The state of Uttarakhand is popularly known for its colorful customs, cultures and traditions. No matter which city you head towards, you're sure to be pleased with the variety of fairs and festivals. Apart from the major Indian festivals, the state also features an array of regional festivals which are complete joy to participate at. By visiting the various fairs in the state, you can be witness to interesting forms of folk music and dance. Tourists from all across the country as well as outside visit Uttarakhand to participate at exuberant celebration during the festival time.
If you're a culture freak, you can never afford to miss the festive celebrations in the state. Ganga Valley Adventure, as your tour planner and guide, makes sure you visit the popular fairs and festivals in the state. Our team also provides you with additional information and tips to make your time spent in Uttarakhand a memorable one.
Holi of Kumaon
The Holi of Kumaon is celebrated in three forms namely Baithki Holi, Khari Holi and Mahila Holi. The unique feature about this festival is that it is celebrated with a lot of music. The Baithki and Khari Holi are unique in the sense that the songs played have a different kind of texture, fun and melody to it. These songs are based on some classical ragas. During the Baithki Holi, the event begins from the temple and is accompanied by songs sung by the professional singers known as Holiyars.
The people of Kumaon are very exact about the songs which should be sung. At noon, songs based on ragas including Peelu, Sarang and Bhimpalasi are sung while in the evening songs based on ragas including Kalyan, Yaman and Shyamkalyan are sung. The Khari Holi is celebrated in rural Kumaon. People who sing songs to the musical instruments for the Khari Holi wear a white churidar pyjama and kurta.
Harela and Bhitauli
The day when Navaratris begin, women sow seven different types of grains in a basket full of soil. These grains then germinate and turn into yellow leaves known as 'Harela'. These leaves are then cut on the very last day (the tenth day) and are put on the head of the women. The month of Chaitra which is the period between March and April is when presents are sent by brothers to their sisters. These presents are known as Bhitauli. Harela is a festival which is celebrated so as to welcome the rainy season.
Kumbh Ka Mela
Its origin can be traced back to the time when Gods and demons entered into a pact to work together for attaining Amrita which means immortality from the milky ocean and split it equally amongst them. However, when the pot was found, it was stolen by the demons and they ran away with it. The Gods then followed them for twelve days and twelve nights and there was a huge battle which took place between both the parties. It is said that while this battle was going on, some drops of this nectar fell in all the four places mentioned i.e., Prayag, Haridwar, Ujjain and Nasik.
Nanda Devi Mela
One of the major festivals in Kumaon region of the state Uttarakhand, Nanda Devi Mela is organized in places like Almora, Nainital, Bageshwar, Bhowali, and Kot along with the far-flung villages of Johar. The Fair (Mela) is organized in the month of September every year. Almora is the place where the main fair is held. Nanda Devi Mela, also known as Nanda Devi Mahotsav has been celebrated since the Chand Kings ruled the place with its duration being either 5 days or 7 days. The fair usually takes place around the festival of Nandashtami, which is observed in parts of the state.
As per the legend, Nanda Devi was the family Goddess of the Chand Kings, rulers of the Kumaon region. In the 17th century, King Dyot Chand built the temple of Nanda Devi in Almora. Thus, from then onwards, the Nanda Devi Fair is organized every year to worship the Goddess of Kumaon, Nanda Devi and it symbolizes the economic and cultural prosperity of the region. People participate in the procession which carries the dola (palanquin) of Nanda Devi and her sister, Sunanda. The fair is usually held around the temple of Nanda Devi. Along with the folk songs and dance, a huge market where the locally handmade products and village crafts are sold can be seen near the temple. Devotees from both Kumaon and Garhwal regions of Uttarakhand as well as other states of India come here to participate in the fair. During the fair in Kumaon Region, Goddess Nanda Devi is also worshipped in Chamoli District in Garhwal Region.