Festivals of Karnataka, Karnataka Festivals list

by Surojit Palmal
Festivals of Karnataka

The state of Karnataka is one of the most enriching states when it comes to culture and traditions. Here the people hold their traditions and cultures really close. And that is best visible through their ways of celebration. If anyone is visiting Karnataka try to visit around the festivals of Karnataka. It would be one of the grandest experiences that you can experience. Moreover the important festivals of Karnataka are deeply imbibed with their rich historical past. A lot of the major festivals of Karnataka are ancient and have been going on since many years. Even today people living here celebrate the traditional festivals of Karnataka with a lot of pomp and grandeur.

In this article I will mention Karnataka festivals list that will be handy for you. While planning a trip to the state you can surely keep the festivals in mind. That way you will be able to enjoy the grand festivities there and also you will get an insight about the culture there. So keep on reading and plan your trip accordingly.

Festivals of Karnataka

Ganesh Chaturthi

Karnataka Festival - Ganesh Chaturthi

This is one of the main festivals of Karnataka that the people here celebrate with a lot of grandeur. On the 4th day of the Shukla Chaturthi the festival starts. Furthermore the festival ends on the day of Anant Chaturdashi. During the months of August and September usually the festival takes place. Across the whole of Karnataka the people celebrate the arrival of Lord Ganesha. It is also one of the cultural festivals in Karnataka that promotes religious harmony as well. Even though Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated in many other states, the festival of Karnataka is special. The freedom fighters began this festival before Indian independence. Bal Gangadhar Tilak, the great freedom fighter, first started this festival in 1906 at Belagavi. From that time this festival is one of the biggest festivals of Karnataka.

People in Karnataka serve Lord Ganesha his favourite modak and karanji. Along with that he is also served with other delicacies as well. Through 4 major rituals basically the puja is done. It starts with Pran Pratistha of the God. Then comes the Shodashopachara followed by Uttar Puja. And the last one is Ganapati Visarjan. Whole Karnataka gets dressed in festivities during the Ganesh Chaturthi. This is one of the festivals of Karnataka that has both historical and cultural significance.



On the first day of the month of Chaitra the people in Karnataka celebrate the Ugadi festival. 2 words comprise Ugadi, Yuga and Adi. The meaning therefore translates into new beginnings. This is one of the festivals of Karnataka that marks a new beginning. Other than Karnataka, the states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh also celebrate this festival. However the people believe that this is an auspicious festival as it marks the beginning of the agricultural cycle. With a new hope, faith and fervor the people celebrated Ugadi. They offer prayers to Lord Brahma as well. According to popular beliefs this festival is the beginning of the Kali Yuga when Lord Krishna left the mortal world.

From an agricultural point of view, cultural as well as mythological perspective it is one of the significant festivals of Karnataka. Furthermore a cultural extravaganza is displayed through this festival as well. And what follows is a grand feast with delicious items like Holige, Moong Dal Payasam and Bevu Bella.

Hampi Festival

Hampi Festival
Image Source : flickr

Also known as the Vijaya Utsav, this festival dates back to the Vijayanagara kingdom. In the month of January people of Hampi celebrate this festival. Furthermore, almost lakhs of tourists visit Karnataka every year during this time to experience this grand festival. Main attractions of this particular festival are dance, music, exhibitions, art performances, outdoor activities and a lot more. The ruins of Hampi monuments look spectacular with the gorgeous lighting on them. Both national as well as international artists perform during this festival.

Mysore Dasara

Mysore Dasara

While various other parts of India celebrate Navatatri and Dussehra, Mysore celebrates Dasara a little differently. Mysore Dasara is a festival that has been going on for a really long time. At first the Vijayanagara dynasty started celebrating Dasara around 1610. And that makes this festival more than 400 years old. According to popular myths the Goddess Chamundeshwari killed the demon Mahisasura marking the win of good over evil. Moreover this is a 10 day long festival. However the most grand celebration happens on the ninth day of the festival that is Maha Navami.

