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4 Best Places to Visit in September in India to Experience the Festive Season

India is a land of festivals and its people love celebrating them. Some of the important festivals of India include – Holi, Navaratri, Diwali, Eid, Christmas, and so on. Each event has its different set of rules, a separate set of customs, and special celebratory cuisines that make the festivities more endearing. You might find some festivals are unique to a particular place, whereas some (festivals) are celebrated differently in different corners of the country.

Usually, folk songs and dance are an integral part of every celebration in India. For instance, during the Navratri (held during mid-September-October) people dress up in elaborately designed traditional attire and perform a rhythmical dance routine, Garba, on the beats of folk songs. The entire routine has electrifying energy that can be quite enticing.        

Overall, India is a potpourri of emotions, and you might be surprised at what you might learn about the nation from its festivities. Here is the list of best places to visit in September in India to experience the country’s festive flavors.

1. Mumbai – The City That Never Sleeps

   Which festival: Ganesh Chaturthi

   When: Early September (dates may vary based on Hindu calendar)

   How to reach Mumbai: Mumbai is well connected with almost all the major cities of India via flight and trains. 

Mumbai, the Gateway to India, is a fascinating city. A mixture of diverse cultures and heritages, the city welcomes everyone with open arms. Mumbai, the capital of Maharashtra, is one of the prime Indian metro cities – well-known for its lavish colonial buildings, Bollywood, Dharavi, Worli Sea Link, and so on.

Lavish Colonial Buildings in Mumbai
Lavish Colonial Buildings in Mumbai

Dharavi Slum
Dharavi Slum

However, one thing that makes Mumbai one of the best places to visit in September in India is Ganesh Chathurthi. The 10-day festival marks the birth of Ganesha – son of Parvati and Shiva (two important deities of Hindu pantheon). You will find several marquees, elaborately decorated with special festive decorations, holding the idol of the favorite Hindu god – Ganesha. Apart from that special religious ceremonies or pujas are organized in every household. The entire city takes on a festive zeal, which is very addictive. On the last day of the festivities, the Ganesha idols are visharjit or immersed in the sea after an elaborate procession. 

   P.S: Here are some Ganesha Pandals you should not miss in Mumbai - Lalbaughcha Raja, Kamathipura Cha Raja, and Dongri Cha Raja. Also, remember these pandals can get a bit crowded, so stay prepared.


2. Kerala – Stunning Backwaters and Exotic Beaches

   Which festival: Onam

   When: Early September (dates may vary based on the Hindu calendar)

   How to reach: Major cities of Kerala are accessible.

Kerala is one of the best places to visit in September in India for many domestic and international tourists due to its exotic golden beaches, stunning tea gardens, tea museum and stunning backwaters. Kerala is fondly referred to as ‘God’s own country’, and after visiting this state you will understand why?

One of the important festivals of Kerala, Onam, is a 10-day celebration honoring the fabled King Mahabali. It is believed that during Onam the King Mahabali visits his subjects and blesses them with prosperity. During the time of the festivities, the houses are decorated with elaborate floral carpets called pookalam. Also, an elaborate feast called Sadhya is prepared and is served on a banana leaf. The entire meal is eaten with hands, giving the feast a traditional touch.

Kerala Backwaters
Kerala Backwaters

Snake Boat Race in Kerala
Snake Boat Race in Kerala

Another important part of the Onam celebrations is snake boat race or Vallam Kali – an energetic race of paddled canoes dashing towards reaching the finishing line. The Pulikkali Tiger Play is another interesting part of Onam celebrations.    

   P.S: Women wear beautiful Kasavu or golden border saree, whereas men wear with golden border Mundu.

See also Best Tourist Places in Kerala

3. Ziro, Arunachal Pradesh

   Which festival: Ziro Music Festival

   When: Last week of September

   How to reach Ziro: Tourists can take a flight till Guwahati or Tezpur, and then continue on a cab till Ziro. Other than that, they can take a train till Naharlagun and carry on by road till Ziro.

Located on the beautiful backdrop of the Himalayas, Ziro is an incredibly small village in Arunachal Pradesh, one of the best places to visit in September in India. Apart from its natural beauty, the small hamlet is popular for its soul-stirring music festival. Each year, close to the end of September the musicians from all over the country gather to celebrate music and feeling of communal harmony. The three-day music festival is hosted by the Apatani tribe living in Ziro and is attended by some of the popular independent artists and musicians of India.

Although there are some homestays and guest lodges available in the nearby village, most visitors prefer staying at the camps or tents close to the festival grounds. Staying close to the pine-covered hills, under the array for bright stars is a must-have experience for every visitor.      

   P.S: As Arunachal is a state that shares an international border, visitors are required to get Inline Permit (for domestic travelers) and Protected Area Permit (for International travelers)     

4. Leh

   Which festival: Ladakh Festival 

   When: During September (dates vary based on Buddhist calendar)

   How to reach: Leh is accessible through flight and road.

Covered in snow-capped mountains, Leh is emerging as the popular destination for thrill-seeking travelers. What makes Leh one of the best places to visit in September in India is the stunning and colorful Ladakh Festival. In the two week celebrations, elaborate folk dances and performances are organized.

On the inauguration day, a huge cultural procession is organized that passes through the Leh Market. Participants, wearing customary Ladakhi dresses and masks, dance over the beats of traditional music. The entire celebration is a stunning sight and marks the beginning of a beautiful festival. However, the main attraction of the Ladakh Festival is the polo match that is organized on its last day.

Any celebration is incomplete without food, and this festival is no different. While here tourists can try traditional Ladakhi dishes like Tangtur, Mokthuk, and Thupka. Mokthuk and turquoise jewelry are must-have souvenirs for visitors.

India is a beautiful country with a colorful heritage and culture. And, festivals add a dash of color to this already colorful landscape. 

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