Key Festivals

Kangra district is home to several festivals spread throughout the year.

Spring Festival: This festival is celebrated only in the Kangra district in the month of March/April. Clay figurines of Lord Shiva and Parvati are worshipped by young unmarried girls who dress up in their finery and gather around a heap of grass to sing and dance. After being worshipped for 10 days, the figurines are immersed in a pond or river on the first day of Baisakhi (13th April).

Baisakhi or Bisoa: This festival is generally celebrated on 13th of April but the preparation for the festival starts much early. The houses are white washed and people take holy dip at Banganga near Kangra.

Chet (Dholru) is the first month of the lunar year and the first day of the month is celibrated to bring happiness and prosperity.

Haryali: Haryali means greenery, and in the Kangra Valley, it is the festival that celebrates rain. Since good rain means a good harvest and prosperity, it is important to keep the rain god happy. Haryali is celebrated on the first of Shravana (July 16). Some 10 days before this, seeds of five or seven grains (wheat, barley and the like) are mixed together and sown ceremoniously by the head of the family or the family priest in a small basket filled with earth.

Sair: Sair is basically thanksgiving for abundant rainfall and is celebrated in September/October. Traditionally, a barber goes round the village with a galgal (fruit in a basket) announcing the coming of the festival. Men, women and children bow to this sacred fruit which is considered an emblem of the fruits of harvest about to be reaped.

Navratras: This festival is dedicated to the worship of the Hindu deity Durga and is celebrated with great interest in Himachal Pradesh. The word Navaratri literally means nine nights in Sanskrit, nava meaning nine and ratri meaning nights. During these nine nights and ten days, nine forms of 'Shakti' goddess are worshiped.

Shivratri: This festival is of great significance in the life of hill people and is celebrated in the month of February. The festival is marked by songs sung in praise of Shiva and Parvati.

Nawala: Nawala is a thanksgiving ceremony to Lord Shiva wherein devotional songs in praise of Lord Shiva are sung throughout the night. This festival is celebrated mainly by the Gaddi tribes of Kangra.