Fairs and Festivals in KulluFairs and Festivals of any region have tremendous religious importance and they are the important means for preservation of the rich heritage of the natives residing in the region. The same is true with the Fairs and festivals in Kullu. The visitors of Kullu fairs and festivals would get to see the spirit of Kullu Valley on the faces of merry participants of these events. Guests get warm welcome and get mingled with the locals through various activities like dances, songs and other cultural activities.
Fairs and festivals have significant economic importance. The month of Phalgun, that starts from mid-February and continues till mid-March, is the beginning of all celebrations in this valley. This article describes different fairs and festivals that are celebrated in Kullu Valley throughout the year.
Phagli Fair KulluThis fair marks the victory of Sage Manu and Sage Shandilya over Tundi Raksh, a demon. During this fair, traditional dances like Raksh Khel and Gur Khel are performed by the local artists. A person acts as demon. This person has the entire body covered with grass and wears a mask to look like a demon. Phagli Fair is held in all temples that are dedicated to Sage Jamlu especially at Jamula Temple.
Brishu FairThis fair is organized in the month of Chaitra / Baisakh. Local delicacies are cooked a day before the 1st day of the month and are sent to the houses of relatives. Temple decoration is done and Deo Khel is performed by the Gur of Gods and Goddesses. The Gods and Goddesses take a round of the village and villagers greet these Gods and Goddesses with respect and ask for their blessings.
Sharhi JatraThis fair is organized outside the temple of Tripura Sundari on the ground of Sharhi. The fair is organized for 3 days. The festival is celebrated during the month of May-June or Jaishtha.
Boodhi Diwali FairThis fair is held in village Nirmand of Kullu District on the New Moon Day of Magh month. The fair has many legends associated with it. As per the saying, the battle of Mahabharata got started on this day. This day also marks the killing of demons who resided at Nirmand disguised in the form of snakes.
During the starting of the fair, recital of Mahabharata is done and singers sing the story of Raja Bali in the form of songs. The local Kshatriyas cut two ropes made of Munj Grass as these ropes symbolize two demons named Asur and Dano.
Mela BhuntarThis fair is organized on the 1st day of Ashad month (mid June). The fair is held in Bhuntar Village for three days. This fair is religious in natue. This day onwards, people start using the grains of newly harvested crops. Locals offer cooked food to the gods and the meal is then eaten along with the relatives and friends. This process is called “Tahoolikhana” by the locals.
Shamshi VirshuThis fair is organized in Khokhan Village on the first day of Baisakh month (14th/15th April). The local women dress themselves and worship the Goddess outside the temple. The idol of the Goddess is then taken back to the temple. The Goddess is offered sheaves of Barley, flowers and garlands. Animal sacrifice is done and local women dance and sing around the Goddess’s Chariot to show their respect to Devi Ma.
The fair is organized on 21st day of Baisakh month. The fair has recreational and religious importance due to the fun and enjoyment during the festival.
The starting of the fair is done with local songs and dances being performed on the beats of trumpets and drums.
On this day, the idol of Lord Laxminarayana is brought to Sainh from Raila.
Bhadoli FairThis fair is held once after every 3 years. The fair is held for 4 days. The days are decided by the local Brahmin authorities. The fair is held to commemorate Sage Parshuram. As per the Hindu Mythology it is believed that Sage Parshuram had meditated at the place where the fair is organized. The Gods, Goddesses and their attendants are given grand reception on the first day. On the 2nd day of the fair, Gods and Goddesses are pleased through dances and songs performed by the local men and women. On the 3rd day, procession of the Gods and Goddesses is arranged. On the last day of the fair, a community feast is arranged and the fair comes to an end.
Ghatasani FairThis fair is organized in the month of Chaitra at village Dawra. The fair is organized for 2 days. The legend of this fair is associated with Lord Rama and Devi Parvati. During this festival Lord Vishnu and the village Goddess are worshiped by the locals to seek blessings for happy and prosperous life.
Spring Festival KulluSpring Festival in Kullu is also known as Pipal Jatra. It is also known as Basantotsava. The festival is organized in Kullu at the Dhalpur ground. The festival continues from 28th-30th April. Spring Festival is the state festival of Himachal Pradesh. It marks the starting of spring season in the valley and it is also the beginning of tourist season in this valley.
During the initial days, about 16 Gods used to take part in the festival. Cultural programs are organized at the open air theater, Kala Kendra of Kullu every night during the festival time. Local artists as well as artists from various parts of India come here to perform during the festival.
International Dussehra FestivalKullu Dussehra Festival is declared as the international festival as huge numbers of international tourists come here to become part of the grandeur of this vibrant festival of Kullu Valley. The festival starts on the day of Vijayadashmi. This is the day when Lord Rama had victory over the demon king, Ravana. The festival carries the religious beliefs and the local tradition of the people.
The festival continues for a week and it starts with the “rathyatra” of Lord Raghunathji, whose idol is brought to Kullu and then saddled on a chariot. The chariot is taken to a different place where Lord Raghunathji stays for next 6 days. Fairs are organized and processions are taken out during the journey of the Lord. The procession also has colorful palanquins carrying more than 300 Gods and Goddesses.
Fair and festivals in Kullu beckon tourists from various parts of the globe and many prefer to visit Kullu during this period so that they could actually experience the rich culture of this valley and also understand the religious beliefs and traditions.