Festivals and Events in Himachal pradesh

Experiencing a region’s festivals is a great way to get an insight into the culture of the area. When it comes to Himachal Pradesh, there are several different festivals that are celebrated here, and if you’re lucky enough to be a part of them, you’ll find that the experience is indeed memorable. There are several festivals celebrated in Himachal Pradesh. Some of these have Hindu background while others have Tibetan influences. With Dharamshala being the home to several Tibetan monasteries, it is no wonder then that several Tibetan festivals are celebrated here.

There are also some events in Himachal Pradesh which are not related to religion and can be about enjoying the many bounties of nature such as the Winter Carnival or the Ice-Skating Carnival which enthrals everyone. The people of Himachal Pradesh love celebrating various occasions and enjoy festivals and fairs in their state, which reflects its colourful culture and traditions. Here’s a list of some of the festivals of Himachal Pradesh.

If you are keen to be a part of below mentioned festivals of Himachal Pradesh, then do remember to take a look at the SOTC website for some excellent deals on Himachal tour packages.

An important Himachal festival is Halda, which celebrates the New Year. There is a special ceremony wherein people worship the goddess of wealth Shashikar Apa and at night, there are bonfires, dances, music and a grand feast. A ritual that is followed here since the ages is that every household has to bring cedar twigs which are lit and when everyone assembles at the common location, the lit twigs are tossed into a bonfire. The bonfire symbolises harmony among people. Although the date for celebrating Halda is not fixed, it is usually held in December or January in Lahaul district. The date and place of the festival is decided by the Lama.

An important Himachal festival is Halda, which celebrates the New Year. There is a special ceremony wherein people worship the goddess of wealth Shashikar Apa and at night, there are bonfires, dances, music and a grand feast. A ritual that is followed here since the ages is that every household has to bring cedar twigs which are lit and when everyone assembles at the common location, the lit twigs are tossed into a bonfire. The bonfire symbolises harmony among people. Although the date for celebrating Halda is not fixed, it is usually held in December or January in Lahaul district. The date and place of the festival is decided by the Lama. 

Lohri is celebrated all over Himachal Pradesh. A festival with Punjabi origins, Lohri is a ceremonial festival where people dress up in colourful clothes, children sing folk songs and there’s a huge bonfire. At dusk, people from different households gather and light the bonfire. Lohri is celebrated in January and it is a festival that celebrates unity and encourages people to come together.

Dussehra is a festival that celebrates the triumph of good over evil. While it is celebrated all over India, the celebration in Himachal is a little different. In Kullu, instead of burning an effigy of Ravan, they celebrate Lord Raghunath instead. The traditional Dussehra celebration lasts for a week with a procession of Lord Raghunath taken around the town on a beautifully decorated chariot. There is dancing, singing and feasting on the following days and other cultural festivals are also held at this time. The Kullu fair and Nainadevi fair draws quite a few visitors. 

One of the most anticipated festivals of Himachal Pradesh is the Himachal Winter Carnival. It has been taking place for the past forty years and attracts a good number of visitors every year. The carnival aims to promote the culture of Himachal and often, there are folk dances, street plays, music and a good chance to enjoy delicious local cuisine. There are skiing championships, a craft bazaar, a food festival and adventure sports that are enjoyed at this carnival. This is held in Manali every January. 

Doongri is celebrated in Kullu and is one of the festivals of Himachal Pradesh which is celebrated on Basant Panchami. From colourful flowers to bright kites, this festival is marked by the many folk dances and artist performances. The festival is in honour of Hadimba Devi, Bhima’s wife and it is held to celebrate her birthday. It is held in May every year. 

One of the festivals of Himachal Pradesh which is held in September is the Phulaich festival. Villagers play drums and go to the mountains to collect Ladra flowers. Celebrated in Kinnaur, the festival is organised to remember those who have passed away. Rice, food and wine are made as offerings for the deceased which is then given away to the poor.

Held in the second week of December every year, the International Himalayan Festival takes place in Kangra district and commemorates the Nobel Peace Prize that was offered to the Dalai Lama in 1985. In McLeod Ganj, the festival lasts for three days and it is a way to strengthen the friendship between the people of Himachal Pradesh and Tibetans. There are different stalls which feature handicrafts, traditional medicines and cuisines as well. 

Himachal Pradesh becomes a winter wonderland during the months of December and January when snow covers most places like Shimla and Manali. Since Shimla is said to have Asia’s largest natural ice-skating rink, the Ice-Skating Carnival is held every year during winter when people get together to enjoy the numerous events such as figure-skating and ice hockey. 

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