Life is a celebration and Indians are good at celebrating life by unwinding and involving themselves in fun-filled, colourful festivals with their loved ones. Numerous festivals are celebrated around the year across India, which are the perfect display of Indian culture and customs. Taking part in the celebrations can transport you to a state of exuberance and enthusiasm.
Talking about Himachal Pradesh is vibrant and rich in traditions and has a lot of colourful and lively festivals and fairs throughout the year. Himachal is thronged by visitors not only for its picturesque valleys and snow-clad mountains but also the festivals and fairs that beckon hordes of visitors every year. In fact, the best time to visit this mountainous state is during these festive occasions. Witness an intriguing display of rich and colourful culture, traditions – soak yourself into the spirit of Himachal. Here is our pick of the best of its fairs and festivals you’ve got to attend.
1. Sazo Festival
Celebrated in the month of January, it is on the day of Sazo that locals bid adieu to village deities. On this day the doors of temples remain closed. It is believed that on this auspicious day the deities retire to heaven for a short nap, and shower their blessings to the mortals on earth. In anticipation of the blessings the religious gather together to clean the floors of temples. The villagers dwell in a state of ecstasy and give a warm welcome to the deeply revered priests who in turn gift them with food grains and gifts, a ritual referred to as Deacher and Deokhel.
2. Himachal Winter Carnival
If you are a newly-married couple and have already booked a Manali Honeymoon Package, make sure you do not give the Himachal Winter Carnival a miss. It’s best to opt for dates of travel which coincide with the carnival. To promote the Himachali way of life, a winter carnival is organized every year in Manali. The date for the Winter Carnival in 2019 has been fixed as 2nd Jan to 6th Jan. The Chief attractions of the carnival are the food festival, the craft bazaar, a competition among local bands, the “Winter Queen” contest, street plays and folk dance by locals. The best time to visit Manali is during the Winter Carnival, and you never know you may just be crowned the “winter queen” if you participate in the contest. What else can give you greater happiness during a tour to the mountains?
3. Doongri Fair
The Doongri fair is held at Kullu in the month of May. A colourful affair, it marks the advent of spring and attracts both tourists and locals. The sight of rows of flowers in bloom and kites in the clear blue skies add a touch of magic to the already picturesque view. Don’t miss the innocent laughter of the Himachali boys as they compete in taking their own kite higher and fly against the wind.
4. Losar Festival
Losar is celebrated in the month of December to welcome the New Year. On the morning of Losar family members of Pahari, families consume a combination of parched barley and buttermilk. They use garlands made of Chilgoza flowers to adorn themselves and pay friendly visits to their neighbours. Blessings are sought from the elderly who bestow “losuma shalkid” on everyone. A couple of days prior to Losar, Khepa is observed when the locals fetch branches of thorny bushes and place them carefully at the doorstep. The belief is that it will ward off evil spirits and keep them safe. The next day the twigs are thrown away and festivities begin. The day of Losar ends with a grand feast. Get the true feel of life in hills when you visit Himachal during Losar. Keep the famous festivals in mind when you check the best time to visit Shimla.
5. Phulaich Festival
This festival is celebrated in the month of September in Kinnaur, a district of Himachal known for its pristine beauty, to commemorate the deceased. A wide variety of flowers adorn the valley during this festival. It is a practice for the villagers to carry weapons which they later use to depict war scenes at the Phulaich fair. Legend has it that ten Rajputs from a warrior family once went uphill and were mesmerised with the assortment of flowers. They did not forget to carry some back for the village dwellers who for the very first time experienced giddiness and excitement with the fragrance of the flowers. If you have plans on booking the popular Shimla package, ensure that you have time to visit Kinnaur, if your visit coincides with Phulaich. The distance between Shimla and Kinnaur is around 260 kilometres.
If the above list sparks interest and the mountains beckon you, it is time you plan your next visit to Himachal Pradesh without a second thought. You can rest assured that these festivals will offer an experience of a lifetime.