By Tripoto

This article was first published on Tripoto, the global travel community. To get more tips, tricks and travel hacks from their worldwide community, click here. 

VIP passes and entry tickets are not required for these events. These modern Indian festivals are free-of-charge. And they offer an extraordinary experience to their young-at-heart audience. Long story cut short, you just can’t afford to miss them! These are the perfect places to meet interesting people, visit scenic locations and soak in the local culture. We at Tripoto have listed down seven of these modern events for you.

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Kite Festival, Gujarat 

All you have to is climb on a roof to make the most of this colourful Indian festival. The thrill and excitement of kite flying reaches another level in Gujarat. Makar Sankranti {Kite Flying Day} marks the end of a long winter with the return of the sun to the Northern Hemisphere. Individuals from all walks of life take to the stairs, fly kites and make merry from early morning to late into the night.

When: This one’s over, bookmark for next year.

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Nehru Trophy Boat Race, Kerala 

The Nehru Trophy boat race is arguably the most popular festival in Kerala. The pick of the event takes place on Chundan Vallams snake boats. Thus, the race is widely known as snake boat race. You have to be there to feel the energy and vibe of the place.

When: Second Saturday of August

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Jaipur Literature Festival, Jaipur 

Held in the historically rich city of Jaipur, this egalitarian literature festival has taken the world by storm. It now occupies the mantle of the largest free festival on Earth. Thus, you can walk in and out of the venue, Diggi Palace, as per your whims and fancies. Noble laureates, debut novelists, and artists come under one roof for five days of debates, discussion and plenty of entertainment.

When: 21st-25th January

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Kala Ghoda Arts Festival, Mumbai 

This Indian festival, more than any other, turns Mumbai’s Kala Ghoda neighbourhood into an open exhibition space. The street festival, now in its 16th year, is a kaleidoscope of music, dance, theatre, literature, street stalls, and workshops for both adults as well as children.

When: 7-15th February

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Khajuraho Dance Festival, Madhya Pradesh 

The famous Khajuraho temples, a Unesco Heritage site, provide a mesmerising backdrop for India’s biggest classical dance festival. The performances come in Khathak, Kuchipudi, Bharatnatyam, Manipuri and many other dance styles. The festival entry is free for all temples of Eastern and Southern parts, whereas a minimal fee is charged for temples located in the western section.

When: 20-26 February

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Kila Raipur Rural Olympics, Ludhiana 

This desi version of the Olympics comes with the same adrenaline rush as its western counterpart. The bullock cart race is the pick of the event,s and comes with a big spoil. You can also find some off beat athletic skills such as people lifting bicycles with their teeth, and other daredevil stunts.

When: 29th January-1st February

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Dharamshala International Film Festival, Himachal Pradesh 

This Indian festival is held in the picturesque hill town of Dharamshala, and it brews a heady mix of Indian as well as global culture. There are special screenings, master classes, and workshops that encourage local film making. A visit to Mcleodganj, Dalai lama’s residence, is priceless.

When: 11th-13th June

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Pushkar Camel Fair, Rajasthan 

50,000 camels and countless humans converge in the holy town of Pushkar for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The livestock fair is a riot of colours, spectacles and carnivals, with an array of magicians, dancers, acrobats, and snake charmers ready to enthrall the crowd.

When: 14-21st November

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Hornbill Festival, Kisama Village 

Named after the large and colourful bird, Hornbill is known as the festival of festivals. It is held in Nagaland, a place still untouched by modernisation. The far flung tribes of Nagaland showcase their culture and heritage to eager spectators. A melange of cultural performances from crafts, dances, and food fairs are part of the experience. The celebration takes place at Kisama Heritage Village, around ten kilometres from Kohima {capital of Nagaland}.

When: 1st-7th December

Looking for a getaway sometime sooner? Check out LBBs picks of top 10 places to go to for the Republic Day long weekend.