Celebrated to mark the end of the harvest season, Sair is a cultural festival that is observed in many parts of Himachal like Kullu, Solan, Mandi. However, if you want to experience this famous cultural festival of India in its full glory then you need to head to Shimla.
This is a centuries-old festival and sees celebrations in the form of carnivals, beating of drums, and blowing of trumpets. On this day, people also purchase many items like utensils, clothes and cook many scrumptious dishes like Bhalle, Kachori, and Chille.
At many places, the villagers also start stocking food grains along with firewood for the upcoming harsh winter days. However, the major highlight of Sair is bullfights.
Major Attractions of Sair Festival
1. Traditional Charm of Sair Festival - Bull Fights
One of the major reasons to celebrate the Sair festival is to prepare for the harsh winters and also celebrate the return of God from the heavens. Following suit the Spanish spectacle, the major attractions of the Sair festival also include bullfights. On average, 50 bulls are assembled for the festive occasion. Before these fights, the bulls are also made to drink alcohol.
2. Invoking Gods
During Sair, the locals beat drums and also blow trumpets while offering their harvested crops to the Gods. It is believed that by doing so, one could invoke the energies of the Gods and seek blessings for bumper crops in the next season. Apart from this, the locals have oracle sessions wherein they ward off evil spirits for ensuring the prosperity of their respective families along with the protection of livestock and crops from any kind of natural catastrophe.
Different Stories of Sair Festival
The Kullu Story
Time for the people to celebrate the arrival of Shravan month. Here, in Kullu, the locals celebrate what is known as Sairi Sajja where they gift walnuts to their family and friends. On this occasion, the roads are full of vendors selling good-quality walnuts.
A night before Sair Festival, people cook mutton along with rice. The next day of the festival opens with people cleaning their homes and preparing ingredients for the local rituals and puja.
The Kangra Story
Here the preparations for the morning puja commence from the night before. In the puja ingredients, people include their harvests which generally range from maize, guava, lemon along with wheat. The wheat is spread on the plate and every fruit is placed on top of it. The following morning, a barber from the village visits each house carrying the idol of Sair Devi and is given the season’s harvest along with some money. If you want to get a sneak peek of Himachali tradition and culture then you should definitely attend these major festivals of Himachal Pradesh.
How to Reach
Shimla is a gorgeous travel escape to enjoy nature’s beauty in its full bloom. Apart from being a popular travel destination, it is also renowned for its unique culture, of which, local festivals and events comprise a significant part. It is situated at an approximate distance of 342, 1,415, 2,070, and 2,177 km from Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Bengaluru respectively. To travel to Shimla, you will need to follow the below-mentioned routes.
You will need to deboard at Jubbarhatti Airport also referred to as Shimla Airport. It isn’t very well connected with other Indian cities, thus, it is recommended to take connecting flights from Chandigarh and Delhi. Once you get off at the airport, you can easily take a cab or a bus to reach your respective destination.
If you are planning on traveling via train, then you should deboard at the Kalka Railway station situated at (approx) 90 km. Otherwise, depending on your convenience, you can consider deboarding at the Chandigarh railway station situated at 100-110 km. After deboarding the train, you will need to take some means of public transport to travel further.
Shimla is fairly well-connected via good motorable roads. Depending upon your geographical location, you can easily travel to Shimla via roads and national highways. You can also choose to book interstate or private buses or if residing in nearby areas, take a cab as well. However, if you want to travel at your own pace with your family and loved ones, then nothing can match the fun of traveling in your own vehicle.