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Festivals of India (Temples/Churches/Mosques)

ONAM:

Every year, during the Onam Festival in August or September, a curious activity takes place at Swaraj Round in Thrissur. The tigers come to town! Pulikkali, a traditional Kerala art form said to have originated in the late 18th century, sees people dress up as tigers. The name Pulikkali means "tiger play" or "tiger dance", and that's exactly what these man-tigers do. The best performer is selected out of the hundreds of participants.

The dressing up process is long and tiring, and requires a great deal of patience. Bodies must be shaved before the first coat of paint is applied. It's left to dry for a couple of hours, and then the second coat of paint is put on. Dancing like a tiger while dressed up in such a manner is no easy feat either!

When: Dates for future years: September 1, 2012. August 21, 2013. September 8, 2014. August 30, 2015.

Kila Raipur Rural Olympics

The Kila Raipur Rural Olympics is a rural sports festival that's grown over six decades, to become a sports bonanza that attracts competitors from around the globe. Held for three days during February each year, over 4,000 sports men and woman participate in the festival. They're watched by around 1 million spectators.

Bullocks, camels, dogs, mules, and other animals competing in highly professional events must be seen to be believed! The adrenaline-pumping bullock cart race is the main attraction, with sponsored prize money worth a couple of lakh rupees (200,000 rupees). Other events that are big on entertainment include a dog race, horse dance, camel race, tractor race, and a tug-of-war. But the chance to see some really off-beat activities is the hugest drawcard -- such as people lifting bicycles with their teeth, pulling cars with their teeth or ears, or riding a bicycle ringed with a burning tyre, and other daredevil stunts. The Rural Olympics really is a test of endurance, skill and strength!

The fun doesn't end at the end of the day. Each evening there's a cultural feast featuring top notch folk singers, Bhangra, and Gidha players. The program continues well past midnight on all three day of the festival.

How to Get There: The Kila Raipur Rural Olympics is held 15 kilometers south of Ludhiana, in the Punjab. Kila Raipur is well connected by rail, road, and even air. Ludhiana is three hours train journey, or 40 minutes flight, from Delhi.