Festivals of Himachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh Festivals

by Surojit Palmal
Festivals of Himachal Pradesh

Major diversity is the exceptional feature of India as a country. Similarly the states in India are also known for their diverse cultures as well. Moreover there are so many states in India which are diverse in their population. And Himachal Pradesh is surely one such state when it comes to diversity. The state of Himachal Pradesh houses people from a variety of tribes and communities. However what makes them special is how harmoniously all of them exist. And the best example of that can be the festivals of Himachal Pradesh.

If you look into the famous festivals of Himachal Pradesh you would get to understand the variety of communities residing here. Furthermore the Himachal Pradesh festivals are lively and vibrant as well. People living here indulge in a lot of cultural festivals and fairs and express their uniqueness. These traditions are something that certainly needs more attention. So do you want to know what are the festivals of Himachal Pradesh? Then keep on reading this article. Here I will mention some of the major festivals of Himachal Pradesh.

Festivals of Himachal Pradesh

Mandi Shivratri Fair

Mandi Shivratri Fair
Image Source : Wikimedia Commons

This one is one of the popular festivals of Himachal Pradesh. Typically the celebration of this festival happens on the 13th night of the Krishna Paksha just on the onset of Shiv ratri festival. From the day it starts this festival continues for a period of 7 days in Himachal Pradesh. Furthermore the famous Mandi Shivratri Mela or fair also continues for the next seven days. This is a fair that highlights the religious culture of Himachal Pradesh to the fullest. The whole town of Mandi transforms into a cultural ground for the people.

Moreover it is one of the festivals of Himachal Pradesh that holds a special position for the people here. More than 200 deities belonging from Mandi assemble here during this festival. The deities adorn colourful clothes that look extremely vibrant. And then these deities come across the district to pay homage to Lord Vishnu. What follows later is a procession with the deities. It is one of the internationally renowned festivals of Himachal Pradesh.

Kullu Dussehra

Kullu Dussehra
Image Source : Wikimedia Commons

This is again one of the most popular festivals of Himachal Pradesh. As Dussehra is celebrated on the last day of Navratri, the same thing happens here. However the ways of celebrating Dussehra here makes all the difference. This festival takes place in Dhailpur Maidan. In 1972 Kullu Dussehra was declared as an International Event. Even today more that 4-5 lacs of people come from across the world to be a part of this festival. Generally the festival happens every year during the month of October on the 10th day of Navaratri. Everywhere in the world Dussehra is the last day of the celebration and people end festivity with it. However in Kullu it starts with Dussehra and then continues for the next 7 days.

This week-long festival further starts with a procession with Lord Raghunath ji on top of a chariot. Minor deities and several village Gods are also a part of this grand celebration. More than 250-300 deities from all parts of Kullu become a part of this festival. On the last day of the festival there is a grand procession again. Later Lord Raghunath Ji again returns to his original place. It is one of the grand festivals of Himachal Pradesh that a large number of visitors attend every year. If you ever get to visit Kullu during this time, make sure to take part in these extravagant celebrations.

Losar Festival

Losar Festival
Image Source : Wikimedia Commons

As I have said already, Himachal Pradesh houses a number of different communities and tribes. And therefore you would get to see different cultural festivals here too. However the Losar festival is one of the popular festivals of Himachal Pradesh which is a Tibetan festival. This is basically a harvesting festival in Himachal that takes place between the end of January to the beginning of February according to dates of the Tibetan calendar. Previously during the pre Buddhist era the same festival had a different name, Agrarian Festival. Later the festival got its name as Losar Festival. According to beliefs this festival brings in good fortune and also protects everyone from evil eyes.

As this is a Tibetan festival mostly the Tibetan towns celebrate this festival in full swing. However there are some locations where the grandness of the festival is greater than other locations. These are Tsuglagkhang Temple in Mcleodganj, Dorje Drak Monastery in Shimla and Shashur Monastery in Spiti Valley. Over a span of 15 days the Tibetan Buddhist communities celebrate the Losar festival.

