivratri, in 1936. The tradition follows even today.
The Earth Festival This tribal festival, dedicated to Mother Earth, is known as Maati Ti'aar in central Bastar and Beeja Pandum in South Bastar. In both festivals, the seeds preserved for sowing in the coming season are fertilized through rituals and sacrificial blood. The festival takes place on different dates in different villages, but it mostly around the time of Chait Navratri in March-April. A toll is collected from passers-by for this festival.
The First Fruits Festival This is held for a variety of produce, most commonly mango, mahua, paddy and other food grains. It promotes constructive harvesting habits among tribals. A similar festival relates to parad , the annual hunting expedition.
This music festival, is organised by the Ustad Allaudin Khan Sangeet Academy and the Chakradhar Lalit Kala Kendra, to commemorate the memory of Maharaja Chakradhar Singh. This former ruler, a great tabla player and dancer, wrote many books on music and dance. He developed a new form of Kathak and established the Raigarh Gharana.
Hareli Festival Farmers celebrate this festival in the month of Shravan, by worshipping farm equipment and cows. They place branches and leaves of the Bhelwa tree in the fields and pray for a good crop, and also hang small Neem branches at the main entrance of their homes to prevent seasonal diseases. For the next 15 days, Baigas (the traditional medical practitioners) teachi their disciples - this goes on till panchami (the day following Ganesh Chaturthi). On panchami , they examine their disciples, and if satisfied with their performance, grant them the license to practice medicine. Children play gedi (walking on bamboo) and take part in a gedi race.
Pola Festival Pola follows Hareli. It is celebrated by worshipping bullocks. Children play with idols of Nandi bull (the vehicle of Lord Shiva) made of clay and fitted with clay wheels. A bull race is a major event of the festival.
Teeja Festival This festival is celebrated by married women - they pray for the welfare of their husbands. The custom is to perform this prayer at ther parents' home.