Himachal Festivals and Fairs

Exposition to various festivals and fairs depends upon the time of the year, a volunteer participates in our program.

Cuisine festival: Himachal Government in the Month of May, Holds a Cuisine Festival Where Different Indian Cuisines are Highlighted

Minjar fair (Chamba): Week long international fair that generally falls in July/August; It is the most popular fair of Chamba; Minjar Mela is celebrated in the Chamba valley of Himachal Pradesh, as a commemoration of the victory of the Raja of Chamba over the ruler of Trigarta (now known as Kangra), in 935 AD. It is said that on the return of their victorious king, people greeted him with sherfs of paddy and maize, as gift to symbolize prosperity and happiness.

International Shivratri fair (Mandi): An annual fair that is held for 7 days in Feb/March to Worship Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva

Shoolini Mela (Solan): Shoolini Fair is celebrated in the month of June every year in reference to Goddess Maa Shoolini along with many cultural activies. Parade is carried out comprising artists dressed in various mythological characters.

Mani Mahesh Chhari Yatra (Chamba): The Manimahesh Yatra is an annual pilgrimage undertaken in the months of August/september. Lord Shiva is the presiding deity of the yatra. It starts from Lakshminarayan Temple in Chamba and ends at the Manimahesh Lake in Bundhil valley. The Manimahesh Lake is believed to be one of the abode of Lord Shiva as per the Hindu mythologies. The pilgrims walk along the rocky path completely bare footed, carrying "holy stick" (chhari) on their shoulders, singing Bhajans and praying ecstatically to Lord Shiva. Pilgrims cover a distance of 14 kilometres (8.7 mi) from the nearest road point of Hadsar to the Manimahesh Lake. After reaching Manimahesh Lake, they take dips in the holy water. The lake is situated at the height of 13,500 feet above sea level and at the base of Manimahesh Kailash peak (18,564 feet), a virgin peak, 92 km from Chamba, where pilgrims take holy dip. For the Gaddi tribal population of the region, pilgrimage to the lake is most holy.

International Renuka fair (Sirmaur): This seven-day fair is celebrated annually in the month of November, on the bank of the Renuka Lake. This fair is related to Lord Parshu Ram's mother - Renuka Ji. Lord Parshu Ram is considered to be the 6th incarnation of the Lord Vishnu. As part of the fair, Lord Parshu Ram's idol is bathed in the lake and then taken back to the temple. This fair was first held during the times of Mahabharata. 

International Lavi Trade fair (Rampur, Shimla):
This annual trade fair held in November is linked to the historic treaty between Bushahar State and Tibet (1681). Goods traded include pashmina wool, dry fruits, horses and Yaks. Rampur accompanied by river Satluj has been a major trading route for India. The town has maintained this age-old tradition and has been hosting the International Lavi Fair for more than 300 years. Years back, Rampur was the entering gate to routes towards Kinnaur, Tibet, Ladakh and Afghanistan. Even till date, many goods like wool, dry fruits and other products are bought and sold through this trading destination. After the trade came to a stand still few years back, it lost its glory which was again restored after the Lavi fair started here.

Vrajeshwari fair (Kangra)
A huge fair in honour of Goddess Vajreshwari is held on Amavasya (new moon day) in the month of Chaitra. The fair commences on the 14th day of fortnight of waning moon of the month with ceremonial worship of the Goddess. On Amavasya at night, lamps are worshipped. On the next day, the first day of Hindu month Vaisakha, the ceremonial procession with a Palkhi (palanquin) carrying an image of the goddess, is taken out.

Fulaich (Kinnaur): Annual flower festival of Kinnaur celebrated in September over a four-five day period when boys go up to remote hilltops and bring down exotic flowers. After which men and women dance around to the rhythm of primitive music with drums, bugles and metal clappers. In most places the local deity’s are also taken out and the bearers dance with them along with the group. The locals celebrate this event with great passion and zeal starting the festivities by going to the mountain to collect the Ladra flowers, and with the sacrifice of animals. Relatives then offer wine and food to their loved ones who have passed away, which is later distributed to the poor. A number of dances depicting ancient war scenes are also conducted and performed by the locals of the area.

Jwalamukhi fair (Kangra): This fair is held twice a year (April & October) to honour Jwalamukhi (blazing visage), the goddess of the volcano. a popular center of pilgrimage for several centuries now, the temple of Jwalamukhi is considered amongst the most sacred in northern India. The temple of Jwalamukhi is in Jwalamukhi town, which is about 70 kilometers from Dharamsala. Inside is a square pit, three feet deep with a pathway all around. The rock in the middle has a crack, through which a gas is emitted, and on lighting it the gas bursts out into a huge flame, the priest keeps applying the flame to the gas - which is seen as a blessing of the deity. There is no idol in this picturesquely located temple and the flame is considered a manifestation of the Goddess.

Holi fair (Hamirpur)
International Holi Fair at Sujanpur (Hamirpur) is a famous North Indian fair held annually in the month of March. It starts every year a few days before Holi (India’s festival of colours) and ends up after few days of Holi. This fair brings the message of love and peace. Different participants from different places come here to perform in different cultural activities.

Naina Devi fair (Bilaspur): Shri Naina Devi Ji temple is one of the most notable places of worship in Himachal Pradesh. It is situated on a hilltop in the Bilaspur Distt. of Himachal Pradesh in India. Special fairs are organized annually in April, July/August and October, to worship Goddess Shakti/Durga, under the names of Chaitra navratri, Shravan ashtami navratri and Ashwin navratri, respectively. These are 9 day festivals (Navratri in English means 9 nights) except for Shravan ashtami which is a 10-day affair. These fairs are locally known as Mata-Da-Mela and attract millions of visitors from all over the country.
 
Volunteers shall observe the functioning of the above elements and interact with various stakeholders. Volunteers will also attend speaking sessions by various political leaders (Indian & Tibetan govt.), government departments, local colleges and NGOs. These sessions will comprise 30 minute talk by the guest followed by open-house interaction session. We believe that such a unique exposure to the society, culture, history, politics and economics of Dharamsala region will not only broaden the volunteers’ horizon but also help them be successful in whatever careers or passions they wish to pursue. It will help them better appreciate the workings of a society and the relevance of Volunteering to the society.