Every two years, the eclectic neighbourhood of Fort Kochi, in the southern city of Cochin, gets flooded with colour during the three-month long Kochi-Muziris Biennale. The contemporary art show exhibits the works of artists from India and elsewhere. This year’s show has works from Poland, Spain, India, and Japan, and is curated by artist Sudarshan Shetty, who is best known for his enigmatic sculptural installations. In addition to public exhibitions, there are also workshops, talks, seminars, and film screenings across Cochin. Fort Kochi also has chic cafes, quirky design stores, and an antique market that could yield beautiful souvenirs. Check into the Malabar House or Walton’s Homestay to be close to the action. More on Cochin and other Kerala getaways here.
Where: Fort Kochi, Kerala | Duration 12 Dec - 29 Mar
Around Makar Sankranti every year, Gujarat’s skies become a mosaic of kites, big and small, traditional and fantastic, all fighting for space. Catch the action at the International Kite Festival held at the Sabarmati riverfront in Ahmedabad. The festival exhibits kite-making traditions from various countries, and draws artists from around the world. Gaze at gigantic sky-borne whales, box kites, and Chinese flying dragons while munching on Gujarati farsan and picking up local handicrafts at the stalls. Don’t forget your sunglasses!
Where: Ahmedabad, Gujarat | Duration 8 Jan - 14 Jan
Every year around Makar Sankranti, wandering Baul singers from across Bengal converge at the little village of Jaydev Kenduli, 4 hours by road from Kolkata, for the annual Joydeb Mela. Their music performances are the mela’s biggest draw, for baul singers are both skilled vocalists and rapturous performers, capable of enthralling large crowds. Their music fuses Vaishnav, Sufi, Tantra, and Buddhist tenets, and is generally accompanied by the ektara and clay drums. Like all rural fairs, the Joydeb Mela also hosts handicraft and food stalls, Ferris wheels, and theatre performances. But the Bauls are the stars of the show. More here.
Where: Kenduli, West Bengal | Duration 15 Jan - 16 Jan
Join fellow bibliophiles from around the world at the five-day Zee Jaipur Literature Festival, which brings together writers, journalists, and book-lovers at the Diggi Palace heritage hotel. This year marks the tenth edition of the festival. Expect seminars, panel discussions, and book signings. It’d be a shame to visit Jaipur and not see the sights. Hike around Amber Fort and the Jantar Mantar observatory, near the City Palace. Stock up on bandhani-printed saris and dupattas, comfy cotton Jaipuri quilts, and colourful mojaris at bustling markets like Bapu Bazaar. For a tongue-in-cheek guide to the Jaipur Lit Fest, click here.
Where: Jaipur, Rajasthan | Duration 19 Jan - 23 Jan