Festivals in Nalanda
People in Nalanda are deeply religious and so number of festivals are celebrated here with great pomp and splendour. The festivals in Nalanda are a time for social gathering, enjoyment and new beginnings. Apart from Holy, Dipawali festivals like Chhath Puja, Buddha Jayanti, Makar Sankranti are an integral part of the cultural life of Nalanda. The city with its decorative look appeals to all new comers and the residents alike.
Chhath Puja in Nalanda
Also called Surya Shashti, this festival is celebrated by the people of Bihar, it is a form of thanks giving to the Sun God. The best place to experience Chhath Puja is Baragaon near Nalanda, where the famous Sun Temple is located. It is one of the holiest festivals in Nalanda and lasts upto four days. It is celebrated twice a year, during Chaitra and Karthik. This is celebrated by the womenfolk by maintaining sanctity and purity. Women fast for their family and society. The highlight of this festival is the folk songs sung in the honour of ‘Surya Dev’ and ‘Chatti Maiyya’, spreading divinity and holiness throughout. Apart from Hindus, people of other faiths also participate actively in this celebration.
During this festival people take a cleansing dip in the holy waters of the river and then make offerings to the rising as well as setting sun. The whole atmosphere is serene and filled with positive vibrations. Tourists flock to Nalanda during this festival to experience its exuberance and warmth.
Buddha Jayanti in Nalanda
Buddha Jayanti is celebrated to mark the three important events in Lord Buddha’s life – his birth, enlightenment and his attainment of Nirvana.It is widely celebrated on a full moon night in Vaisakha, usually in April or May. On this day, prayer meetings and religious discourses are held, and sermons given, processions and exhibitions are held depicting the life of Lord Buddha. Buddhist followers bathe and dress themselves in white clothes, pray, meditate and give alms to the poor and needy. Kheer, made of sugar, rice and milk is prepared and shared with friends, relatives and the poor. Many social and cultural events are organised on this day. This festival emphasizes the need to practise peace, love, kindness and harmony.
Makar Sankranti in NalandaEven though Makar Sankranti is celebrated throughout India it has a special significance in Nalanda. The Makar Sankranthi or the Harvest festival is celebrated in the month of Magh, in mid January. It marks the beginning of the summer season, and is considered to be very auspicious, as it symbolises the beginning of Uttarayana Punyakalam.
On this day, people have a bath in the holy waters and offer flowers to the deities in the temples. They offer charity to the poor and believe that this would bring them good fortune. During this period the Makar Sankranthi Mela is held in Rajgir near Nalanda for seven days. Locals as well as tourists enjoy themselves in the huge fair. The whole city wears a festive and joyous look.
Annual Urs Festival in Nalanda
Rajgir Dance Festival
Rajgir, a beautiful city which is considered to be the ancient capital of the Magadhas and is situated around 12km from Nalanda. It is an important tourist centre in the state of Bihar. Surrounded by lush green hills on all sides, Rajgir has some of the most magnificent temples and monasteries of the world. It is an important pilgrimage centre of the Buddhists, Jains and Hindus as it is associated with Lord Buddha, Lord Mahavira and also is mentioned in some legends of the famous epic Mahabarata.
In this tourist hub, the Bihar Tourism Department organises a rich festival of music and dance called The Rajgir Mahotsav or The Rajgir Dance Festival. This is generally held in the last week of October every year. It serves as a platform for the budding artists from the different states of the country to exhibit their talent. In this festival, artists get to perform devotional music, folk dance, instrumental music, devotional songs, ballet, opera, classical dances etc. Artists from far and wide gather under one roof. There is joy and vibrancy all over the place, the atmosphere being joyous and colourful. This festival attracts tourists from far and wide. This festival reflects India’s rich and varied culture and heritage.Besides all these festivals people of Nalanda also celebrate Holi, Ramnavami , Dussehra etc in a traditional manner with subtle tinges of modern lifestyle too. The festivals in celebrated in Nalanda help bring together people from different strata of the society, forgetting all their differences and are a perfect reflection of ‘Unity in Diversity’.
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