Tourism: Festivals and Fairs in Uttarakhand one should know and visit too… - GyanUK
Sun. Jun 9th, 2019

Tourism: Festivals and Fairs in Uttarakhand one should know and visit too…

Tourism: Festivals and Fairs in Uttarakhand one should know and visit too…

In Uttarakhand, there are different types of festivals and it shows that people are very close. In Uttarakhand, people greet each season with a happy heart and organize festivals in the state. Fairs and festivals in Uttarakhand are a way of life. The residents of the state also welcome small and big achievements, always respecting the abundance of nature and maintaining the bond of unconditional love them. As the earthly body of the gods, the famous state exclusive festivals in the state. Festivals are really the perfect time to take advantage of tourism in Uttarakhand.

This is the perfect time to capture all the colors of the state and learn about rituals and traditions. The two different regions of Uttarakhand, Kumaon and Garhwal, offer various fairs and festivals and many similar celebrations throughout the year. You can see the state celebrate many fairs such as Sharadotsav, Baikunth-Chaturdashi Mela Mela Festival Gauchar Auli, Nanda Raj Jat-, Binsar Mela Mela Hariyali Devi, Nanda Devi, Uttarayni and festivals such as Basant Panchami, Bhitauli, Harela, Phool Dei Chamma Dei, Ganga Dusshera, Ghee Sankranti, Hilljatra, Kumaoni Holi Janopunyu and many others. Therefore, we can calculate every day in the life of the people of Uttarakhand a holiday. You see people getting ready for the holidays and greet the sweets, flowers, special grass and Roli Tikka. The various festivities in Uttarakhand, held periodically with a pure heart and disinterested motives, are the elements that have helped to keep people satisfied with State, grateful and prosperous.

Nanda Devi Mela of Uttarakhand

Nanda Devi mela is a large religious fair in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand. It is a way of worshiping the beloved goddess of the state and is an ideal place to see traditional rural arts and crafts.

Nanda Devi Mela is one of the main festivals in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand. It is organized in different places, such as Almora, Nainital, Bageshwar and Bhowali. This fair is organized in September of each year. Almora is the place where the main fair is held. Nanda Devi mela, also known as the Nanda Devi mahotsav is celebrated since the Kings Chand ruled the place with a duration of 5 or 7 days. The fair is usually celebrated around the Nandashtami festival.

Nanda Devi Festival

According to the archives, Nanda Devi was the goddess of the family of Chand Kings, leaders of the Kumaon region. In the 17th century, King Dyot Chand built the Nanda Devi temple in Almora. Since then, the Devi Nanda Fair is organized every year to venerate the goddess Kumaon Nanda Devi, and symbolizes the cultural and economic prosperity of the region. People participate in the procession carried by the Dola Nanda Devi and his sister, Sunanda. The fair is usually celebrated around the Nanda Devi temple. In addition to popular singing and dancing, a large market that sells handicrafts and crafts from the village can be seen near the temple. loyal regions of Kumaon and Gharwal in Uttarakhand and other states of India come here to participate in the fair. At the fair in the Kumaon region, the goddess Nanda Devi is worshiped in the Chamoli district of the Gharwal region.

The fair takes place near the Nanda Devi temple.

At the fair, visitors can see the popular culture of the Kumaon region with dance and songs.

The festival starts early in the morning and continues until 9pm. School and university students showcase their talent in this festival. You can also watch the performance of local artists.

The last day of the fair, the Dola Nanda and Sunanda Devi is submerged in the water.

Purnagiri Mela of Uttarakhand

Speaking of festivals in Uttarakhand, Purnagiri mela is another. The event is organized by the Shri Purnagiri temple, located at the top of the Annapurna, at an altitude of about 1600 meters. It is believed that the area where the temple is located is where the navel part of Sati and Savant Prajapati was fired by the Vishnu Chakra. It is a pleasure to enjoy the mela with bright views of the ranges. In addition, the mela takes place during the rise of the Hindus, Navratri. Shri Purnagiri Temple is close to Tanakpur. Tanakpur is located about 20 km on the right bank of the Kali River Champawat district in the Kumaon region. This temple is one of the 108 Siddhi Peetha and devotees from all over come at time of Navratri to seek blessing from the goddess.

