Delhi's festival calendar begins with the Republic Day parade on 26th January. It is the most colorful of the city's festivals events and also the biggest crowd-puller. Hundreds of thousands people line the route from Rajpath to the Red Fort to watch the pageant of solders, camel crops, armored regiments, brass bands, folk dancers, school children, war veterans and elaborate floats representing the cultural diversity of India. The two hour long parade is usually rounded off with a much-awaited spectacular fly - passed presented by Air Force squadrons. A special display of folk dances also takes place at the Talkatora Stadium. Three days later the Beating of the Retreat takes place at Vijay Chowk. Various bands of the armed forces set the pace for marching troops against the grand backdrop of Rashtrapati Bhawan.
In a much lighter vein, winter also witnesses the Vintage Car Rally when the 'grand old ladies', sprucedup for the occasion, make the long haul from Delhi to Sohna. Winter is also the time for the popular Balloon Mela, the Surajkund Crafts Mela on the outskirts of Delhi, and Delhi Tourism's Gardens Festivals. The latter is a visual feast, for Delhi a blaze with flowers in the month of February Delhi Tourism also organizes cultural performances during the Garden Festivals.
Holi, the festivals of colors, marks the onset of spring. In August, the festival Janamashtami, celebrates the birth of Lord Krishna. Ballets in the Kathak dance style depict the life of Lord Krishna.
In early October, a festival specific to Mehrauli, in Delhi, takes place. This the Phulwalon - Ki - Sair or the Flower sellers Procession, which originated in the 16th century. The highlight is a prossional of people carrying decorated floral fans, which are blessed at the shrine of the 13th -century Sufi saint, Khwaja Qutbuddin Bakhtyar Kaki and at the hindu temple of Jogmaya, both in Mehrauli. The procession ends with a formal ceremony at the Jahaz Mahal, a 16th - century pleasure resort by the side of a lake.
Also in October is Dussehra, commemorating the victory of Lord Rama over the demon king, Ravana. A month - long Ram Lila dance festival is organized by the Bhartiya Kala Kendra, depicting seens from the epic Ramayana, while on Dussehara evening itself, gigantic effigies of Ravana are set a fire. The biggest venue for this event is the Ram Lila ground, of Asaf Ali Road. Delhi Tourism organizes the popular Qutab Festival in October. Musicians and dancers performs at night by the city's 12th -century land mark, the Qutab Minar.
Diwali, the festivals of lights is preceded by several Diwali Melas, where food, handicrafts and a variety of earthern lamps and candles are sold. Large communities of Indians from different states reside in Delhi. As a result, regional festivals are also celebrated in the capital.