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About Uttrakhand
Fairs & Festivals
Fairs and Festivals have always been a very integral part of the life of Indians. The state of Uttarakhand is no exception. The Fairs and Festivals in Uttarakhand add a great deal of color to the lives of the people living in the state. The lofty Himalayan peaks, the lush green valleys, the rivers which meander their way through these valleys combine to create a serene and spiritual ambience. As a result there are many temples in Uttarakhand and these temples go on to become excellent venues for the fairs and festivals. It is a time when people come together to express their joys and participate in the revelry. They are indeed celebrated with a great deal of pomp and grandeur. The joyous ambience lights up everyone’s mind. The unrestrained merry making is like a breath of fresh air which rejuvenates them to face the challenges of life anew. The Fairs and Festivals in Uttarakhand also help us to peep into the rich cultural tradition of the land.
The daily lives of Uttarakhandi women are crowded with a never-ending succession of festivals, most of them involving fasts and the preparation of special foods.
Fairs in Uttarakhand
Jauljibi and Thal Fairs
Fairs and festivals are a pleasant change to the daily routine lives that we lead. The Jauljibi and Thal Fairs in the Pithorgarh district of Uttarakhand are matchless because both these places throb with life when these fairs are held. They are the meeting points of three different cultures.
Uttarayani Fair
The Uttarayani Fair provides the social and political workers with an important platform to express their grievances. It has consequently played a vital role in the local movements.
The Nanda Devi Fair
his cultural carnival is of immense religious and cultural significance. The term Nanda means prosperity and well being. If the Nanda Devi Mela is held with a great deal of pomp and grandeur, it symbolizes the economic and cultural prosperity of the region.
Syalde Bikhauti
It is celebrated on the Vishuwat Sankranti day and commemorates and ancient victory. On this day, the Bagwal is held at Syalde Pokhar in the old town of Dwarahat. People also celebrate the occasion with music, songs and dancing.
The Somnath Fair
The Somnath Fair held on Vishuwat Sankranti day is celebrated in the Shiva Temple at Masi, Almora. It is a famous fair of Pali Pachhaun.
The Devidhura Fair
This fair is held in the compound of the Varahi Devi temple at Devidhura on the day of Raksha Bandhan.Devidhura is situated at a trijunction of Almora, Pithoragarh and Nainital districts and the fair is well known for its enchanting folk songs and dances as also for its Bagwal.
The Jageshwar Fair
Jageshwar lying in the beautiful Jatganga valley, housing one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of India, is a complex of 12 temples in all. Two large fairs are held at Jageshwar, one at the occasion of Shivratri and the other in the month of Shravan (July-Aug).
The Purnagiri Fair
Purnagiri is located on the top of a hill and is 20kms. from Tanakpur. It is on the right bank of the river kali. A number of fairs take place here during Navratras, when devotees in a large number come from surrounding areas to have a darshan and worship the Goddess Purnagiri.
The Haatkalika Fair
On the ashtami (eighth day of the month)of the Chaitra and Bhado, a fair is held in the Kalika temple at Gangolihat. People come with drums and flags to pay homage to Goddess Kalika. On this day, animals are sacrificed and offered to the Goddess.
Festivals in Uttarakhand
Basant Panchmi
Makar Sankranti is a very auspicious day. It is celebrated throughout the country in some way or the other with a lot of warmth and intensity. The state of Uttarakhand is no exception. History of the Makar Sankranti Festival in Uttaranchal.
Makar Sankranti
The sun moves to the northern hemisphere. It enters the Zodiacal sign of Makar or Capricorn from the Zodiacal sign of Kark or Cancer. This movement to the Uttarayana symbolizes that the day of the Gods have started. So it is the ideal time to do something.
Phool Dei
Phool Dei is celebrated on the first day of the month of Chaitra in mid March and on this day young girls conduct most of the ceremonies. In some places this festival is celebrated throughout the month with the advent of spring.
Harela and Bhitauli
Harela is usually a Kumaoni festival to mark the coming of the rainy season. The celebration falls on the month of chiatra and month of Shravan.
Olgia/Ghee Sankranti
Olgia is celebrated on the first day of Bhado (middle of August), when the harvest is lush and green, vegetables are in abundance and the milch animals very productive.
Khatarua is essentially the special festival of pastoral- agricultural society and celebrated on the first day of the month of Ashwin in mid September, and signifies the beginning of the autumn.
Bat Savitri
The Bat Savitri Festival is celebrated with feelings of great warmth and intensity by women. On the occasion of Bat Savitri, women observe fast from the morning. They offer their prayers to Savitri, the legendary heroine and Bat or Banyan tree.
Ganga Dusshera/Dasar
During this festival ten days of the month are devoted to the worship of Holy River Ganga venerated by the Hindus as a mother as well as a goddess. Places such as Rishikesh, Haridwar, Garh - Mukteswar, Prayag, Varanasi etc where Ganga flows hold special significance on this day.
The people of Kumaon celebrate Raksha Bandhan and Janopunyu, the day on which people change their janeu (sacred thread). On this day the famous Bagwal fair is held at Devidhura in district Pithoragarh.
Nanda Devi Rajjaat
The three week long Nandadevi Rajjaat is one of the world famous festival of Uttarakhand. People from entire Garhwal-Kumaon as well as other parts of India and the world participate in Nandadevi Raj Jat Yatra.
Chippla Jaat
Chippla Jaat in Uttarakhand is one of the fairs and festivals in Uttarakhand which is celebrated with much enthusiasm and gusto. It is one of the fairs that people eagerly wait for the entire year.
The Hilljatra, which is being celebrated in some parts of Pithoragarh district, is essentially the festival of pastoralists and agriculturalists. In the developmental process, the aathon (eighth day of bhado) and Gawra Visarjan also became the part of Hilljatra.
The festival begins with the worship of a Shiva Linga made of barley and buck wheat flour mixture. Local liquor is traditionally used during this festival. Every household performs it in a decorated comer of the courtyard. People pray for prosperity.
The Baithki Holi begins from the premises of temples, where Holiyars (the professional singers of Holi songs) as also the people gather to sing songs to the accompaniment of classical music.
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