Top ChoiceHindu Festival in Gokarna


A chariot bearing a statue of Lord Shiva and his lingam is pulled through the streets by hundreds of pilgrims to conclude this nine-day festival.

Cultural in Mysuru (Mysore)


Mysuru is at its carnivalesque best during the 10-day Dussehra (locally spelt ‘Dasara’) festival. During this time Mysuru Palace is dramatically lit up every evening, while the town is transformed into a gigantic...

Dance in Madikeri (Mercara)


The Kodava community celebrates the start of the harvesting season with ceremony, music, traditional dances and much feasting for a week.

Religious in Bylakuppe

Tibetan New Year

Lamas in Tibetan refugee settlements in Bylakuppe take shifts leading nonstop prayers that span the weeklong celebrations.

Sports in Hampi

Golden Boulders

Golden Boulders is a noncompetitive 10-day outdoor climbing festival. Organised by local climbing outfit Tom & Jerry, it also features yoga, bouldering on new routes and slacklining.

Religious in Karnataka

Vairamudi Festival

Lord Vishnu is adorned with jewels at Cheluvanarayana Temple in Melkote, including a diamond-studded crown belonging to Mysore’s (Mysuru's) former maharajas, attracting 400,000 pilgrims.

Literature in Bengaluru (Bangalore)

Bengaluru Poetry Festival

This annual poetry festival features local and international writers and musicians. In 2018 it was held over two days at the Leela Palace hotel.

Religious in Hampi

Virupaksha Car Festival

This big event features a colourful procession characterised by a giant wooden chariot (the temple car from Virupaksha Temple) being pulled along the main strip of Hampi Bazaar.

Religious in Sravanabelagola


Held once every 12 years, when the 17m monolithic statue of Bahubali is swathed in colourful offerings. The next date is in 2030.

Religious in Vijapura (Bijapur)

Lingayat Siddeshwara

Running for eight days, this festival celebrates Lingayat culture and the worship of Shiva as a universal god, with special prayer ceremonies in temples across town.

Hindu Festival in Udupi

Udupi Paryaya

Held in even-numbered years, with a procession and ritual marking the handover of swamis at the town’s Krishna temple.

Jain Festival in Dharmasthala


Thousands and thousands of lamps light up the Jain-pilgrimage town of Dharmasthala, offering spectacular photo ops.