Popular Festivals of Maharashtra

The second most populous state in India, Maharashtra is home to people from diverse cultures and walks of life. Being one of the most cosmopolitan states of India, Maharashtra’s festivals are colorful and set an example of cultural inclusiveness to the world. In this multicultural state, communities are seen bonding and celebrating together irrespective of religion, caste or creed.

From celebrating the homecoming of their favorite Lord Ganesha to the most electrifying Holi celebrations and lavish Iftar parties, of course, festivals are the biggest distraction for the busy people of the state. Check out some of the festivals of Maharashtra that paint every street in the color of festive spirit. These amazing festivals will definitely grab your attention. Take a dekko!

1. Ganesh Chaturthi

The most famous festival of Maharashtra, Ganesh Chaturthi is a grand festival that marks the birth anniversary of Lord Ganesha. Celebrated with grandeur, the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi in Maharashtra lasts for 11 days and brings communities together.

Beautifully sculpted Ganesha idols are installed in many homes and pandals where various rituals are performed with great devotion. 

On the last day of the festival, the idol is immersed in a large water body and a huge procession is taken out to bid farewell to Lord Ganesha. During this procession, people are immersed in the spirit of dance and music that reflects the vibrant culture of Maharashtra.

2. Janmashtami

Another colorful and electrifying Maharashtra festival is Janmashtami which is celebrated to mark the birth anniversary of Lord Krishna. Also known as Gokul Ashtami, the festival of Janmashtami is celebrated with much fanfare in Maharashtra. Touching rituals like dahi handi are performed to honor Lord Krishna’s famous act of stealing butter. 

A group of youths through a giant human pyramid to reach pots suspended at great heights. Their efforts to break these earthen pots filled with butter is worth watching. The entire state hums with the spirit of festivity and joy during this festival that beautifully marks the Krishna Leela.

3. Goody Padwa

Maharashtra’s harvest festival, Gudi Padwa marks the beginning of the New Year according to the Hindu calendar. Considered as one of the auspicious days, many processions are taken out in many parts during this traditional festival of Maharashtra.

Special dishes are cooked, houses are decorated with torans and rangolis, and Gudi – a symbol of victory – is placed outside the house, believed to attract prosperity and good health to the family.

This festival in Maharashtra is considered to be an auspicious time to start a new venture, move into a new house and also buy a car or other valuables. Having great religious significance, this festival is celebrated with enthusiasm in many places in Maharashtra. 

4. Makar Sankranti

Makar Sankranti is a festival celebrated in all parts of India but with different names and traditions. Makar Sankranti in Maharashtra is a three-day festival marked with various rituals and customs that are unique to the state. In Maharashtra, the first day of this festival is known as Bhogi and the second day as Sankranti. 

The day holds great significance for the married women of the state as it is associated with an important ritual called Haldi-Kumkum. Married women wear ethnic clothing and gatherings are organized where women exchange small gifts as tokens of love and apply vermilion and turmeric on each other’s foreheads.

The tradition of kite flying is also followed in many parts of the state. The last day of the festival is called Kinkrant which marks the defeat of Kinkarasura – a demon who was slain by Maa Durga. During these three days, the people of the state are seen immersed in joy and merriment.

5. Nashik Kumbh Mela

One of the four grand Kumbh Melas, the Nashik Kumbh Mela is considered the holiest festival celebrated in Maharashtra. Also known as Trimbakeshwar or Nashik Trimbak Kumbh Mela, this religious festival in Maharashtra is marked by a huge concourse of pilgrims, monks and tourists.

Millions of devotees from across the country visit Nashik to take a dip in the Kushavarta and Ramkund reservoirs of the holy river Godavari during the Kumbh Mela. The Kumbh Mela, held once in 12 years, is considered the world’s largest peaceful gathering.

During this impressive festival of Maharashtra, all sins, colorful processions and holy dips are believed to be cleansed, creating a vivid picture of strong faith and religious values.

6. Shivaji Jayanti

Dedicated to the great ruler of Maharashtra – Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Shivaji Jayanti is celebrated on a grand scale in the state. Every year, various processions are taken out on his birthday and stories of his bravery and greatness are narrated with songs that speak of the great ruler’s reign.

On this special day, their values ​​and beliefs are remembered and pledges are also taken. With great respect for the great Maratha ruler, Shivaji Jayanti holds a special place for the people of Maharashtra.

7. Ellora Festival

Celebrated at one of the state’s great historical sites, the Ellora Festival in Maharashtra is a celebration of Indian art and cultural heritage.

Organized by Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation, the arrangement of this cultural festival of Maharashtra is truly grand and inviting.  Various classical music and dance acts are performed by renowned artistes of the country on a huge stage with the backdrop of the majestic Ellora Caves .

A huge fair with beautiful displays and food and craft stalls will surely leave you mesmerized. The festival brings together art connoisseurs and tourists from various fields to a historic site that is worth an experience.

8. Kala Ghoda Art Festival

India’s largest multicultural festival, Kala Ghoda Art Festival is a must-see in Maharashtra. Organized for nine consecutive days in the month of February every year, this festival attracts a large number of visitors from all over the world.

The festival is named after the black statue of King Edward VII on a black horse in the Fort area of ​​Mumbai.

A grand exhibition is held every year at the historic site of Kala Ghoda Art Fort in South Mumbai to celebrate theatre, music, films, comedy, world and contemporary art forms. Artists of various genres participate and spread the message of saving the rich and colorful Indian art forms. 

9. Nag Panchami

An important festival in Maharashtra, Nag Panchali is celebrated on the fifth day of the holy month of Shravan in honor of the Nag god Sesha Nag. Snake worship is an important ritual in India and on this festival, clay cobras are worshiped in homes .

It is mainly celebrated for two reasons. First, the abode of the naga (snake) forms the bottom of the underworld, and the blessings of the naga are sought for the well-being of the family. Second, the nag (snake) protects the crops from rats and mice, and so farmers pray to and thank the snake-god.

People offer prasad of sweets and milk to the serpent deity. Cobras are carried in baskets by snake charmers and they collect offerings from the public on the streets. The day is celebrated in the streets with dancing and singing. People throng Naga temples and Shiva temples as the serpent is very closely associated with Lord Shiva.

Popular Festivals of Maharashtra

8 thoughts on “Popular Festivals of Maharashtra

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