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Himachal Pradesh

Fairs And Festivals

Fairs and festivals have always been an integral part of the Indian way of life and the land locked hill state of Himachal Pradesh is no exception to this.

The New Year brings with it the National Snow Statue Competition at Kufri near Shimla. January is also the time for ice-skating in the state capital. The bonfires of Lohri light up the night sky on January 13 every year and this festival marks the sowing of the Rabi (winter) crop.

February brings with it skiing competitions held at Solang Nullah in Manali. A fair in the memory of the seer Baba Barbhag Singh is held at around the same time at Una. The springs are the time for kite flying which paint the sky in vibrant colors.

In March, comes along Shivratri or the festival to celebrate the marriage of Shiva which signifies ritual gaiety at the famous Baijnath shrine. The cattle fair at Nalwari, Bilaspur is set amidst carnival atmosphere. Holi, the festival of colors is also celebrated in March at the Gurdwara at Paonta Sahib, Sirmaur.

In April, Chhat celebrations are held in Kullu and Chamba. Navratri too begins this month. Fairs are held in Chamba, Bilaspur, Kangra and Rohru village in the Shimla district.

A colorful celebration takes place in May around the old temple of Hidimba at Kullu, Doongri. Banjar Mela in Kullu starts in the second half of the month.

Shimla, Dharamshala and Dalhousie welcome the summer in June with a variety of cultural events. The Red Cross fair in Shimla is a big draw with tourists. The Himachal Folk Costumes Programme and the Flower Show in the capital attract active participation of the locals. The Prashar Fair is held in Mandi off the Prashar Lake. Also Lahaul celebrates a unique festival called Cheeshu.

July marks the onset of the monsoons. Haryali is celebrated in Kangra and Sirmaur and, Shravan Sankranti in Nahan.

The month of August brings about the Lahaul Festival which is held near Keylong. The Buffalo fights are the highlight of the Sari fair held at Arki. The famous fair of Naina Devi in Bilaspur also takes place this month. The Manimahesh Yatra starts in August in the district of Chamba, while in the Kullu Valley, it is the time for Badranjo.

In the first week of September, Fullaich takes place in Kinnaur. While in Kangra, Sair takes place. Chamba is the location for the colorful fair of Rath-Rathni.

Dussehra is one of the most sacred festivals of the Hindu religion and is celebrated in October. Dussehra celebrations start in Kullu with Navratri. The Pong Dam is the site of water sports championship held in the same month.

November is time of Diwali, which is celebrated throughout the country. On the banks of Sutlej is the Lavi fair which continues for three days.

In December before Christmas, the International Himalayan festival is held in Dharamshala. Then is the festival of Christmas which Shimla has been celebrating since the days of the British rule.

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