What are the best festivals in Mumbai?

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Rakhee Ghelani

Mumbaikars love to celebrate a festival and that is reflected in the sheer number of festivals that you can participate in.  

Many festivals are religious and are celebrated across other parts of the country as well, such as Holi and Diwali. By far the religious festival that Mumbai is most famous for is Ganesh Chaturthi. This celebrates the birthday of Lord Ganesha, the son of Shiva and Parvati. It is a lunar festival, which will be held on September 9 in 2013. 

The celebrations for Ganesh Chaturthi are well worth planning a visit around. They commence with elborate statues of Lord Ganesha being constructed and decorated by artisans over several months. These statues are then paraded through the streets as people dance and sing alongside them. The parade leads the statues to the ocean where they are then immersed.  Depending upon where you go to see the parade and immersion, you may find yourself within a crowd of over 10,000 people.  It is estimated that over 15,000 statues are immersed into the Arabian Sea in Mumbai each year. 

For arts enthuisiasts there are many different festivals that you can attend in Mumbai including the Mumbai Film Festival (October) which showcases a range of films from India and around the world. The Kala Ghoda Arts Festival is held in February each year and displays the diversity of the arts community in Mumbai, with features including Visual Art, Music, Theatre, Dance and Literature. Other arts festivals include the Prithvi Theatre Festival (November) and the Times Literary Carnival (December). 

For gourmands there are also several food festivals in Mumbai.  The Taste of Mumbai (March/April) is part of the international "Taste" series offering visitors the opportunity to taste specialities from some of Mumbai's best restaurants. For seafood lovers, the Versova Seafood Festival (January) is worth attending, showcasing the finest catches from local fisherman. If you enjoy fine dining, then Restaurant week is for you. This bi-annual event (April and October) offers hand-picked tasting menus at some of the city's finest restaurants.

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