Shimla is the land of mystics and culture. Being inhabited by a Heterogeneous combination of rich ethnicities and tribes, you can expect that the fairs and festivals here are full of life, color, and vibrancy. The entire year Shimla is home to incredible fairs or festivals. No matter which time of the year you choose to go there, some festival or the other must either be going on or upcoming. This largest city and the capital of Himachal Pradesh is home to numerous festivals and fairs which can be traced back to tribes and communities from the remotest part of the hill station. It would be a great idea to plan your holiday around the time of some fair or festival. This would not only be super memorable but it will also help you learn more about the diverse culture of India and Himachal Pradesh. During festival season, the streets are covered in traditional decorations, and locals welcome each other with love, care, and harmony. Not to mention the amazing platter of delectable food here that is prepared in the traditional manner to celebrate the festivities.
Check out these awesome festivals and fairs of Shimla to plan your trip accordingly!
Shimla Summer Festival
Shimla summer festival is as fun as it sounds. It is a wholesome and complete celebration of a bountiful harvest with festivities aimed at honouring the oncoming of the summer season. The festival is a grand celebration that takes place over a duration of 5 days. This has to be one of the best times to visit Shimla mainly because the celebrations include vibrant and energetic dance performances, folk traditional performances, an exhibition of local handicraft items, and the quirky shows that should not be missed out like fashion shows, dog walking shows, traditional food stalls, and eateries and shopping for locally made artisan ware. Everything about this festival speaks of Shimla and its age-old traditions and beliefs.
The fair is named after the village where it takes place. Centered around the Village Bharara, in Shimla, everything springs to life on the 1st of every May which is also known as 1st of Jaishtha. The fair is held to honor Lord Koteshwar who is also known as the Devta of the region. The fair is not exclusive and is open to welcome people from all backgrounds, beliefs, caste, races, and creeds. The celebration takes place with the objective of celebrating and getting blessings from god. People dress up in their traditional clothing, Jewellery and sing songs of the lord’s praise. It is a vibrant sight to see which can be experienced by not just locals but tourists as well.
Gumman or Ghuman Village is a small village in Shimla where this colorful festival takes place. A fair is a 3-day event that is dedicated to honor Lord Banshur, Lord Parashuram, and Lord Kilbaru and takes place annually during the month of November. The fair is celebrated mainly for the commanding deity or the Kul Devta Lord Bansur. The fair attracts all the devotees from neighboring villages as well who visit the village in large numbers wearing their traditional Jewellery, clothes, and other accessories. If you are an offbeat traveler who loves exploring remote parts of Himachal during off-season then this is a great time to explore Shimla in a whole new light.
Rampur Bushhr which is the old Shimla in Himachal is the center stage for this unique event. Each year from 11th to 14th November the festival witnesses a massive throng of businessmen and traders, the fair is dedicated for the upliftment and encouragement of local traders, shepherds, and merchants. It is also fair to commemorate the mutual trade treaty that was signed between Tibet and Rampur Bushahr. Adding to the beauty of the fair is the location which is on the banks of the Satluj River. The fair has been taking place for over 300 years now. Photographers, curious travelers, and shoppers can have a gala time here.
Mahasu festival draws its name from the village where this festival takes place which is the village of Mahasu and is located about 6 kms from Shimla-Kotkhai road. Traditionally the festival is always scheduled for the 3rd Tuesday of May and goes one for a duration of 2 days. The Durga Devi Temple which is the main temple of attraction for the festival springs to life with devotees and songs that they sing in praise of the goddess. Archery sport is the main attraction that takes place here along with folk traditional dancing and singing.
Pathar Ke Khel Halog
Just like many other festivals on the hills, this festival takes place in the village Halog of tehsil Shimla which is the erstwhile Dhami state. If you thought that the locals of Shimla stop their Diwali celebration after the day then you are wrong. Pathar Ke Khel takes place on the 2nd day of Diwali marking the auspicious month of Kartik or November. It is said that during ancient times devotees used to offer human sacrifices in order to please the goddess, Kali. Thankfully this activity doesn’t take place here anymore; instead, the spot is where the fair is set up.
The site of this iconic fair is just 2 kms away from Mashobra in Sipur village which is named after and dedicated to the Sipi deity. The fair is organized annually in the blissful summer month of May when the village springs to life with color and accentuated greenery. During the festival, the entire region turns into a mystical charm but as per traditions, nobody is allowed to stay the night on the fair site due to its high spiritual and religious value. It is a treat for all the five senses, from watching fun activities like juggling performances, acrobatic performances, and magicians! A must-visit for all spiritually inclined people or anyone washing to learn more about the culture and traditions of Shimla.
Festivals and fairs are a way of reflecting the cultures and traditions of the locals living in the lap of the Shimla Himalayas. Skip the on season tourist chaos and make your holiday more memorable and amazing by exploring Shimla during some festival or a funfair event.