International Yoga Week, Rishikesh
(1-7 March)

Yoga literally means "union". It is a union of breadth and the body, the mind and muscles and most importantly union of the self to the divine. What better place to become "united" than on the sacred banks of Mother Ganga, in a land to which sages have flocked for millennia. To promote the ancient science of Yoga, a weeklong event is organised by the State Tourism Department in Rishikesh (Himalayan Foothills). Detailed lectures, demonstrations of various asanas by prominent exponents of Yoga are the major highlights of the Yoga Week.

Elephant Festival, Jaipur
(10 March)

The Elephant Festival is held every year during the festival of Holi. During the festival, Jaipur comes alive with elephants, dancers, and musicians and draws visitors from all over the world. The elephants stride majestically parading their decorated trunks and tusks. The festival begins with a procession of elephants, camels, and horses, painted and tastefully attired with glittering ornaments and embroidered velvets, followed by lively folk dancers. The elephants greet the visitors, offer garlands to the guests and walk past the ramp before a jury of experts and tourists to select the best amongst them for the "Best decorated Elephant" Shield. Elephant races and elephant polo matches are the special feature. The tug of war between elephants and men is probably the most hilarious highlight of the festival. The unique "Gaj Shringar" exhibition displays everything connected with the elephant-ornaments, textiles, carriages, paintings, medicines and food.

Holi, All over India
(11 March)

The liveliest of all Hindu festivals is observed on the day after full moon in the month of Phagun (in March) according to the Hindu Lunar calendar. It heralds the end of the winter and the beginning of the spring. North India, in particular, goes wild, with people smearing brightly hued powders on each other and squirting each other with coloured water from pichkaris. Holi is also a harvest festival, marking harvesting of the winter crop (rabi). Farmers celebrate Holi by offering their first crop to Agni, the Fire God.

Mewar Festival, Rajasthan
(29-31 March)

The Mewar Festival is celebrated to welcome the advent of spring. It coincides with the festival of Gangaur, and has a unique charm about it. The festival of Gangaur is very significant for women of Rajasthan. It is a time for them to dress up in their best clothes and participate in the festival.
They gather to dress the images of Isar and Gangaur and then carry them in a ceremonial procession through different parts of the city. The procession winds its way to the Gangaur Ghat at Lake Pichhola. Here, the images are transferred to special boats amidst much singing and festivity.
Once the religious part of the festival is over, it is time for cultural events where Rajasthani culture is portrayed through songs, dances and other programmes. The festival culminates with an impressive fireworks display. Like other fairs and festivals celebrated throughout the state, there is a lot of activity, which keeps the participants in a joyful frame of mind, eager to enjoy every moment.