Himachal Pradesh is a state in India where people of different communities and tribes live together in complete harmony and stay in sync with the bounty nature. Along with imposing landscapes, there are many colorful festivals of Himachal Pradesh that beckons travelers from all over the world.
With a vast range of festivals, we have handpicked 10 vibrant fairs and festivals of Himachal Pradesh that give a kaleidoscopic view of diversity and unique traditions that are deeply rooted in their culture. Take a dekko!
Right from religious festivals to significant fairs of Himachal Pradesh, there’s an array of diversity reflected in celebration and merry-making which is worth witnessing. Check out!
Kullu Dussehra is the most famous festival of Himachal Pradesh which is celebrated in the month of October with great enthusiasm and fervor. Celebrated in Dhaulpur Maidan, the entire Kullu valley reverberates in the festive spirit for an entire week as the festivity of Dussehra spans here up to 7 long days.
The major attractions of Kullu Dussehra are the colorful procession of Lord Raghunath and Kala Kendra festival wherein several activities and cultural events are organized to make the evenings more entertaining and engaging for thousands of people from all over the country who mark their presence in the festivity.
Losar is one of the major Tibetan festivals of Himachal Pradesh that heralds the new year and harvesting crops. It takes place between late January and February as per the local Tibetan calendar. In the pre-Buddhist era, it was known as the Agrarian Festival and was celebrated when the apricots blossomed on the trees. According to religious beliefs, the Losar festival brings fortune and wards off evil from our lives.
Losar is celebrated with great enthusiasm in all the Tibetan towns of Himachal Pradesh whilst Dorje Drak Monastery in Shimla, Tsuglagkhang Temple in Mcleodganj, and Shashur Monastery in Spiti Valley are some of the places where the grandeur of this religious Buddhist festival is totally worth witnessing.
Celebrated every year in the interiors of Shimla, Mandi, Kullu, and Solan in mid-September, the festival of Sair in Himachal marks the return of the Gods from heaven and the end of the harvest season. Sair is also one of the unique festivals of Himachal Pradesh as it is akin to the world-famous Bull Fight of Athens in Sparta. The spectacular fight ensued between the Beasts and various cultural performances are the major crowd pullers of the Sair festival.
Also, during this festival of Himachal Pradesh, a huge fair is organized and many stalls are put up to promote handicrafts by local artisans and culinary delights of the state. It is one of the most intriguing festivals celebrated in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh.
Doongri is a famous fair of Himachal Pradesh that is organized every year in the Kullu region on the auspicious day of Basant Panchami. This day is observed as the birth anniversary of Hadimba Devi who is considered as the presiding deity of the region. Since the Doongri festival is the harbinger of the spring season, it is celebrated in the middle of May.
Massive processions are carried out and the devotees from nearby regions gather in the full flare to roll the chariot. The devotees also visit Hadimba Temple which lies deep inside the Dhungri forest to pay homage. On this special occasion, people of this region dress up in traditional attires and perform folk dances and songs which adds more charm to this beautiful festival of Himachal Pradesh.
Halda is the most-awaited festival of Himachal Pradesh that is celebrated by the Lamas on the auspicious occasion of Magha Purnima. The festival of Halda falls in the month of February but has a close resemblance to Diwali. Like Diwali, the Halda festival is also dedicated to the Goddess of wealth and prosperity- Shiskar Apa.
Having its roots in the Lamaistic traditions, Halda is one of the significant festivals celebrated with pomp and show especially in Buddhist regions of Lahaul and Keylong. During the grand carnival that lasts for 2 days, special rituals are performed to please local deities. Communities of the region gather around the massive bonfire and make traditional beverages and regional delicacies which heralds the solidarity of the Lama community.
An ancient festival celebrated in the Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh, the festival of Sazo is celebrated to worship the local deities as it is believed that during this time of the year, the deities ascend to heaven for a short period of time. The festival is celebrated in the month of January depending on the planetary movement in the Hindu calendar. Gods and Goddesses are worshipped thrice in the span of a day. As it is believed to be their departing hours, spending more time in worshipping is considered auspicious.
Also, locals believe that taking bath in the river Satluj or hot water springs during this festival of Himachal Pradesh will cleanse their body from sins and negativity. In the evening, Gods and Goddesses are taken outdoors in order to bid adieu. The celebrations of the Sazo festival conclude with the grand performances of cultural dance and music. Local wine and halwa are offered to Gods as a significant part of the ritual.
A three-day festival of Pori is significant for both Hindus as well as Buddhists in Himachal Pradesh. Celebrated annually during the 3rd week of August, the entire Lahaul valley brightens up with festive spirit during Pori. The festival of Pori begins with a prayer ceremony which is held at the revered Triloknath Temple.
The other significant highlights of the Pori festival are bathing and decorating the horse, lighting a trail of butter lamps, massive processions, extraordinary performances by folk artists, and a grand feast. Also, visitors can enjoy an array of regional delicacies and buy local handicrafts made by artisans in a huge fair that is organized in Lahaul valley.
Celebrated on the second Sunday of the Shravan month, Minjar is one of the most popular fairs of Himachal Pradesh that is marked by a large number of tourists. The huge fair is organized in the Chamba valley of Himachal Pradesh to commemorate the victory of the King of Chamba over the ruler of Trigarta which is now known as Kangra.
The celebration of this week-long agricultural festival of Himachal Pradesh begins by distributing Minjar which is a silk tassel worn by the local people of the state. Some of the highlights of the Minjar fair are flag hoisting ceremonies and cultural events such as chariot pulling, processions, and parades.
The summer festival is a 5-day long annual festival celebrated in the month of June to mark the beginning of scorching summer in the hill state. Celebrated in 1960 in the summer capital of India, the Shimla Summer festival apparently drew the name from the season itself. It is one of the grand festivals of Himachal Pradesh that has many attractions that lure tourists.
The festival begins with a half marathon which is followed by an array of cultural activities and sports events. Flower shows, fashion shows, musical nights, ice-skating events, photography sessions, poster-making competitions, etc. are some of the major highlights of the Summer festival in Shimla that beckons tourists from all over the world.