The queen of hills, Mussoorie is a beloved and scenic little hill town settled in the Garhwali hills of Devbhoomi Uttarakhand. This charming and mystical Himalayan village is more than that. People have been residing on the gentle hills and forests of Mussoorie since the ancient ages and people still continue to reach this place like bees to flowers. Apart from the panoramic vistas and deodar tree cover, Mussoorie has a lot more history and events that have helped shape its present. The fairs and festivals of Mussoorie have a vibe of their own. This means that each festival in Mussoorie is celebrated with immense vibrancy, fun, enthusiasm, and brotherhood. After reading up about the various fairs and festivals of Mussoorie you will realize that the Pahadis really know how to celebrate a positive and fun event!
Here are some of the most popular festivals in Mussoorie
- Phool Dei
- Autumn Festival
- Summer Festival
This festival takes place during the first day of the Chaitra months which means around mid-march. Along with being one of the best times to visit this month is an auspicious time too! Phooldei is one of the most important and highly celebrated festivals in Devbhoomi and is in a way, a celebration of springtime. During this festival young girls go from one home to another carrying plates full of rice, Jaggery, coconut, green leaves, and flowers while singing some folk songs and offering good wishes and blessings to shower to each house they go to. In some houses, they also sprinkle flowers in front of the door along with some rice. Special cuisines are made and everyone celebrates by singing and dancing to their folk tunes.
Bikhauti is a festival that takes place during the first week of April when most of north India is getting ready for celebrating Navratri or the 9 auspicious days of fasting. This festival technically coincides with the first day of Navratri i.e. during the month of Chaitra in a way. Mainly because on this day women sow seeds of 7 different types. The germination of these seeds is said to predict the quality of the harvest during the coming season. On the 10th day of the harvest when the seeds germinate and grow some beginner saplings, people offer their prayers to it and tuck the leaf behind their ears. Bikhauti is the gifts that are sent out by brothers to their Sisters.
Harela has to be one of the most widely, enthusiastically celebrated and music-awaited festivals in the entire state of Uttarakhand. The term Harela literally translates into ‘the day of the green’, and for the agricultural-based communities on the hills, it is also a very important mark of the future harvest that they would expect. Marking the beginning of the sowing cycle for the crops, multiple fairs are organized all over the hills. Recently it has grabbed a lot of attention for being one of the most environment-friendly festivals that should be preserved and practiced elsewhere as well.
Also referred to as ‘Ghee Sankranti’ in Uttarakhand, this festival is celebrated on the first day of Bhado or the commencement of the rainy season in August. This has to be another one of the most important festivals of this region which is celebrated with great joy and love. This festival, whose roots can be dated back to the ancient ages, is celebrated during the time when crops are growing very well and all the milk-giving animals are also healthy. Not just that, this is also the time when trees are laden with fruits and flowers are in full bloom throughout the hills. The main point of this festival is to offer their gratitude and thank the lord for the goodwill god is showering on them.
Each year during the 2nd week of January the streets and villages surrounding Mussoorie are sprung to life, after a long and maybe even grueling winter season. The ground close to the temple of Bagnath in Bageshwar near the river Saryu is the center for the celebration of this iconic, ancient festival. The fair then goes on for weeks with devotees puring in and out of the temple in their traditional clothes, singing in the merriment of the lord, and dancing their time away. People also indulge in some trading activities by exchanging some of their goods with each other.
Autumn festival is an attempt by the government of Mussoorie to attract tourists during the colder months of the year when the tourist footfall decreases dramatically. The municipal board organizes this 10-day extravaganza marking the onset of the autumn season which is filled with several performances, sports competitions, shows, local handicrafts on display, musical and dance performances. There are many other engaging activities for the tourists to indulge in as well like roller skating, attending theatre plays, and watching the magical fireworks. The festival sees a list of VIPs and dignitaries attending it.
Summer is one of the peak tourist seasons in Mussoorie and just like the autumn festival this summer festival is also an undertaking of the government of Mussoorie but with a different purpose. The summer festival is hosted in order to enhance and kind of educate the visitors and tourists about the incredible culture Devbhoomi has to offer. This is highlighted through seminars and debates held on various topics and cultural programs like dance and musical performances. All these events are organized by the Nagar Palika Parishad of Mussoorie and big names of the society are called up to judge these various events. You can easily attend this fair and festival during your summer vacation tour to Mussoorie and learn more about the bountiful culture that this place has to offer.
If it is possible for you then make plans to visit Mussoorie around the time of some festival or the other as everything then turns into a magical and spiritually active destination. Other than that you will also get to learn about how the Paharis celebrate some of these crucial festivals and what they truly mean to them.