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Festivals in Mumbai

Festivals in Mumbai


Festivals represent the culture of the place. Incase of Mumbai, the fairs & festival depict the multicultural nature of the city, where people from different sections and religions live amicably. Here you can see lavish celebrations of popular festivals like Holi, Diwali, Id-Ul-Fitr as well as Christmas. Gudi Padwa is another major occasion observed in the Commercial Capital of India. Since Mumbai has a considerable population of Parsis, the Parsi New Year is also celebrated with much enthusiasm. Some cultural festivals are basically celebrated to encourage tourism and traditional arts in the city. 

Ganesh Chaturthi

Venue: Mumbai
Time: August/ September
Durations: 10 days
Highlights: Procession amidst dance and devotional songs

Ganesh Chaturthi is the blessed day when Lord Ganesha appears to confer happiness to the people on earth. Also called Vinayaka Chaturthi, Ganesha Festival is celebrates the birthday of the Lord. It is observed for 10 days, starting from Shukla Chaturthi till Ananta Chaturdashi (Hindu dates fall between month of August or September) throughout the country. States like Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh celebrate this festival in the most grandiose manner.

Bombay, the Financial Hub of India, commemorates this event in really extravagant style, with utmost devotion. It’s the time when streets bustle with devotees and huge ‘pandals’ (canopies) are set up, housing the idols of Lord Ganesha – the Lord of Beginnings, Wisdom, Prosperity and Good Fortune. Every nook and corner of the city appears drenched in the celebrations, excitement and enthusiasm. However, the preparations for this festival start 2-3 months before the event, with the making of clay models of the Lord.

On the festive day, the idol is placed on elevated platforms in homes or outdoor canopies, where people come to pray. A red silk dhoti is worn by the priest, who invokes life in the idol by chanting mantras (ritual known as Pranapratishtha). Followed by this, Shhodashopachara (16 ways of paying tribute) is done. Later the idol is smeared with red unguent (rakta chandan). While doing all the rituals, hymns from the scriptures like Rig Veda, Ganapati Atharva Shirsha Upanishad, and Ganesh Stotra are chanted.

For complete ten days, Lord Ganesh is worshipped with whole-hearted devotion. The image is taken into a procession, where devotees dance and sing to their heart’s content on the 11th day. Eventually, the idol is immersed in the sea with reverence. Throughout the procession, people yell ‘Ganapathi Bappa Morya, Purchya Varshi Laukariya’ which means ‘O Father Ganesh! Come again early next year’. Ganesh Chaturthi is a great festival of religious and social fervor, which presents a valuable insight, especially in Mumbai.

Kala Ghoda Festival

Venue: Near Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai
Time: Every Sunday (from November to February)
Highlights: Arts & Crafts
Organized by: Kala Ghoda Association

Kala Ghoda Festival is the most sought-after fair for the lovers of arts and crafts. In the Bollywood city of India, the venue for the event is made near the renowned Jehangir Art Gallery. The fair owes its name to Kala Ghoda, a district in South Mumbai that literally means Black Horse. This arts festival is actually a mélange, where artists from the fields of music, dance, art, craft, theatre, film, etc present a vibrant cultural show.

From the month of November to January, Kala Ghoda Fair is held on every Sunday. In 1988, the Kala Ghoda Association was founded, with the aim to improvise the infrastructure of the region and making it known as the art district of Bombay. Infact, the association anticipated to be a catalyst for the resurgence of art and crafts in the metropolis. Check out the book shops, music shops, magic shows, puppet shows or know your future by a parrot.

During the festive season, the entire region of Kala Ghoda turns into a pedestrian square, where you can indulge in the artistic paintings displayed by the painters, amazing sculptures by potters, tattoo your hands with mehendi or adorn your arms with beautiful bangles. Moreover, you can even know the history about different art forms, from masters of the art. As dusk falls, bright illumination beautifies the whole atmosphere, along with the music and dance concerts.

For such activities, the venue is generally made by National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), David Sasson Library Garden and Jehangir Art Gallery. Max Muller Bhavan hosts the audience for award winning Indian films. Creativity and ingenuity of the artists dominate the entire area. Subsequent to all the inspired activities, savor the local food and various cuisines that feed the exotic experience of Kala Ghoda Arts Festival.

Elephanta Festival

Venue: Elephanta Islands, near Mumbai
Time: February
Duration: 2 days
Highlights: Performances by eminent dancers and folk artists
Organized by: Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC)

Elephanta Island douses in the revelry of dance festival every year in the month of February. Located about 10 km from the Mumbai Harbor, the island is renowned for embracing Elephanta Caves – one of the World Heritage Sites in India. Earlier known as Gharapuri, that literally means peaceful abode of Lord Shiva, the site was discovered somewhere in the 6th century. As soon as Portuguese arrived and saw the carved elephant on the island, it was named Elephanta Caves.

During the Elephanta Festival, the island virtually turns into a colossal auditorium, where leading and emerging dancers from all parts of the country come to perform and show their talents. This cultural festival is organized by Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC), to boost travel and cultural spirit in the Bombay city of India. Folk dances performed by the local fisherman have become a popular feature of the event, besides the other performances.

The huge idol of Lord Shiva becomes the highlight when it is illuminated brightly and adds to the colorful atmosphere of the island. One should never miss the relishing local food served up there. People, who have taste for performing arts, along with national and international tourists, come to attend this dance and music festival of national importance, which is nonetheless a treat for eyes, ears as well as cerebral experience.

Banganga Festival

Venue: Malabar Hills, South Mumbai
Time: January
Duration: Two days
Highlights: Musical performances by famous artists
Organized By: Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC)

Banganga Festival is one amongst the most-awaited festivals that is celebrated for two days in the month of January every year. The picturesque Malabar Hills make the venue for this musical event in the Mumbai city of India. Banganga Music Festival is organized by MTDC (Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation), to boost travel and tourism in the state. The festival owes its name to Banganga Tank, a sacred tank in the complex of Walkeshwar Temple.

According to the legends, Banganga, the gorge emerged when Lord Rama shot an arrow at the site, so as to satisfy his thirst for water. No matter what legends state, Banganga Tank is worshipped by people with the utmost reverence. It is said that the tank was built by the kings of Silhara Dynasty, who ruled from the 9th to the 13th century. In 1715, the tank was renovated and restored with the donations.

During the festive time, the region is adorned with lights, flowers and decorations. Brilliant musical performances, by leading singers and promising artists, exhilarate and enliven the whole atmosphere. Besides this, classical music concerts are the special attraction. Personalities from the realm of dance and music grace this vibrant festival with their presence. Banganga Music Festival is undoubtedly a delight for cultural enthusiasts.

Mount Mary Festival

Mount Mary’s Festival is celebrated for one week during September at Mount Mary Church, Bandra in the suburbs of Mumbai, Maharashtra. This fair, which is also popularly known as the Bandra fair is celebrated on the occasion of Mother Mary’s birthday.

Lakhs of people of different religions and communities flock to this place during the festival. Marathi speaking communities of Maharashtra refer Mother Mary as Math Mauli. It is a belief of the local people that Mount Mary fulfils their genuine wishes if prayers are made earnestly and faithfully.

It is magnificent to take a look of the Arabian Sea from the site of the church. Mumbai is well connected by road, train and air with any part of India. Accommodations are available at the hotels Bandra as well.