Rajasthan’s most famous festival is the Pushkar Camel Fair, held each November at the time of the full moon (November 18-25, 2015). The town of Pushkar lies 90 miles southwest of Jaipur, and the annual event brings around 400,000 people, as well as 11,000 camels. Although authentic and spectacular, the festival now draws huge numbers of foreign tourists.
In complete contrast, January sees the Jaipur Literature Festival, which its promoters describe as “the world’s largest free literary event.” As well as the notables of Indian arts and letters, the event attracts major international figures. (Participants in 2015 included V.S. Naipaul, Paul Theroux and Jung Chang, author of the best-seller “Wild Swans.”)
Rajasthan is renowned for its rich traditions of folk music and dance, which have captured the imagination of Western artists. The World Sacred Spirit Festival enjoys the patronage of the maharaja of Jodhpur, as well as the musician Sting. It will take place in Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur, February 26-27, 2016. The Rajasthan International Folk Festival is also held at the majestic fort each October, and is co-sponsored by Maharaja Gaj Singh and Mick Jagger.