Tokhu Emong, Chalo Loku, and other interesting festivals in India

The month of Kartik in the Hindu Lunar calendar is of great significance to Hindu religion. Almost in every part of India, the Kartik Purnima is commemorated with a lavish celebration of religion and trade in the form of Community Fairs. The most well-known among these festivals are Pushkar Mela (the largest camel trade fair in the world), Rann Utsav, Sonepur Cattle Fair and Bateshwar Fair. There is also a multitude of lesser known, but equally vibrant, fairs and festivals of similar nature – the likes of Lavi Fair, Shamlaji Fair, Kolayat Fair, Chandrabhaga fair, Boondi Utsav, that lighten up India in a mood of festive glamour. Although each of these celebrations is exciting, they tend to be excessively crowded and difficult to get a place in last minute.

But, India is a land of as much diversity as similarity. Here we take a look at a few, lesser known, but equally interesting, festivals that dot the many diverse parts of the country, where you might still be able to get in for a closer view at the Indian culture scene:

Tokhu Emong in Nagaland

Date in 2016: 7th November

Pic Courtesy: Supriya Sahgal on Flickr
Pic Courtesy: Supriya Sahgal on Flickr

Tokhu Emong is a festival celebrated by the Lotha Nagas in the Indian state of Nagaland. Tokhu means venturing out in groups from house to house, accepting refreshments and Emong means the halt at a specified time. This is a harvest festival of merriment and fun. The festival is marked with folk music and dance and is a celebration of brotherhood, forgiveness and oneness. If a stranger happens to visit the village before the beginning of the festival, they either have to leave the village prior to sunset or be a guest until the culmination of the festival. The Lothas also arrange for marriages right after the festival, as the time is considered auspicious for intimacy.

Nongkrem Dance Festival in Meghalaya

Date in 2016: 13th November

By Bogman (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By Bogman (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
The Nongkrem Dance Festival is held in Smit, the cultural center of the Khashi Hills of Meghalaya. This festival is dedicated to the powerful Goddess Ka Blei Synshar, praying for a rich harvest. The five-day long religious festival is celebrated with the famous Nongkrem dance, performed by unmarried girls in their traditional costumes. They dance with a sword in one hand and white yak hair in the other – a visual treat for those present. Animal sacrifice is performed to Lei Shillong, the God of the Shillong peak.

Also read: Here are the breathtaking Autumn Festivals around India

Qutub Festival in Delhi

Date in 2016: 15th November

Pic courtesy: Saurabh Thakur via Flickr
Pic courtesy: Saurabh Thakur via Flickr

The Qutub Festival is held at the heart of the Indian capital, Delhi, to commemorate the historical significance of the Qutub Minar. The festival is hosted with a plethora of classical music and dance events that showcase the rich repertoire of Indian culture. The festival is hosted with the magnificent Qutub Minar in the background, that gives the whole ambiance a majestic appeal. In addition to a treat to one’s aesthetic senses, the festival also promises a treat to the palate for lovers of Indian cuisine.

Also read: These Music Concerts are on the bucket list of Indian Music fans

Majuli Festival in Assam

Date in 2016: 21st November

By dalbera (Flickr: Moines danseurs de Majuli (musée Guimet)) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By dalbera (Flickr: Moines danseurs de Majuli (musée Guimet)) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Majuli is the largest river island in the world, in addition to being the center of Assamese civilization and home to neo-Vaishnavites. The Majuli Festival is a celebration of the latter at the town of Garamur, on the banks of River Luit. Artisans from across the state fare handmade products at this meet, which also hosts food fests, seminars, and cultural events.

Matsya Festival in Alwar

Date in 2016: 25th November

The Matsya Festival is celebrated in honor of the rich cultural heritage of the Alwar region in Rajasthan. The two-day festival hosts a range of competitions, exhibitions, sports, dance and music presentations. The festival also witnesses a number of adventure sports such as parasailing, hot-air ballooning, and zorbelling ball. Local games like Rumal Jhapatta, Rassa Kassi, and Teer Andazi are start features of the festival. Another crowd puller for the tourists is the Alwar Darshan that enables an outsider to get a close look at the local life at Alwar.

Chalo Loku in Arunachal Pradesh

Date in 2016: 25th November

Chalo Loku is the most colorful of Arunachal’s festivals. It is a harvest festival held after the paddy harvest in the region, before the start of the new jhum cultivation. The festival marks the beginning of a new year and lasts for three days. The first day is dedicated to animal sacrifices and preparation of the festival. The second day hosts a coming-of-age ceremony for young adult men, Chamkat, only after which a man is allowed to attend the decision making the institution of Paang. The third day is dedicated to traditional dances at the Chief’s house and near Paang premises.

Chandigarh Carnival

Date in 2016: 27th November

Pic courtesy: Economic Times
Pic courtesy: Economic Times

The Chandigarh Carnival is a modern festival in India that includes a parade exhibition, much like those held in Thanksgiving in the States. Floats representative of Indian culture – both classical and popular, are exhibited in the parade that goes out for 2 days. The Carnival also hosts musical and lyrical programs in addition to a vintage car display, food, fun, and fiesta.

Are there any other unique and heritage-rich festivals and celebrations in India this November that we have missed out? Help us complete the list by commenting below or write to us at editor@blankslatechronicles.com.

About Anumita Ghosh

Anumita believes her calling has to do with the written words. She loves to write and read, and has recently given up a(n) (almost) rocking career in the Corporate to pursue her passion. Yes, she is slightly off her rocker, but then the society has been largely accepting of her madness. She is the co-founder of Blank Slate Chronicles and a struggling domestic apprentice, not to mention a loving (yet inadequately skilled) mother to a toddler.

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Anumita Ghosh

Anumita believes her calling has to do with the written words. She loves to write and read, and has recently given up a(n) (almost) rocking career in the Corporate to pursue her passion. Yes, she is slightly off her rocker, but then the society has been largely accepting of her madness. She is the co-founder of Blank Slate Chronicles and a struggling domestic apprentice, not to mention a loving (yet inadequately skilled) mother to a toddler.

One thought on “Tokhu Emong, Chalo Loku, and other interesting festivals in India

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