You can't be blamed for spending the last few weeks plotting your escape from Delhi: the heat itself is plenty of cause for desertion. Hit the road, we say, and take along our list of 2012's best festivals - in Uttarkhand and Orissa, Mount Abu and Nagaland - as your compass. Need more options? Check out last year’s list list here.
New Delhi- May 5: Promoted as the ‘biggest indoor festival in India’ Summer Blaze Metal Festival is headlined by Nile and features supporting performances by Demonic Resurrection and Kryptos among others. There will be grime, sweat and a lot of tears. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!
Naukuchiatal, Uttarkhand- 3rd week of May: Hills + lake + music + ideas = Escape Festival of Art and Music. A perfect equation! Official dates are not out yet, but signup on the website’s homepage for updates.
Coorg, Karnataka- May 21-22: Converge at The Tamara Confluence, a two-day art, music and literature festival held at the gorgeous Tamara Coorg. Topics addressed will include sustainability and eco-living, as well as musical performances by powerhouse Swarathma and The Kabir Project.
Manali, Himachal Pradesh- June, 2012: On every weekend (Fridays and Saturdays) in the month of June, the Manali Summer Sundowners will feature motorcycling tours, the Soul Film Festival, art and photography shows and The Manali Music Festival playing a mix of jazz, fusion, sufi and rock. Perfect for tripping!
Bangalore, Karnataka- June 16: Metalheads gear up for another heavy day: Headlined by Iced Earth and Kreator, Bangalore Open Air will also feature performances by Albatross and will host the national finals of the Wacken Metal Battle. Break some noise!
Leh, Ladakh- September 1-15: Ever seen a traditional Ladakhi beer dance? Here’s your chance. One of the most energetic festivals in India, the Ladakh festival is a whirl of processions and parades by the many Ladakhi tribes as well as local folk music, bazaars and plenty of hot Thukpa.
Jodhpur, Rajasthan- October 26-30: For five days, the Rajasthan International Folk Festival (Jodhpur RIFF) will showcase Rajasthani folk maestros jamming with Indian and international jazz/blues artists at the gorgeous Mehrangarh Fort under the brightest full moon of the year. Lunar-cy!
Puri, Orissa- November 23-27: Successfully running for 14 years, the International Puri Beach Festival treats tourists and locals to contemporary dance and folk music along the blue waters of the Bay of Bengal. Pay special attention to the super talented sand sculptors: king of the sandcastles, they are.
Kohima, Nagaland- December 1-7: Named after the endangered bird, the Hornbill Festival is held at the hilly Naga Heritage Village in Kisama and boasts of the longest music festival in the country, the Hornbill National Rock Contest. To celebrate their, well, regional fiery pride, the festival also boasts teary Naga chili and pork-fat eating contests. Water, anyone?
Mount Abu, Rajasthan- December 29-31: Move over Goa, we found a better New Year’s Eve destination. Said to be the oasis of Rajasthan, the town of Mount Abu lights up for three days of folk, fireworks and floating lamps by the Nakki Lake Chowk. Wonder-wall!
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