Himachal – the home of snowy mountains, rolling green hills and hospitable locals, this northern most state which is bounded by the Himalayas attracts innumerable domestic and international tourists all year long. It is home to some of the most spectacular views, dense forest cover, and lush rolling green hills and of course the peaceful sound of the gushing river. It is truly a place that feels like heaven on earth.
However, there is more to this charming place than the obvious natural Himalayan beauty and the clean pollution-free air. The state is well known for the grand and colorfully vibrant festivals and traditional fairs that take place all year long. It would be a good idea for you to plan your holidays and getaways to Himachal during these festive occasions. The festivals here are extremely unique and one of a kind whose experience can only be experienced firsthand. Here is a list of traditional fairs and festivals around which you can plan your trip or just know about them and our varied Indian culture that goes beyond centuries and ages:
As the name suggests this grand celebration takes place in the Kullu valley of Himachal Pradesh and is one of the mega Dussehra festivals that takes place especially during the month of October. It is mainly attended by a crowd of around 4-5 lac from across the globe. The historical account of this vibrant festival can easily be traced back to the 17th century when the region was ruled over by King Jagat Singh and as a religious individual, he had installed an idol of Lord Raghunath after which he was established as the ruling deity of the entire valley. Traditionally this festival takes place on the 10th day of Vijayadashami or the rising moon and goes on till 7 days. The celebrations are so grand that the state government of Himachal has accorded it to the status of an international festival since it attracts numerous tourists on a large scale.
Minjar Mela (fair) of Chamba
The 2nd Sunday date of august every year witnesses the scenic hill town of Chamba in Himachal spring with life, color, and unparalleled vibrancy. As the name suggests Minjar is the name given to a golden colored silk piece of cloth wrapped completely in a different red fabric cloth along with a coconut, a famous seasonal fruit of that season even a one rupee coin. The various cultural and traditional social Himachali events that Lasts for a week are commenced after a fun-filled flag hoisting ceremony. Another interesting part of this fair is the pulling of the chariot by several ropes with the help of 200 devotees. It is truly one of the most fascinating processions to be a part of. One can attend this ceremony at the Choughan area and during the last day of the fair the parade goes on from Akhand Chandi to Ravi River where several offerings are made.
Pori Festival of Lahaul
The landscape of Lahaul is extremely unique and so is the lifestyle of the locals here. The festivals here celebrated with unparalleled vigor and unmatched enthusiasm as this is the time when everyone comes together in unison, harmony, and brotherhood. This festival holds importance to the people of Hindu as well as Buddhist communities that reside majorly in the said region. This festival is a wonderful representation of what the real Indian culture stands for i.e. oneness of different cultures into one peaceful living. The main site of this celebration is the Triloknath Temple whose idol is bathed in yogurt and milk as a part of the tradition. Every year this takes place during the 3rd week of august which also includes elaborate traditional folk musical performances, dances, distribution of sweets, etc.
This magnificent centuries-old ancient festival mainly takes place in the beautiful district of Kinnaur in Himachal Pradesh. The main highlight of this grand celebration is the delicious locally prepared lip-smacking food which is followed by exotic rituals. The spiritual ambiance of this place especially during this time is immersed completely in a deep religious vibe. The locals believe during this time the deities that are worshipped go and visit the heavenly realm for a brief period of time. This festival takes place annually during the freezing cold month of January. Another unique feature of this festival is that the priests are also worshipped as they are considered to be an embodiment of the lord. They are offered various eatables like rice, vegetables, pulses, etc. The presence of Mount Kinner Kailash also holds a lot of significance since according to the locals, after the grand processions and celebrations are over the gods and goddesses make their way back to the majestic mountain.
Halda Festival of Lahaul
This has to be undoubtedly one of the most awaited festivals in the district of Lahaul which consists of fun-filled celebrations like traditional dances, the cheerful family gets together, cultural celebrations and much more. This occasion is all about cheerful coming together of people from different parts of the world as one to celebrate new years and wish for prosperity and goodness filled year ahead. The festival is dedicated entirely to the god of wealth – Shashikar Apa with the main attraction being a wonderful and elaborate bonfire which is lit up at a special spot which is chosen by the lamas and people surrounding the bonfire put in cedar twigs as a part of the ritual. This bonfire is symbolic of the solidarity which the people here share with each other and is mainly celebrated in the valleys of Keylong and Chandra Bagha Rivers.