Nestled amidst the picturesque Himalayan Mountains, Dehradun’s mesmerizing landscapes come alive when people celebrate its cultural richness. There are many festivals celebrated in Dehradun throughout the year. We see a blend of spirituality, traditional rituals, and modern exuberance in the festivals of Dehradun. If you want to know in detail about the culture and heritage of Dehradun, the fairs and festivals of Dehradun invite travellers to see the city’s cultural richness.
Let’s know in detail about the fairs and festivals of Dehradun:-
The annual Jhanda Fair is organized on the fifth day of Holi to honour Guru Ram Rai Darbar in Dehradun City. Apart from the local population, large devotees throng from Punjab Haryana Delhi U.P., Himachal Pradesh, etc. to take part in Jhanda Fair. The fair attracts thousands of tourists from Northern India. Before the day of Ekadashi, all the devotees or Sangat are welcomed by Shri Mahanta of Guru Ram Rai Durbar. They go to the Yamuna river banks at Raianwala in Haryana, 45 km from Dehradun to invite and welcome Sangat for joining them. The flag-hosting ceremony requires a 27-meter Sal tree from Dundhali forest. Then it’s bathed in milk, curd, and the holy water of Ma Ganga. Those who want their wishes to be granted tie scarves on the flag pole.
Lord Shiva, the presiding deity of the temple of Tapkeshwar is situated above the eastern river bank Tons. In Hindu mythology, this cave temple symbolizes the history of penance and divine boon. Crowds of pilgrims visit this annual Tapkeshwar Mela set during the Shivratri festival and offer prayers for divine blessings.
According to the Skanda Purana, it is said that Guru Dronacharya, who lived here with his wife, brothers, daughters, and sons-in-law was the first inhabitant of this place during the period of Dwapara Yuga. The cave has invariably been known as Drona Gufa since then. The Tapkeshwar fair is organized on the day of Shivratri. Thousands of devotees come on that day to seek the divine wisdom of the almighty.
Lakshman Siddha Fair
Lakshman Siddha holds a place among the four Siddhpeeths around Dehradun as it is one of India’s most prominent religious sites. Although it is just a primary gathering that takes place every Sunday. However, the last Sunday in April has some special significance. On this day numerous people pay their respects to Samadhi. The ashram is 10 km away on Dehradun road and can be easily reached by taxi or tempo. The Laxman Siddh Temple is said to have been built at the same location where Lord Laxman, younger brother of Lord Ram did penance seeking redemption for slaying the demon king Ravana. It was created to bless people who also paid their visit in the hope of getting rid of their sins.
Another tradition links this temple with Saint Laxman Siddh who in the legend is said to have gotten enlightenment or Siddhi. The construction of a temple serves as a celebration of his achievements.
Uttarakhand is a blessed realm of Mother Nature. There are numerous nature festivals celebrated in and around Uttarakhand, and Bissu Fair is one of them. This fair has been celebrated to cherish the good harvest season. According to the Hindu calendar, the Mela begins in the Shukla Paksha in the months of Chaitra. One of the best aspects surrounding the Fair is that people from neighboring villages and towns like Tehri, Uttarkashi, and Saharanpur unite to shower their love and affection on Santoora Devi, an incarnation of Goddess Durga.
The Mela is celebrated with great pomp and show by dancing and singing to the delightful folk music in which men and women dress up in the traditional outfits of the region.
Mahasu Devta Fair
Mahasu Devta fair is celebrated at Hanol on the Chakrata Tyuni road. It is celebrated every year in August when Mahasu Devta is released in possession. Popular in folk speculation, the Mahasu Devta festival at Hanol is a mighty showcase of Jaunsari tribe culture and religiousness. It is a local fair of the Jaunsari tribe but it is also celebrated by the people of other communities from nearby villages. Built-in the 9th century, the temple is one of the most ancient temples registered in the Archaeological Survey of India. According to a legend, there were four brothers named Pavasik Mahasu, Botha Mahasu, Vasik Mahasu, and Chalda Mahasu who are collectively known as Mahasu Devta. With ancient rituals and religious chants, the followers gather from all over India to worship Mahasu Devta for blessings and divine wisdom.
Shaheed Veer Kesari Chandra Fair
Shaheed Veer Chandra Fair is organized at Ramtal, situated in Nagau Gram Sabha of Chakrata tehsil Dehradun district. Ramtal is a water storage of 30 mts long and wide, located on top of the hill. Every April, On the occasion of Navratri Shaheed Veer Chandra Fair, is celebrated to honour the brave warrior. A shrine and a community hall are also situated in this place honoring the freedom fighter Veer Kesari Chandra.
With the Viraasat Festival in Dehradun, India celebrates its rich cultural lineage along with traditional arts and folk practices. Orchestrated by the REACH, this festival has an array of art forms such as music and dance to sculpture and pottery, etc., ranging from crafts to food. By creating engaging experiences and supporting educational programs, the craving seeks to perpetuate India’s pristine values of nativeness in cultural heritage and spirituality for posterity.
There is a festival in India known as Holi which is a Festival of Colours, fun, and happiness. The festival is celebrated on the last full moon day of the lunar month of Falguna (February to March). It has a deep cultural meaning that reflects the beginning of spring, evicting goodness from evil and loving the feeling of unity in life. This Hindu spring festival of Holi is celebrated with great joy in areas such as Dehradun and Uttarakhand. People gather with their family and friends to celebrate this occasion with colours (Gulal) and water balloons. In some places of India like Mathura, Vrindavan, etc., Holi is celebrated with flowers and Gulal, which honours Lord Radha Krishna’s divine love. Holi is a festival of inclusivity and joy. People celebrate Holi to celebrate eternal love.
Igas Diwali is held with greater enthusiasm in Dehradun. In Uttarakhand, Diwali is stated as Igas Diwali, Budhi Diwali, or Igas Bagwal. On the auspicious occasion of Igas Diwali, people sing folk songs and participate in dances like Chanchhari and Jhummelon.
The celebration of Diwali, as Igas, is associated with two great legends. As per one story, Diwali’s origin lies in the Ramayana where Lord Ram returns to Ayodhya and people celebrate the arrival with lighting diyas. Today it is known as the festival of lights Diwali. People in the hills didn’t get the news of Ram’s arrival instantly. The news of his arrival reached the hills after 11 days. This belief suggests that the news of this event gained them 11 days. Hence, it is called Diwali Igas. Another story, however, speaks of the victory of Veer Bhad Madho Singh Bhandari from Garhwal in Tibet coincidentally 11 days after Diwali, it leads to another festival known as Igas.
Through the Igas Diwali, communities worship some of its deities who celebrate Bhailo, an old game where participants put small bundles of wood for fires. In connection with these activities are folk dances and musical performances that bring about fun-filled joy and happiness.