Fairs in Kangra
Baisakhi Fair :
This fair is held at various places in the state. People carry village deity with music procession from one place to another. In upper hills, people perform 'Mala Dance' by joining hands to form a large circle. During day time, some games like archery and wrestling are also played.
Jwalamukhi Fair :
The Jwalamukhi fair is held twice a year during Navratras for worship of Durga goddess. It is the most imporatant fair in the Kangra valley. People come with red silken flags (dhwaja) to greet the Mother Goddess. The fair is attributed to the worship of that Eternal Flame which is coming out of earth spontaneously and perpetually.
Dal Fair :
It is held on the bank of lake Dal, in the month of August in district Kangra at Dharamshala. Held sacred, this has a small Shiva temple on its banks. The banks of the lake are enlivened every September by a fair attended - amongst others- by a large number of migrant Gaddi folk.
Sayar Fair :
It is a famous fair observed in the month of September at a number of places such as Bakloh in Kangra, Karsog in Mandi, and Subathu in Shimla.
Festivals in Kangra
Baisakhi or Bisoa :
It is knows as Bisowa in Kangra, Bissue in Shimla hills and Lisshoo in Pangi-Chamba. This festival is generally celebrated on 13th of April. Preparation for the festival starts much early. The houses are white washed. People take holy dip at Haridwar, Tattapani near Shimla, Banganga near Kangra, Markanda near Bilaspur. During day time, Baisakhi fair is held at many places with traditional gaiety and attraction. Women's participation in large number add special color to the festive mood of the people.
(Dholru) is the first month of the lunar year and the first day of the month is cellebrated with a belief to bring hapiness and prosperity. This festival is known as Chatrali in Kullu and Dholru in Bharmaur area of Chamba district. In district Kangra, Hamirpur and Bilaspur, first day of Chet month hold special importance.
Spring Festival :
This festival is celebrated only in the Kangra district in the month of March/April. Clay figurines of Shiva and Parvati are worshipped by young unmarried girls who dress up in their finery and gather around a heap of grass to sing and dance. After being worshipped for 10 days, the figurines are immersed in a pond or river on the first day of Vaisakha or Baisakhi (13th April).
Haryali means greenery, and in the Kangra Valley, it is the festival that celebrates rain. Since good rain means a good harvest and prosperity, it is important to keep the rain god happy. Haryali is celebrated on the first of Shravana (July 16). Some 10 days before this, seeds of five or seven grains (wheat, barley and the like) are mixed together and sown ceremoniously by the head of the family or the family priest in a small basket filled with earth. A day before the festival, Shiva and Parvati are ritually married as their union brings fertility to the world.
Sair is basically thanksgiving for abundant rainfall and is celebrated in September/October. Traditionally, a barber goes round the village with a galgal (fruit in a basket) announcing the coming of the festival. Men, women and children bow to this sacred fruit which is considered an emblem of the fruits of harvest about to be reaped.
Navratras are celebrated with great interest in Himachal Pradesh. Durga Ashtami is of great importance all over the state. People visit nearest Durga temple to offer prayer during Navratras.
It is celebrated in the month of February. The western part of India is influenced greatly by the mythology of Lord Shiva. This festival is given the greatest importance even in temples. Some people keep fast on this day. Images of Lord Shiva and Parvati are made from cowdung or earth soil for worshipping. Songs in praise of Shiva and Parvati are sung. This is the festival of great significance in the life of hill people.
Gaddis of Kangra, Chamba, Mandi and Kullu celebrate this festival, when a household individually collects enough money for celebration. Nawala, in fact, is a thanks giving ceremony to Lord Shiva, who is worshipped at the time of misfortune and clamiti. Devotional songs in praise of Lord Shiva are sung throughout the night.