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Humayun's Tomb, Delhi | © Rod Waddington / Flickr
Humayun's Tomb, Delhi | © Rod Waddington / Flickr

7 Festivals Worth Travelling to Delhi for in 2018

Picture of Mridu Rai
Updated: 7 December 2017

For those seeking a rich travel experience, the historic landmarks, bustling night life and unique culture of Delhi offer enough reasons to visit the capital. However, if you need more convincing then here are seven exciting festivals which should definitely persuade you to travel to Delhi in 2018.

Qutub Festival 

Qutub Minar is one of Delhi’s most iconic monuments. It was built in the 12th century by Qutb Ud-Din-Aibak, who ushered in the Delhi Sultanate era. Every year, the tallest brick minaret in the world is commemorated during the Qutub Festival, which is usually held in November or December. Spectacular Indian classical music and dance shows by reputed artists from across the country are held against the backdrop of the monument. Whether it’s a soul-stirring Sufi concert, a sitar recital or a mesmerising Kathak dance performance, Qutub Festival is an unmissable cultural treat.

North East Festival

The North East region of India has eight states, each distinct in their history and culture. This festival in the capital throws light on this fascinating region, which is still somewhat isolated from mainland India. At the festival, there’s everything from rock concerts, film screenings, photography exhibitions, handicrafts presentations and food stalls. The region is also famous for organic farming, especially the state of Sikkim, and there’s usually fresh organic produce on sale as well.

North East Festival

North East Festival 2014 | © Magical Assam / Flickr

India Art Fair

Previously called the India Art Summit, this is one of India’s largest art events showcasing modern and contemporary art from all over the world. The 2017 edition of the fair had 72 exhibitor booths and 16 specially curated art projects. One of the highlights was a giant installation by Indian artist Sudarshan Shetty which had over 250 miniature Taj Mahals crafted in metal. Next year the India Art Fair is scheduled to be held from 9 to 12 February.

Art Project by KNMA | Courtesy of India Art Fair

Art Project by KNMA | Courtesy of India Art Fair

Theatre Olympics

For the first time ever since its inception in 1993 in Delphi, Greece, the Theatre Olympics will be held in India and the capital will play host. The Theatre Olympics is an international theatre festival armed with the objective of connecting theatrical artists across geographical and cultural boundaries. 50 international and 150 national theatre groups will put up over 500 plays in a span of two months for the Indian edition, which runs from February 18 to April 8, 2018. The theatre symposium will be organised by the National School of Drama.

A play produced by the National School of Drama, New Delhi | © Scenography center / Wikimedia Commons

National Street Food Festival 

All the delicious flavours of street delicacies are available under one roof at the National Street Food Festival in Delhi. If you’ve always steered clear of street food in India then this is your opportunity to indulge because the festival is being organised by the National Association of Street Vendors of India and the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, so you can be sure that hygiene standards are top notch. 500 street food vendors from around the country will set up shop and serve street food unique to their region. The festival will be held from January 12 to 14.

Indian street food

Katori chaat is a delicious Indian street food | © Rutvi Mistry / Wikimedia Commons

International Mango Festival 

This quirky annual festival is all about the national fruit of India, mango. 2018 will see the 30th year of this hugely popular festival which generally runs for two to three days. Over 500 varieties of mangoes are on display here along with a host of other activities like mango quiz, mango eating tournament, and all manner of mango contests including the heaviest mango competition. Chefs from luxury hotels too prepare their own special mango-centred recipes for the festival. The event takes place at Dilli Haat between the summer months of June and July.

Ramlila at Old Delhi 

One of the hallmarks of Hindu festival of Dussehra is a performance of Ramlila, the dramatic enacting of the life of Lord Rama. The festival itself is a celebration of the victory of Lord Rama over the demon king Ravana. The Ramlila Maidan near Red Fort in Old Delhi is the oldest location in the city to host the play. It is believed that Hindu soldiers in Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan’s army used to perform their own annual Ramlila near the present site. It is a great way to experience a prominent Hindu festival.

Ramlila performance at Ramlila Maidan in Old Delhi | © Ankit Gupta / Wikimedia Commons