Guru Gobind Singh Jayanti- Tenth Sikh Guru, All over India
(05 January’11)

Celebrated by the Sikhs, the birthday of their tenth and last guru, this day witnesses’ large processions and special prayer gatherings at all Gurudwaras( Sikh Temple).

Guru Gobind Singh’s (1666-1708 C.E.) father, Guru Tegh Bahadur, had sacrificed his life to protect the freedom of worship by Hindus, who were being threatened with conversion or death by zealous Muslim rulers. Abduction of women and pillage of goods were rampant, but the people were too timid and terrorized to resist. In the midst of this political situation, Guru Gobind Singh gained great stature as both Saint and soldier, a leader of firm spiritual principles and intense devotion to God, and at the same time, fearless dedication to protecting all people from oppression and injustice.

In addition to his spiritual and military leadership, Guru Gobind Singh was a gifted intellectual and had many poets in his court. He was inspired to write many powerful spiritual compositions that infused a martial spirit in the people.

Lohri, North India
(13 January’11)

Come January, and the fields of Punjab are filled with the golden harvest of wheat and the farmers celebrate Lohri, the bonfire festival, during this rest period before the harvesting and gathering of crops. Huge bonfires are lit in the harvested fields and in the front yards of houses and people gather around the rising flames, circle around the bonfire and throw puffed rice, popcorn and other munchies into the fire, singing loudly the popular folk songs. The merry-making is followed by a traditional dinner.

International Kite Festival, Gujarat
(14 January’11)

The International Kite Festival is held at Ahmedabad on January 14, to coincide with the festival of Uttarayan or Makar Sankranti. The people of Gujarat celebrate Uttarayan with a lot of enthusiasm and all business comes to a grinding halt for a couple of days. It is also a celebration to mark the end of winter. In Gujarat, Makar Sankranti is kite-flying day. Traditionally celebrated on January 13 or 14, it is a holiday when every family can be met outdoors 'cutting' each other's kites. This immensely popular kite flying festival is held in all the important cities of Gujarat. The festival lures expert kite-makers and fliers not only from major cities of India but also from around the world. A plethora of designer kites are also put on display.

Pongal, South India
(14 January’11)

Pongal is a celebration of the harvest, which is observed for three days in January. Bhogi Pongal, Surya Pongal and Mattu Pongal, are the three days of Pongal festivities on successive days. In certain parts cattle races still enliven the village festivities. Pongal is a colourful and traditional festival with many a ceremony devoted to various deities. With ingredients provided by freshly gathered harvest, community meals are held at many a place.

Chennai Dance Festival, Chennai- Classical dances through a month

Chennai music and dance festival is a celebration of classical music and dance of South India (Carnatic Music) held during mid December to mid January in the capital city of Chennai. The festival is held at a number of venues around the city by various sabhas or organizations. Besides the auditoriums, well-known temple premises and heritage bungalows are being used as venues.

The month long dance and music extravaganza has performances of famous artistes from various parts of India. The city comes alive with the festival, which has now developed, into a cultural extravaganza with more than 2000 participants in over 300 concerts. The festival also attracts expatriate Indians and scholars from around the world.

Bikaner Camel Fair, Rajasthan
(18-19 January’11)

The festival begins with a procession of bedecked camels against the red sandstone backdrop of the magnificent Junagarh Fort. It is a colourful spectacle of the beautifully decorated camels that fascinates the onlookers with their charm and grace. Several competitions take place, marked with typical Rajasthani colour, joyous music and lilting rhythms. The festivity advances to the open sand-spreads of the Polo Grounds, followed by camel races, camel bands, camel acrobatics, camel milking, fur cutting design, the best breed competition, etc.

The festive mood is set by the skirt swirling dancers, the awe-inspiring fire dance and the dazzling fireworks light up the fortified Desert City. The festivities also have renowned artists performing various folk dances and songs.

Republic Day, Delhi
(26 January’11)

On this day in 1950 the constitution of India came into effect and India became a Sovereign, Democratic and Republic state. A series of events are held in the Delhi and the state capitals to celebrate the occasion. A grand celebration is held at New Delhi wherein all the three arms of the Indian defense forces, army, navy and air force, take part in a parade which also includes a display of India’s military might and a variety of cultural performances. The celebration ends with a colorful ceremony, The Beating Retreat, in front of the Presidents House a couple of days later.