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Fairs and Festivals of Karnataka


Ugadi falls on the first day of the month of Chaitra which marks the beginning of the Chandramana New Year in March-April. This festival is not associated with many rituals. After an oil bath, people wear new clothes, worship their deities and then eat a little quantity of mixture of neem juice, jaggery etc. This is to remind everyone that life is not a bed of roses but is a combination of happy and sorrowful events. Hearing of a new almanac is a significant event of the day. The agriculturists generally start their pre-sowing operations in the field on this day.

Dussera or Navaratri or Nadahabb

Dussera is celebrated for 10 days from September end to early October. Although it is celebrated all over India, it has special significance in Mysore, South India. It symbolizes the victory of goddess Chamundeswari (Durga) over the demon Mahishasura. i.e. the victory of the good over the evil. Mysore palace is fully illuminated for a whole month. On the 9th day, weapons, implements of labour etc. are offered worship. On the 10th day which is known as Vijayadashami, with the accompaniment of a band colourfully bedecked elephant carrying the statue of goddess starts from the palace as a procession with palace chariots and units of the army through the city to Banni Mantap (where Banni tree is worshipped), about five kilometres away. In the evening, there is a torchlight parade by the horse mounted guards who provide an exciting display of horsemanship and the night ends with a great display of fireworks.

Kar Hunnime

This is observed on the Full moon day of Jyestha (June) by worshipping the bullocks and the agricultural implements. A special feast is prepared in the afternoon. In the evening a function called Karihariyodu is performed, in which the chief event is bullocks race. Many pairs of bullocks participate in the running race and the pair which come first is acclaimed by the public. If the bullocks which comes first are red or brown colour, it is supposed that red variety of jowar will grow in abundance during the ensuing season and if they are white in colour, white jowar is supposed to grow in plenty.


Nagarpanchami falls on the 5th day of the bright half of the lunar month of Shravana. On this day, newly married girls visit their parents. The religious part of the festival consist of offering worship to cobras and snakes by pouring milk. In several houses, clay images of snakes are worshipped.

 Shigi Hunnime

This is observed on the 14th and 15th day of Aswija. It is one of the important festivals in the village and a local fair in honour of god Vithappa, is also associated with it. This fair, which was started about 200 years back, lasts for about three days.

Makar Sankramana

This is observed in the 14th January every year when the sun enters the sign of Capricorn. On this day, the people exchange til and jaggery as a token of their love and affection.

Maha Shivaratri

This falls on the 14th day of the lunar month of Magh and is considered as one of the big festivals in the state.


Holi is a festival of merriment and it is also associated with the singing of many folk songs.  Burning of wood and replicas of Kama is a feature of this festival. They believe that fields in the direction in which charred wood points on crumbling, will have good crops.

Yellu Amavasya

Yellu Amavasya is observed on new moon day in the month of December and it marks the culmination of the Kharif season. On this day the people visit the temple and in the noon the members of the households go to their respective fields taking along with them a variety of dishes like Holige, bread from bajra flour, a vegetable curry, butter, etc. They pick up five smooth stones from their fields and worship them. Later, a small quantity of the various dishes brought by them is thrown in various directions in the field as a symbol of offerings. The members of the family then sit together in their field along with their guests and partake of the food.


Ramzan is the most important month in the religious year of the Muslims. During the Ramzan  month, Muslims take their food only before dawn and again after dusk after offering their prayers in the evening. Severe austerity is the key note of this festival. At the end of the month the Muslims offer prayers, and exchange greetings.


This festival of lights begins on the 13th day of the dark half of the lunar month of Aswija and lasts for about five days. The traders open new accounts on this day. It is a festival of fireworks and divas.


When the fields are flush with water, buffaloes race down a slushy track, egged on by a strong-muscled farmer who surfs his way down the track behind the beasts while balancing precariously on a trailing wooden plank. A riot of colour, frenzied cheers and shining torsos slick with sweat mark this annual sporting event where the prize goes to the swiftest. Get swept away by the excitement of the Kambala buffalo race, a rural sport in southern coastal Karnataka, which originally began as a royal pastime and was later continued by the feudal lords of the Tulu region.

Vairamudi Festival

The sleepy town of Melkote comes alive during the annual Vairamudi festival when the deity of the hill shrine dedicated to Lord Vishnu is adorned with the legendary diamond-studded crown brought from the Mysore Palace. This nightlong event, part of the 10-day Brahmotsavam, is witnessed by thousands of devotees.

Hampi Festival (Vijaya Utsav)

The ruins of Hampi come alive with the strains of music and sounds of dance when the State Government holds the Vijaya Utsav to recreate the grandeur of the erstwhile Vijayanagar Empire and a bygone era. Similar festivals are held at Halebid, Pattadakal, Karavalli and Lakkundi.

Tula Sankramana 

It is believed that Goddess Cauvery appears in the form of a sudden upsurge of water in a small tank to give darshan to the innumerable devotees gathered here. This event is known as theerthodbhava and is celebrated with much festivity in Kodagu. Thousands flock to witness the event and seek the Goddess’s blessings, bathe in her waters and carry back bottles full of holy water from the source of the river.

 Rajyotsava Day

The Rajyotsava Day is celebrated on the 1st of November every year. This day marks the formation of the Karnataka State. Apart from this, other state festivals celebrated here are the Coorg festival, Hampi/Vijayanagar festival and the Hoysala festival. These festivals celebrate the rich cultural heritage of Karnataka.

 Shri Yellamma Devi Fair

Shri Yellamma Devi fair is held at Saundatti. It is held for about 5 times between October and February. But the Margasira is the biggest one, which is held on the full moon day. 

The Godachi Fair

The Godachi fair is held at Godachi village in Ramdurg Taluk of Karnataka. It is held in the month of Kartik This fair is held in the honour of Shri Veerabhadra and it is organized by the government of Karnataka. 

Banashankari Devi Fair

The Banashankari Devi fair is held near Badami. It is an annual fair held in the month of January on the full moon day. This fair lasts for 10 to 12 days. At the fair, villagers buy agricultural items, utensils and other articles of domestic needs.



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