The people of Uttarakhand have a strong sense of gratitude; their fairs and festivals amply demonstrate their appreciation and passion for environmental preservation. In Uttarakhand, fairs and festivals are a part of life. Residents of the state celebrate both minor and significant victories, always showing gratitude for nature’s richness and fostering their relationships with one another.
The abundance of the harvest provided another occasion for celebration, while the Sun’s transition from the southern to the northern hemisphere also affords people the chance to rejoice. Being the home of Gods on Earth, the state holds a few unique festivals. In other words, we can say that the famous festivals of Uttarakhand make it the land of celebration.
It is actually the ideal moment to capture the state’s vibrant colors and learn about intriguing rites and traditions that are still uncommon in the nation. Kumaon and Garhwal, the two separate areas of Uttarakhand, celebrate a variety of fairs and festivals throughout the year.
As a result, one might estimate that every day in the lives of the people of Uttarakhand is a holiday. People may be seen getting ready for the celebrations and exchanging treats, flowers, unique grass blades, and rice-adorned Roli Tikaa to meet one another.
1. Makar Sankranti
In Uttarakhand, Makar Sankranti, also known as Ghugutia, is one of the celebrated Hindu holidays that is highly praised. According to the Hindu sacred texts, the sun switches from the sign of Cancer to the sign of Capricorn on this day. This day marks the sun’s transit (Uttarayan) to the north. In Kumaun Bageshwar (Saryu and Gomti Sangam) and Ranibagh (Gaula), people present Khichdi as a charitable donation and plunge into the revered rivers. There are also Uttarayani fairs that attract a lot of people to celebrate Ghughutia (also known as Kale Kauva).
Additionally, it is a moment to physically relish. Sweetmeats are produced from wheat flour that is shaped into drums, pomegranates, blades, swords, and other shapes before being deep-fried in ghee. Songs are also sung to attract crows and other birds. These disposable jewelry items are then given out to welcome the seasonal birds back to the fields following the colder months.
Another famous festival of Uttarakhand is Holi, which is observed in the Kumaon region with much greater intensity. The festivities begin even before Basant Panchami. According to Hindu mythology, Holi symbolizes the victory of good over evil. Because the crop has not yet been harvested in Uttarakhand, ears of grain are not donated to the sacred fire, in contrast to the plains where Holika Dahan (the burning of a pyre) is an essential aspect of Holi.
Another important aspect of Uttarakhand’s Holi celebrations is folk music. Mahila Holi involves ladies singing heartily; Khadi Holi, which is typically practiced in rural regions, involves locals donning traditional clothing; and Baithiki Holi necessitates the singing of several classical ragas. Additionally, people prepare the traditional gujiya and aloo gutuk, which are fried potatoes that are eaten with jamboo, a Himalayan spice.
3. Phool Dei
The Uttarakhand state celebrates the harvest and the arrival of spring with the Phool Dei festival. It is also referred to as the harvest festival and occurs on the first day of the Chaitra season (March–April) according to the Hindu calendar. This is the season when flowers bloom, and to celebrate, the people prepare a special pudding called dei with flour, curd, and jaggery or gud. An essential component of the festivity is this dish.
An essential component of this Uttarakhandi event is young females. They visit homes while singing the folk song “Phool Dei” and bringing gifts of jaggery, rice, and coconuts. They leave flowers and grains on the doorsteps of the homes, according to legend, in order to bless them. The young girls receive gifts and blessings in exchange for their deed.
In the Chaundans valley of Pithoragarh district in the Kumaon division, the Rung tribe observes the Kandali festival. During this occasion, the rare 12-year bloom of the Kandali flower is celebrated. The defeat of Zorawar Singh’s army, a general of the Sikh Empire who attempted to overrun this region in 1841, is also commemorated during this festival. Local legend has it that the women protected this area from soldiers trying to plunder the villages while hiding under the Kandali bush. The bush was also destroyed in this method.
The valley’s residents celebrate a week-long celebration during which they pray for victory over their adversaries and worship an idol of Lord Shiva fashioned of barley and buckwheat. Puja, a formal meal, and the hoisting of the flag come after this. The scene of resistance is replicated, and triumphant yells are also heard. The natives even go on to assault the Kandali shrub. This festival also includes local booze in a big way. All night long, there are celebrations and festivities.
5. Vat Savitri
Another well-known event in Uttarakhand is Vat Savitri. Married women observe a full-day fast during this time in order to pray to the goddess Savitri, a banyan tree, or a bat for their husbands’ happiness and health. The Banyan tree is revered in the Hindu religion. This holiday has its roots in the Mahabharata, in which Savitri, whose husband Satyavan passed away just a year after their wedding, fasts and prays until, at last, her devotion is rewarded when her husband rises from the dead. This action takes place beneath the banyan tree. On Amavasya, or the day of the full moon in the month of Jyestha, or June, this event is held.
The Chakrata Block in Dehradun is the centre of attention during this event. The Jaunsari tribe, whose ancestry can be linked to the Pandavas, praises the Bissu Mela. A fair where villagers from all around come together to exhibit their love and affection to ‘Santoora Devi’, a manifestation of Goddess Durga, is celebrated for an entire week as a result of a good harvest season in Uttarakhand.
This one of the famous festivals of Uttarakhand, which is intriguing but very different from the main Uttarakhand festivals, allows you to experience cultural diversity while dancing to folk music in a large crowd of people wearing distinctive, traditional clothing and reviving long-lost customs for the benefit of future generations.
