Fairs and Festivals of Uttarakhand


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.

KumbhMela at Uttarakhand

Haridwar in Uttarakhand is presented with the opportunity to hold one of the biggest gatherings of Hindu devotees in the world. Blessed with the presence of River Ganga, Haridwar and its ghats are opportune to organize the popular Kumbha Mela, Ardh Kumbh Mela, and Maha Kumbh Mela every 3, 6 and 12 years respectively. Millions of devotees from around the world come to take a dip in the holy water of the Ganges during this fair in Uttarakhand. Apart from Haridwar, Kumbh Mela is held in Nasik on the bank of River Godavari; Allahabad on the famous confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati rivers and Ujjain on the bank of River Shipra. According to Hindu Mythology, Haridwar is one of the four places where the elixir fell during the war between gods and demons, and this is why the land is considered blessed.

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.

Nanda Devi Raj Jat

Nanda Devi Raj Jaat or Himalayan Mahakumbh is a festival in Uttarakhand in which Goddess Nanda Devi (also known as Gaura and Raj Rajeshwari in Garhwal division) is worshipped. Devotees from both Garhwal and Kumaon regions of the state of Uttarakhand along with other parts of the country participate in the sacred yatra. Goddess Nanda Devi is believed to be the consort of Lord Shiva and the daughter of the ruler of Mountains. As per the beliefs, Nanda Devi is an avatar of Goddess Parvati or considered as her sister. Moreover, the Goddess Nanda Devi is the foremost godhead of both Garhwal and Kumaon division of the state Uttarakhand. This festival is held for whole three weeks and is organized once in every twelve years in the Chamoli District of Garhwal Region. Nanda Devi Raj Jaat Yatra is performed on a long route that takes almost twenty-two days to complete.

Kanwar Yatra

With the onset of the Hindu month of Shravan (starts in mid-July) commences the sacred pilgrimage journey, Kanwar Yatra in Uttarakhand and other parts of India as well. During this yatra, millions of devotees of Lord Shiva known as 'Kanwariya' from all states and cities of India make a journey to Haridwar, Gangotri, and Gaumukh in the state of Uttarakhand while chanting Bol Bam to gather sacred water from the River Ganga and carry it across hundreds of miles to offer it at their local or popular Shiva temples such as Pura Mahadeva and Augharnath temple in Meerut, and Kashi Vishwanath, Baidyanath, and Deoghar in Jharkhand. During the Kanwar Yatra that starts in the monsoon months, the devotees of Lord Shiva even observe a fast on Mondays.

International Yoga Festival Rishikesh

The International Yoga Festival in Uttarakhand is the celebration of the relaxing and reviving art of Yoga. The word Yoga which holds so much importance in the lives of people all over the world was given expression by the great Patanjali. Essentially, Yoga was unfolded as a way to reach full conformity throughout one's body, mind, and soul. The Festival for the very first time took place in 1999 in Rishikesh which is renowned as the 'Yoga Capital of the World' and happen every year in Parmarth Niketan Ashram. Vinyasa Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, Raja Yoga, Iyengar Yoga, Ashtanga Yoga are some of the routines that are taught and offered in the Festival.

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.

Nandadevi 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.

Phool Dei Festival

Known as the harvest festival of the state Uttarakhand, Phool Dei is an auspicious folk festival which welcomes the spring season in the state. The festival is celebrated on the first day of the Hindu month, Chaitra. Young girls are the most enthusiastic ones to participate in the festival. Phool Dei is all about flowers and springtime. In some places, the festival is celebrated as carnival and the celebration goes on for a month. The term 'Dei' refers to a ceremonial pudding which is the key food in this festival that is made from jaggery. White flour and curd are also offered to everyone.

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