Himachal Fairs & FestivalsDoongri Festival in Kullu
Celebrated in the month of May at the 'Valley of Gods'- Kullu, the Doongri Fair like all the other fairs held at Himachal is yet another colorful affair. Also known as Hadimba Devi Fair, it is held near the Hadimba Temple which is just 1.5 kms from Manali bus stand.
Celebrated to mark the advent of spring, the most pleasant of all seasons, the fair attracts a host of tourists and locales both to celebrate the valley at its natural best. Multi colored flowers bloom in the entire valley spilling color all around. And to add more, little kites also dapple the horizon with their bright colors to mark the spring festival, coined as 'Basant Panchami.
Almost around the same time, another fair is also held at Una in the memory of the sage Baba Barbhag Singh. The sage was believed to possess magical powers that were used towards philanthropic ends.
Shivratri Fair at Baijnath
The week-long Shivratri fair is among the major attractions of Himachal. This international festival is held each year at the Shiv Temple situated at Baijnath in Mandi. Tourists as well as locals enjoy several cultural programs organized in evenings as well as exhibitions, sports, and many other activities during this fair. The Shivratri fair of Mandi is held every year in the month of February or March. Thousands of devotees carry hundreds of gods and goddesses on the Palkiyan/Raths (Wheelless Chariots) amidst the traditional melodious tunes, entering the stylishly adorned Mandi town. On arrival, these deities first visit the shrine of Madho Rai and then they move to pay their homage to Lord Shiva at Baijnath temple. During the week-long entertainment program, the hill folk gets a platform to display their talents.
Located 16 km from Palampur, the elegantly built ancient Shiv temple can be spotted on the Pathankot-Mandi national highway. The 9th century AD temple is built of stones in the shikhara style, and is exemplifying the graceful blend of sculpture and architecture.
You can access the temple from both Palampur and Kangra, at ease. The sanctum of the temple enshrines the Linga that is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas in India. A large number of pilgrims come down the Baijnath temple to enjoy all the colors of the fair and festivities.
Chessu Fair at Rewalsar
Chessu Fair or Tsechu Fair, a ceremony followed by Buddhists is celebrated in the month of March at Rewalsar town in Mandi district in Himachal Pradesh. Thousands of Buddhists from India and abroad assemble at the Rewalsar Lake in Mandi to celebrate the two-day Chessu Fair. The fair commemorates the birth anniversary of Guru Padma Sambhava, a sage guru from Oddiyāna, who meditated on the banks of the Rewalsar Lake for many years.
Later, Padma Sambhava went to Tibet from India via Nepal and transmitted Vajrayana Buddhism to Bhutan, Tibet and other neighboring countries in and around 747 AD. Further, he is considered an emanation of Buddha Amitabha and, traditionally, even adored as 'a second Buddha'.
Summer Festival in Shimla
Lying towards extreme North, Himachal Pradesh tends to have the coldest weather. Most of its districts remain extremely cold during the year. But come summer and this 'Land of Gods' rejoices with a welcome climatic change. They celebrate this change of season in the form of Summer Festival. More commonly known as Shimla Summer Festival, the celebrations observe a huge association of men and women who gather and celebrate the advent of summer. They pay reverence to the gods by singing and dancing in gratefulness. They thank their gods for a rich harvest. A repetition of this bliss is also requested for the following year. The entire state showcases exuberant pomp and grandeur during this festival. Richly tinted fairs add a new fangled shade to the wide array of colors of the state giving out a powerful visual impact.
Similar to other festivals celebrated in the state, this festival also comes as a rejuvenator of the rich cultural heritage of India which is retained in the best way possible by the people of this region. With a lot of temporary stalls and make shift food joints, the festival comes as a welcome respite to the kids from their boring school schedules as the festival falls during their summer break.