Kullu Festival, Himachal Pradesh
Himachal Pradesh is a land of simple and religious people. The place is full of local deities and you will find a different one at every turn. The people lead a colourful life here with the fairs and festivals adding to their jest. It is as if they are always eager to dress in their traditional attires to dance and enjoy and worship. The festivals sometimes mark the beginning of seasons. Many Sikh festivals like Baisakhi and Lohri are also celebrated largely here and the tribals have their own festivals here.
It is the famous festival celebrated in the northern India. It is called Dusshera all over but here it is called Kullu Dusshera. The actual festival begins here when it ends elsewhere. It marks the return of Lord Rama to his homeland Ayodhya. A seven day celebration marks it with the Gods of Kullu, Rupi and Seraj gathering here. For seven days dance and music fill the air. A trade fair is also held simultaneously.
This festival comes in February - March and a fair is held alongwith for 7-8 days. Many Gods and Goddeses are brought to Mandi town and taken to Mahadev temple. Dance, drama and music follow. A similar celebration of Shivratri is carried out in Baijnath temple in Kangra district.
The festival is celebrated in Lahaul with remarkable jest. A proper tradition of worshipping where the idol of lord Triloknath is bathed in milk and yogurt, the conchshells ring, and many other rituals are performed, and none is without reason. A butter lamp is lighted up and it burns all day and night. The devotees add butter to the lamp. A procession with a horse is carried out and it is believed that god sits on the back of the horse.
Locally known by the name of 'Ookayand ', meaning the festival of
flowers, Phulaich is mainly celebrated in Kinnaur district. On the
16th day of the month of September, 10 men of Rajput clan go to the
higher hills to collect flowers and return two days later and then the
festival is celebrated.
The people gather to see flowers and then the merrymaking begins. The flowers are so intoxicated that at times people feel giddy in their scent.
On the twentieth day of the month, the idol local God 'Deota' is decorated in fine clothes and men, women and children all dressed beautifully dance under the deodar trees. On the twenty third day, the festival ends when the image of deity is brought back to the temple and animals are sacrificed and offered to god.
A popular festival of northern India, Holi is also very popular in
Himachal Pradesh. However, different tradition and rituals are carried
out here. Small twigs of Kamal tree are painted and women carry bamboo
baskets with thread, kukkum, jaggery and roasted grams to a village
elder. A lot many rituals are followed then, like going to an elderly
person and offering him these.
At night, a Holi bonfire is lighted. A contest is then held among the village youth that who will touch the Holi flag first. The next day Holi is celebrated with colours and all. In many areas Holi meals are an equally important tradition and attraction like in Palampur, Ghughar, Paprola, Baijnath, Jaisinghpur and Sujanpur. A fair is organised in Sujanpur on Holi which dates back to the time of King Sansar Chand. The fair is for five days and during this time lots of folk dance and music is presented. Folk songs of Holi fill the air. To sum up it is the fair and festival combination that swings the state during this time.