7. Syalde Bikhauti Mela
The annual Syalde Bikhauti Mela is conducted in the town of Dwarahat (Almora) in the months of April and May. The Vimandeshwar Temple hosts the first phase of the Syalde Bikhauti Mela, and the Dwarahat Marketplace hosts the second. Folk music and dances are performed during the mela, and the crowd decorates the ground with ornamental foliage as they dance and sing. ‘Oda Bhetna’ is a significant rite that involves hitting the stone (Oda).
According to folklore, people used to worship their deity in a neighboring temple, and when there was tension between the followers of the two groups, a fight broke out that resulted in bloodshed. A stone (Oda) was positioned close to the beheaded leader of the group that lost the battle in honor of the deceased leader. The Syalde Bikhauti Mela is a celebration of cultural fusion thanks to the many customs on the show and the mouthwatering Indian treat “Jalebi,” which is a staple of the fair.
8. Ghee Sankranti
Ghee Sankranti, a famous festivals of Uttarakhand that heralds the start of the harvesting season, expresses the thanks of the community’s farmers by showing their support. It is also referred to as the “Olgia” festival and is observed on August 1st (Bhado), when the crops are thriving and the milk-laden cattle are ready for milking. The ancient custom saw nephews and sons-in-law giving gifts to their maternal uncles and fathers-in-law, respectively, as the celebration gradually evolved through the years.
However, the present-day context might be summed up by the fact that farmers and artisans pay gifts to their landowners. Axes, datkhocha (a metallic toothpick), ghee, and firewood are the main items for exchange as presents. Eating ghee and chapatis loaded with urad dal is a crucial part of this festival’s ceremony!
9. Kanwar Yatra
The ‘Kanwar Yatra’ sacred pilgrimage trek starts when the Hindu month of Shravan (July) officially begins. Millions of Lord Shiva worshippers go from all across the nation during the month-long yatra to the Ganges River (cities like Haridwar, Gangotri, Gaumukh, etc.) and bring holy water from the river to a Shiva temple. Because of their extreme devotion, the followers even carry their deity on a “Kanwar” and walk barefoot to the sacred river. During the yatra, large camps and gatherings may be seen in Haridwar and Gangotri, and the Kanwarias are provided with a variety of improvised lodgings along the route.
Given that the assembly on the Ganga ghats in Haridwar has been listed as one of the largest human gatherings in India, the magnitude of the occasion may be understood.
10. Uttarayani Mela
The Uttarayani Mela, conducted in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand (Bageshwar, Rani bagh, Hanseswari, and so forth), begins on the auspicious day of Makar Sankranti in the second week of January. The fair, which typically lasts for a week, is held on the grounds of the Badrinath Temple in Bageshwar. A large number of local performers singing Jhoras, Chancharis, and Bairas (folklore) serve as visual representations of the region’s celebrations and cultural history.
While at the fair, visitors can buy locally produced goods including iron and copper utensils, baskets, casks, mattresses, and many other things. The locals claim that taking a swim in the river’s water during the sun’s transition from the Southern to the Northern Hemisphere is auspicious and purify the spirit.
11. Kumbh Mela
We have all heard a lot about the Kumbh Mela in Uttrakhand. But how impressive is it really? For those who celebrate it, it is more than just a mela or a fair. The largest gathering of explorers dives into the Ganga River on this rather significant occasion in an effort to atone for their wrongdoings. No of their caste, religion, or sexual preference, followers, saints, sadhus, and onlookers all immerse themselves in Ganga’s waters to synchronize with the cycle of birth and death.
This 3-month-long festival, which rotates between Allahabad, Haridwar, Ujjain, and Nasik every four years, or exactly once every 12 years in any one location, is held once every four years. This festival’s existenceThis celebration is made even more well-known by the fact that it runs continuously throughout the many tourist destinations in Uttarakhand.
12. Magh Mela
One of the most famous festivals of Uttarakhand state’s Garhwal Region is the Magh Mela. It is a religious and cultural fair that the state now considers to be a significant tourism event. It takes place in the month of Magh (January) and has set dates every year, namely from January 14 (when Makar Sankranti is observed) until January 21. On the first day of the fair, dolis or palanquins holding the Kandar god and other Hindu gods and goddesses are transported to the Ramlila Ground at Uttarkashi through Pata-Sangrali Village.
For more than a week, people from all over Uttarakhand display their locally produced goods and handcrafted wares at the Magh Mela. In the present period, the fair is now held throughout the state, not just in the Uttarkashi area. A skiing area is set up in Dayara Bugyal, one of India’s most picturesque meadows, because the fair takes place in the wintertime in the month of January.
13. Bhitauli and Harela
Every season has its festivities, and each one is appropriately observed by the people of Uttarakhand. A ceremony called Harela heralds the arrival of monsoon weather. This festival is observed by Kumaon community members from July to August during the Shravana month. This festival honors the mythological union of Lord Shiva and Parvati. Gods like Maheshwar and Ganesh have miniature idols made for them called dikars.
Following this festival is Bhitauli, which is observed between March and April during the Chaitra month. The festival indicates agricultural growth where females plan seeds in the land and harvest harela as the festival ends. By doing so, they may evaluate the caliber of their seeds. Brothers also give gifts to their sisters during this event.
Experince the Joy of Famous Festivals of Uttarakhand !!!!
The diverse population of Uttarakhand celebrates its distinctive festivals, which revolve around the harvest and agribusiness, an essential source of their livelihood and an integral part of their culture. If you enjoy traditional festivities, consider attending any of these famous festivals of Uttarakhand while visiting Uttarakhand.