Festivals are an integral part of Alomar’s rich heritage and culture. The locals of Almora celebrate every big and small festival with great enthusiasm and zeal. These fairs and festivals are all about expressing their deep-seated religious sentiments and preserving their century’s old heritage. Having stayed on the lap of the Himalayan ranges and surrounded by nature on all sides, the folks of this pretty little town worship and offer their prayers to these elements with their whole heart and faith. The festivals in Almora are not only about worshipping gods and goddesses but are about praying for a good harvest, maintaining healthy livestock, and welcoming pleasant weather changes.
Looking to learn more about the festivals in Almora and plan your trip accordingly then here are some of the most popularly celebrated festivals in Almora:
Traditional Almora Festivals
Nanda Devi Festival
Nanda Devi festival has to be one of the most enthusiastically celebrated festivals of not just Kumaon but all of Uttarakhand. Although celebrated in many different pockets of Devbhoomi, Almora is the main place where the fair is held. The tradition of this fair started during the rule of the Chand dynasty dating back to the 17th century as a way of paying homage to their home goddess Maa Nanda Devi. The fair takes place in full excitement and enthusiasm for 5 to 7 days and takes place during the auspicious time of Nandashtami. Nanda Devi is also the goddess of Kumaon and a very highly revered religious figure in these parts of Uttarakhand. The Nanda Devi Temple complex is elaborately decorated during the time of this fair and the air is filled with local songs, dance performances, small shop installments selling handmade products.
Dussehra is one of the most widely celebrated festivals in all of North India. It is also celebrated in south, west, and northeast India but is recognized in different names and followed by different rituals. The highlight of this festival is the burning of the Raavan effigies signifying the victory of good over evil. In Almora, Dussehra is celebrated in a very unique and in its own manner. During this time the entire town is flooded with tourists, visitors, and devotees entering Almora from near and far. Usually, the festival is set to take place during the cool fall months of October or November and every ward or Mohalla has massive and incredibly creatively designed versions of their own effigies of the devil or Ravan. On the day of the festival, all these effigies are set ablaze together which creates a very dramatic effect on the entire atmosphere of the place.
Organized by the government of Almora, the Almora festival takes place to highlight the rich legacy, heritage, and culture of the people of Almora that dates back centuries ago. These 4 days of the grand event are majorly focused around showcasing the rich cultural heritage of Almora and Uttarakhand to the tourists in an attempt to make them understand the rich diversity that this place has to offer. Other than agriculture and handicrafts, one of the main occupations of the people in Almora is dependent on the travel industry as well, and this fair is held to attract tourists and present to them what this underrated hill town, on the lap of the Himalayas, has to offer.
Jageshwar Monsoon Festival
One thing is for sure that the people of Uttarakhand know how to celebrate a festival with utmost joy, respect, and enthusiasm. The name of the festival makes it clear that it takes place during the monsoon months but not for a day or two or even a couple of weeks, but it takes place for a whole month. This festival is one of the most prominent festivals celebrating the Hindu deity Lord Shiva and is visited by thousands of tourists and devotees who come to this temple to pay their respect to the incredibly ancient idol of the lord. Jageshwar is situated in very close proximity to Almora and its essence spreads further than Almora and into the rest of the state.
Holi is an extremely popular festival in India that is famous not just in India but even the westerners are familiar with this festival of colors. The entire nation celebrates Holi with unmatched excitement and great vigour. However, Holi in Almora, which is also known as Kumaoni Holi, is not only important because it signifies the victory of good over evil but it also marks the end of the long winter season and welcoming of the new sowing season. This is super important as the livelihood of the people on the hills is entirely dependent on agriculture. Unlike regular Holi, Kumaoni Holi in Almora starts from a month prior. There are numerous different types of Holi celebrated throughout the month like Baithki Holi, Khari Holi, and Mahila Holi whose celebration roughly starts from Basant Panchami.
Nestled amidst the pretty hills surrounding Kumaon Uttarakhand is the village of temples called Dwarahat. Situated at a distance of just about less than 2 hours from Almora Dwarahat represents the gateway to heaven. Festivities are a way of life for the locals of Uttarakhand and are visited by devotees from all over the world. Locally known as Bikhauti Fair, and is held on the Vishuvat Sankranti day commemorating an ancient victory according to the local folklore. Home to several temples dedicated to numerous gods and goddesses, this festival is also most awaited due to its colorful and fun aspect which sets it apart from the rest of the festivals.
Other than the mentioned festivals of Almora, festivals like Diwali, Dronagiri Festival, and Nanda Devi Festival are all celebrated with great excitement and fun. The locals look forward to celebrating these festivals and it is truly a sight to behold. If you are planning a holiday to Almora then it would be a memorable experience for you to go there during the time of some festival or the other.