June is here, which means the monsoons are here too (or at least, will be here soon!) The time of the scorching sun is drawing to a close and the wonderful season of rain begins in India. This is an excellent time of the year, when you can enjoy the wet weather along with the beautiful monsoon festivals.

Whether it is a religious festival or a secular celebration, small village festival or a nation-wide festivity – every occasion is celebrated with the same glee and enthusiasm, which highlights the culture and traditions of our country. Here is a list of festivals that are celebrated in June in India.

Mahesh Navami: The devotees of Lord Shiva celebrate this festival with great vigor and zeal. The festival is marked by colourful processions and celebrations carried out predominantly by the Maheshwari Community in North India. Lord Shiva is popularly known by various other names and one of which is Mahesh. It is believed that on this day, Lord Shiva appeared in front of his devotees, hence it is celebrated with utmost devotion and joy. The temples are adorned with flowers, incense and specially decorated on this day.

Mithuna Sankranti: Also known as Raja Parba, is celebrated on June 15th in Orissa. It marks the onset of the monsoon season, where farmers celebrate the moistening of the summer, dry soil and get it prepared for the next year’s productivity. This is a four-day long festivity and the second day of the festival signifies the beginning of the Mithuna month, which is why it is called Mithuna Sankranti. Significantly, this festival is for the single girls in the village. On this day, the girls are dressed in best of clothes and forbidden from doing any kind of work. The festival is celebrated with special folk songs, plays and dances.

Yogini Ekadashi: As per the Hindu calendar, Yogini Ekadashi falls during the month of Aashada. This year, Yogini Ekadashi is celebrated on the 23rd of June. Lord Vishnu is worshipped on this day with great devotion and dedication. The devotees also keep vrats (fasting) on this day to cleanse themselves of all their ill deeds and sins. Devotees are expected to rise early on this day and perform pooja by decorating Lord Vishnu’s idol with garlands, adoring the pooja room with diyas and incense sticks and performing jhagran all night.

Jagannath Radhyatra: Puri Jagannath Radhyatra is one of the major religious processions in India. This year the yatra is held on 29th of June. People from all over the world visit Puri every year to be a part of this vibrant, religious yatra. The idol of Lord Vishnu is placed in a gigantic chariot, which is pulled by thousands of devotees from Gokul to Mathura. The lord is worshipped all day by chanting mantras, diyas and incense sticks are lit all through the day, and the idol is adorned with beautiful garlands and flowers. The chariot and the procession are the highlight of the occasion.

If you are travelling in India this June, do try and celebrate one of these festivals to experience the best of Indian festivities.

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