Heavy rains reducing to a light drizzle, leaves on the oldest trees glazing orange and the smell of mixed spices filling up your lungs with every whiff—these are signs that September, which brings with it the delightful season of autumn—is finally here. From moon festivals in Shanghai to snake boat races in Kerala—here’s a list of places to keep on your bucket list this month.
Frenzied cheers and a significant amount of nail-biting accompanies the popular Payippad Snake Boat Race, the most revered of all boat races in God’s Own Country. The Payippad Snake Boat Race leaves no stone unturned in achieving its spiritual goal, with each long boat taking part in the race accommodating a good 50-100 rowers at a time. A highly vibrant and playful competition, the unique songs sung by the rowers on board prove motivational for each other and a delight to the ears of those cheering them on.
In Yichun, China, a village near Shanghai, locals light up prayer lanterns during the Chinese Moon Festival. The festival falls on September 13 and is celebrated all over China. Photo by: Visual China Group/Getty Images
A vibrant megacity offering an endless range of daring architecture, trendy fashion, and delectable bites, Shanghai teems with adventure. It’s also one of the best places to celebrate the moon and unite with loved ones at the three-millennium-old Chinese Moon Festival, where dragons come alive in a fiery dance, red lanterns are lit, and moon cakes are shared with family and friends.
Lush parks and vibrant landscapes surround the city made famous by renowned architect Walter Gropius, who brought the Bauhaus School to Dessau in 1926. Follow the Bauhaus Trail to explore a massive collection of textiles, furniture, and wallpaper on display at the new Bauhaus Museum Dessau, opening as part of a yearlong centennial celebration of the pivotal artists’ movement.
Set in the lush valley of Arunachal Pradesh, the Ziro Festival of Music offers a heady combination of indie music, local food, and breathtaking views. Photos: Shiv Ahuja
One of the most celebrated music festivals in India—the Ziro Festival in Arunachal Pradesh acts as a balm for the indie music lover’s soul. Taking place in the green picturesque Ziro Valley, the festival provides a wholesome, almost Woodstock-like experience, offering visitors the chance to stay in tents and connect with nature. You can go for hikes, learn about the culture of the Apatani community, jam with fellow music-loving travellers and discover new food and art—and new music.
Avant-garde designers from around the globe gather in Wellington for the annual World of WearableArt fashion show. Photo by: Hagen Hopkins/Stringer/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
The world’s southernmost capital, Wellington is a quirky, creative city hugged by breathtaking nature. In September, designers from around the world flock to the city to treat the human body as a canvas at the World of WearableArt (WOW) design competition. Audience members watch in awe as models strut the runway in a theatrical spectacle.
is an editorial researcher and writer at National Geographic.
is that unwarranted tour guide people groan about on trips. When she isn't geeking out on travel and history, she can be found walking around the streets, crying for Bengali food. She is Digital Writer at National Geographic Traveller India.
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