Ages of rich tradition, warm and hospitable people, a landscape of breathtaking variety and beauty - all combine to pack each year in Himachal with a variety of fairs, festivals and celebrations. There are some 200 deities worshiped in Himachal and numerous fairs and festivals are held in their honour. There are others that began as if just yesterday - and have added their colours to the grand collage. From religion to trade, from seasons to sports-and month by month - here is joyous celebration of life.
The spirit of Himachal Pradesh is in its fairs and festivals. The joyous celebration of life is seen in these festivities. A broad classification is given below and the names of the towns associated with the Mela given here under are not necessarily the be-all and end-all. These are celebrated all over the State but are more pronounced in the places mentioned below:
A. Religious :
Dussehra of Kullu generally in October. Two hundred deities come to pay homage to Lord Raghunath. International Folk Dance Festival is held at Kullu.
Shivratri of Mandi generally in March. Deities from all parts of Mandi district come and make first stop at Madho Rai temple. A weeklong celebration in Paddal ground and Seri Manch surcharges the atmosphere.
Holi of Sujanpur (Hamirpur) declares the coming of spring. The riot of colours and the cultural programmes in the evening attract.
Navratra Melas at all the Devi shrines in Himachal Pradesh.
The most famous Yatra (pilgrims procession) is that of Mani Mahesh. A chari (pious rod) is taken out from tho
B. Harvest :
Lohri or Maghi celebrated all over the State but with fervour at Pragpur, the heritage village, in District Kangra. This traditional mid-winter day commemorates the last sowing of Rabi crops.
Rural agrarian traditional Baisakhi on 13th April is celebrated all over Himachal Pradesh. People take a holy dip in any nearby waterland.
Minjar of Chamba in August is celebrated wishing for a good harvest of maize crop.
Nalwari at Bilaspur is held in March. Cattle are traded in this Mela. Wrestling bouts are organised and watched by thousands.
Ladarcha Fair at Kaza is known for barter trade and selling of variety of goods.
D. Seasonal :
Shimla's summer festival starting from the last of May for five days provides entertainment to the tourists come to the town to get relief from the scroching heat of the plains.
Shoolini Festival starts on the third Sunday of June for entertaining the tourists. This Mela has, however, a religious touch too as Devi Shoolini leaves her abode and comes to meet her sister living at a different place in solan.
Ice skating carnival in Shimla in December.
Republic Day Celebrations on the Ridge on 26th January present a cross-section of the cultural heritage of Himachal Pradesh.Independence Day celebrations at Theog in Shimla District and at Keylong in Lahaul and Spiti District. These are spontaneous celebrations with archery, wrestling, dancing, singing and feasting coming into play.