Not just in Mysore but in the whole of Karnataka this festival holds a special place. It almost looks and feels a lot like a carnival with lights everywhere. However on the day of Mahanavai there is a grand procession with the idol of Maa Durga which is made of pure gold weighing 750 kgs. Along with that there are dancers who perform on the street as well. To witness something like this is in itself a grand affair for anyone. Later there are exhibitions that the state organises for the entertainment of the people. With stalls selling clothes, delicious food, handicraft goods it creates a really enjoyable atmosphere. Undoubtedly it is one of the most popular festivals of Karnataka.

Karnataka Rajyotsava

This is basically the state festival of Karnataka with other names like Kannada Rajyotsav or Kannada Day or Kannada Formation Day. In 1956 the state of Karnataka took its formation on the basis of the Kannada speaking population. Therefore the Government of Karnataka celebrates this day to commemorate the formation of this state on the 1st of November.

It is a big day for the people of Karnataka and hence they celebrate the day with grand activities. It usually takes place in the Kanteerava Stadium in Bangalore. With events like presentations, book release in Kannada language, processions and Rajyotsav awards the people celebrate this festival. This Rajyotsava Award is the highest state honouring award of the state of Karnataka. The chief minister of the state hands out this award to people for their exemplary performance in their respective fields. It is surely one of the major festivals of Karnataka.


Makar Sankrati

This is again one of the main festivals of Karnataka. Basically this is the harvesting festival that celebrates the harvesting season. Alongside it also celebrates the movement of the sun as it moves from the southern to the northern hemisphere. Across Karnataka the people wear new clothes, clean their houses and also pray to the Sun God along with Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakhshmi. The people also indulge in various activities like putting rangolis, flying kites, singing and dancing performances etc. Furthermore people make sweets like Sankranti Yellu, Sweet Pongal, Vade, Payasa and enjoy this festival.

Vairamudi Festival

This is one of the prominent religious as well as cultural festivals of Karnataka. The other name of this festival is Vairamudi Brahmotsavam. For this festival the presiding deity is Lord Vishnu. Furthermore the festival takes place on the fourth day of the Brahmotsavam month that falls around March- April. This festival is held in the Mandya district in the town of Melukote. The deity wears a diamond crown which is the Vairamudi. According to beliefs the crown should be kept away from sunlight. During the evening there is a procession where the deity wears the crown and celebration continues till wee hours. Moreover it is a 13 day long festival but the people start the preparations a month before the festival. Almost around 400, 000 devotees attend this festival annually. It is one of the festivals of Karnataka that so many people attend.


It is one of the most famous festivals of Karnataka. Basically this is a Jain festival that takes place in Sravanabelagola in the Hassan district of Karnataka. It is one such festival that happens every 12 years. There is a ritual where the abhishek ceremony takes place of the 57 feet idol of Lord Gomateswar Bahubali. The last festival was held in the year 2018.

Kambala Festival

Kambala Festival

This is one of the popular festivals of Karnataka. Basically this one is a traditional buffalo race that takes place in the Udupi and Dakshina Kannada districts. Majorly the farming communities arrange this festival. Origin of this festival goes back 1000 years ago. The main purpose of this festival is to appease the gods for a good harvest season.

Gowri Festival

Celebrated just one day before Ganesh Chaturthi, this is one of the most popular festivals of Karnataka. As the name suggests this festival gives tribute to Mata Gowri the mother of Lord Ganesha. For this festival the women of the house take a bath and dress up in new clothes. Then they do the Sthapana of Jalgauri that is the statue of Gowri. With utter cleanliness then the women conduct the puja. It is an auspicious day for the women who are married. The family of the married woman sends her Gauri Habadda which is a gift for her.

Wrapping Up!

Majorly the important festivals of Karnataka are the cultural and religious festivals here. The people living in the state give a lot of importance to their culture and love celebrating these festivals with a lot of love. Moreover these major festivals of Karnataka are traditionally and culturally significant as well. For any person who wants to know more about the culture of the state, more can surely attend any of the traditional festivals of Karnataka. I am sure you will be able to gain a lot of insight about the state. So let me know if this particular article is helpful for you.

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