Sazo Festival

This is one of the ancient festivals of Himachal Pradesh. The Sazo festival is a religious celebration that is celebrated in the district of Kinnaur. According to Hindu calendar the dates of this festival are determined and it mainly falls around the month of January. According to beliefs the Gods and Goddesses ascend to heaven during this time for a brief period of time. Therefore there are rituals as the people believe that it is auspicious to worship the deities before their departure. People worship the Gods thrice a day during this time. Also they believe that taking a dip into the Satluj River or hot water springs will cleanse them of their sins and negativity.

And then the festival ends with grand cultural dance performances. The people then offer local wine and halwa to the Gods as a part of their ritual. This is one kind of festival that is unique in its own way. If you ever visit the Kinnaur region or Himachal Pradesh around this time, do consider witnessing this festival.


Pori Festival

This is one of festivals in Himachal Pradesh that is important for both Buddhists as well as the Hindus of Himachal. It is an annual festival that takes place in the 3rd week of August. Majorly this festival is the festival of Lahaul Valley. Moreover the whole valley gets decked up in festive spirit during this time. Basically this is a three day long festival that begins with a prayer ceremony. Furthermore the prayer ceremony takes place at the famous Triloknath Temple. Other things that follow thereafter are very unique. One of the important and unique rituals is the bathing of horses. Later the horses are groomed and decorated well. Also there is lighting of butter lamps as well.

Additionally, a grand procession also takes place. Talented folk artists also perform and show their skill. Of course then comes a grand feast and the visitors enjoy a grand feast consisting of local delicacies. There is a huge fair as well that takes place where local artists sell varieties of handicrafts items. It is like a grand affair where many people participate and enjoy the food, performances as well as shopping.

Kasol Music Festival

Kasol Music Festival

This is a beautiful cultural festival that is one of the popular festivals of Himachal Pradesh. Located in Kullu district, Kasol is a small village near Parvarey Valley. However this small village is famous for the Music Festival here. Every year on the eve of New Year this festival takes place. Moreover the festival marks the end of the old year and the beginning of the New Year through the pop culture event. People from all over Himachal Pradesh and outside come and attend this event. And for every music lover also this is one of the events that is a must attend. You can expect live performances, DJs, spa services, tattoo booths, painting competitions, food stalls and a lot of fun here. From the vibe to ambience everything seems enchanting and enigmatic. So do try to attend this event once.


Sair Festival

This is one of the religious festivals of Himachal Pradesh. Few towns in Himachal Pradesh like Kullu, Shimla, Solar and Mandi celebrate this festival. During mid September this festival usually takes place. However the festival is in its fullest glory in Shimla. This time is the time marked as the harvest season here. Alongside, people believe that this is the time when the Gods return from heaven. With a big fair, stalls selling local handicraft items, and eating local food the people here enjoy the festival. However the main highlight of this festival is the bull fight that has similarity with the Bull Fights in Athens Sparta.

Doongri Festival

On the auspicious day of Basant Panchami every year the Kullu region celebrates this festival. It is one of the popular festivals of Himachal Pradesh which the people observe as the anniversary of the presiding deity, Hadimba Devi. All the locals visit the Hadimba Devi Fair to pay their respect to the deity. Around the month of May this festival takes place.


Shimla Summer Festival

As the name suggests this is a festival that celebrates the advent of summer. Along with that, it also prays for a good harvest season as well. It is a 5 day long festival that involves events like cultural performances, music events, fashion shows, handicrafts exhibition, dog shows, food stalls etc. Happening around May or June it is one of the festivals of Himachal Pradesh that has something for everyone.

Wrapping Up!

A lot of festivals in Himachal Pradesh are regional festivals. As I have mentioned in the beginning of this article already, Himachal Pradesh houses diverse cultures and communities. Hence, a lot of the Himachal Pradesh festivals are region based. The communities here have their own set of festivals but that doesn’t take away the charm of these festivals. All kinds of cultural, social and religious festivals here reflect the culture and traditions of the state. By reading about the many festivals of Himachal Pradesh I am sure you got an idea about their culture as well. So tell me if you have ever witnessed any of these famous festivals of Himachal Pradesh. Also let me know which of these festivals you found to be unique.

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