Charismatic Festivals in Himachal Pradesh

Fairs & Festivals

Festivals in Himachal Pradesh

Surrounded by provinces and guarded by the great Himalayas, Himachal Pradesh has remained relatively untouched and uninfluenced by the outside forces when it comes to its religious practices and traditional customs. Festivals in Himachal Pradesh, a multicultural and multi-religious state, provide sufficient spaces for each sect to bloom and prosper. Along with the Hindu community, Himachal Pradesh is home to hundreds of Buddhists, given its border with Tibet and many nomadic groups. With such linguistic and cultural diversity, many festivals of Himachal Pradesh are specific to this terrain and its people.

Here is the list of 5 Charismatic Festivals in Himachal Pradesh

1. Kullu Dussehra

Kullu Dussehra

Kullu Dussehra is one of the most significant festivals in Himachal Pradesh celebrated. In Himachal Pradesh, a grand fair is organised every year in the month of October in the Dhalpur Maidan in the Kullu valley. Accorded as an international fair, this mega festival has been attracting thousands of tourists every year. Around the seventeenth century, the then reigning king Raja Jagat Singh sought penance for his greedy acts by consecrating  Raghunath or Lord Rama on his throne. This grand celebration has been a ritual ever since. The fair commences on Vijaya Dashmi and continues for the next seven days. The grandeur of the festivity is marked by the deity being carried by a massive crowd of devotees. The Nati dance, traditional to the valley, is performed with folk music as the Kullu Brahmins perform rituals and traditional bites are served.

2. Losar

Losar

Losar, a religious festival of Himachal Pradesh to celebrate the uniqueness of Tibetan ethnicity in Himachal Pradesh. the new year according to the Tibetan calendar. The festival is celebrated over a span of fifteen days but its true grandeur is seen from February 24 to February 26. Losar has its roots in Tibetan Buddhism when the lamas decided upon a date to celebrate an agrarian event. Historically, Losar marked the commencement of blossoming of apricot trees. Over the years, it emerged as the day marking the new year. The valley of Dharamshala echoes with the pulsating folk music accompanied by rhythmic thumps of Chham, the folk dance. People make special cakes (Kapse) and alcoholic beverages (Chang). Lamas light butter lamps signifying Buddha’s enlightenment.

3. Halda

Halda

Celebrated on the auspicious occasion of Magha Purnima, Halda, One of the beautiful festivals in Himachal Pradesh closely resembles Diwali, the festival of lights. It is a 2-day grand carnival celebrated in the secluded region of Lahaul valley. Halda festival has its roots in the Lamaistic traditions of the valley. It is dedicated to Shiskar Apa, the Goddess of wealth. A massive bonfire symbolizes the solidarity of the group, adding visual charm to the festivity. This most-awaited festival of Himachal Pradesh is all about family and community gatherings, exotic traditional beverages and regional delicacies. The valleys of Lahaul and Keyong rejoice in exuberance with the two perennial rivers nourishing life in them. Halda is a celebration this life. Special offerings are made to the local deities and several rituals are practiced in their reverence.

4. Sazo Festival

Sazo Festival

Bringing religious trevor and spiritual ecstasy to the whole valley of Kinnaur is the ancient Sazo festival. Being one of the beautiful festivals of Himachal Pradesh, Sazo rooted in the strong belief that during this time, the deities ascend back to heaven for some time. Their departure is considered a huge event. The locals in the valley follow strict rituals regarding the celebration. They take baths in the hot springs or in the Satluj river, aiming at cleansing their souls and bodies of every sin. Contrary to rituals in other regions of the country, people of Kinnaur valley worship their Gods and Goddesses thrice that day. According to the belief, the deities depart towards heaven. The celebration ends with traditional music and dance performances.

5. Doongri Fair

Doongri Fair

This festival has its root in the epic of Mahabharata. The day is marked as the birthday of Hadimba, Bheem’s wife thus is also known as Hadimba Devi’s fair. The locals gather at a spot and pay tribute to Hadimba who is so the local deity. A vast fair is organised every year in respect of their beloved deity, Hidimba Devi. This extravagant fair is organised on Basant Panchami, the day that marks the arrival of the spring season. The spirit of festivity is heightened with traditional dance performances on pulsating folk music by the people dressed in colourful traditional costumes. The main attraction of this fair is the numbers of awe-inspiring parades and processions locals of different nearby villages carry out as they roll the chariot of their Devi forward. All these chariots and processions gather at Hadimba Temple situated in the sacred forests of Dhungri in Kullu. Some rituals are performed at the temple by the priest and hundreds of devotees bow down to their Devi asking her to bless them. Doongri festival is a splendid opportunity to experience the rich culture and traditions of the valley.

Himachal Pradesh has carefully preserved its multicultural heritage in its numerous fairs and festivals. The spirit of festivity is so contagious in the valley. The intricate fabric of communal harmony that has been woven over the centuries is still intact. This one true quintessential amalgamation of cultures is so unique to this terrain.

This post was published by Aishvarya Varma

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