Syalde Bikhauti Mela of Uttarakhand

Famous for its ritual Oda Bhetna, Syalde Bhikauti Mela is taking place with two places to mark its presence. Offering a mix of popular culture and religious sentiments, this fair perfectly reflects Uttarakhand.

Organized in a small town of Dwarahat in Almora district, Kumaon region, Syalde Bikhauti is an annual fair held every year in Vaisakh (April / May). Organized in two different phases, the Syalde Bikhauti is set for the first time in the temple of Vimandeshwar, a very popular temple of Lord Shiva located about 8 km from Dwarahat. The second phase takes place on the Dwarahat market. In the first phase, people and folk dancers from neighboring regions gather in the Vimandeshwar temple to dance and sing, carrying their traditional flags. One of the most important rituals related to this fair is “Oda Bhetna”, which means hitting the stone. This ritual has a story related to that. According to legend, during the ancient times, people visited and worshiped the Temple of Sheetla Devi, but for some unknown reason, there was a bloodshed between two groups in which the leader of the group who lost the fight was beheaded . The Oda is a stone that was fixed near his head and since then it has become a tradition to hit the stone before going to this fair.


Bikhauti is also known as Vishuvat. Sankranti is a sacred day where people take the holy bath and preparations begin after the Phool Dei celebration. It is believed to be a good opportunity and opportunity for those who could not swim during the Uttarayani or Kumbh Mela fair. The different traditions related to this fair remain unchanged and the cultural convergence of all forms of folk art makes it a memorable experience for locals and visitors who arrive at the right time. Apart from that, Jalebi is also one of the most important part of the fair and during this time, the Dwaharat market is full of this traditional candy that people also buy, eat and exchange. Despite the gradual reduction of traditional values, the Mela has managed to preserve its cultural richness, making it one of the factors that make it attractive to people.

Phool Dei Chamma Dei Festival of Uttarakhand

Phool Dei is an important harvest festival in Uttarakhand. It is a tribute to the gods for the good harvest year. It is on this occasion that the girls decorate the threshold of the houses with freshly cut flowers.


Known as the Harvest Festival of Uttarakhand State, Phool Dei is a popular auspicious festival that celebrates springtime in the state. The festival is celebrated on the first day of the Chaitra paksha. The girls are the most enthusiastic to participate in the festival. Phool Dei talks about flowers and spring. In some places, the festival is celebrated as a carnival and the celebration continues for a month. The term “Dei” refers to a ceremonial pudding that is the key food in this festival that is made of brown sugar. White flour and curd are also available to all.


The girls gather and go to every house in their town / village with plates full of rice, brown sugar, coconut, green leaves, jaggery and flowers. These girls express their desires for prosperity and well-being at home while singing “Phool Dei, Chamma Dei, Deno Dwar, Bhour Bhakar, Vo Dei Sei Namashkar, Puje Dwar”. In return, they receive blessings and gifts like candy, sugar, jaggery and money. Part of the desire and blessing also includes the laying of flowers and rice at the doors of  homes. People sing and dance in their popular songs to celebrate the Spring Festival and share the wishes of their loved ones and relatives about well-being and prosperity.

Harela and Bhitauli Festival of Uttarakhand

Celebrated in the Kumaon region of Uttaranchal, Harela and Bhitauli are characterized by an important folk festival where prayers are offered for the prosperity of cultures.

Held in the Kumaon region of Uttaranchal, Harela falls three times in a year that marks the beginning of a new season. This Hindu festival of folk Kumaoni occurred during the Navratris, Chaitra Navratri in the month of Chaitra (March / April), Sharad Navratri in the month of Ashwin (September / October) and Shravan (late July). This festival is followed by Bhitauli, which is an opportunity to give money to young women in the family. Basically, the agricultural communities in the area have a lot of respect on that occasion. On the first day of the 9-day festival (two Navratris), women cultivate 7 kinds of grain in the soil, which is symbolic for the future harvest. The yellow leaves present in the plant during germination are called Harela. These Harela are cut on the tenth day and people place them behind the ears or on the head.


Harela, celebrated in the month of Shravan, marks the arrival of the rainy season and also commemorates the marriage of Lord Shiva and Parvati. On this day, people make small dikars (small idols of gods and clay goddesses) Gauri, Maheshwar, Ganesha, worship. The oxen also rest that day and the Harela is sent to friends and family.

Holi Festival of Uttarakhand

A colorful festival with different songs and popular music, Uttarakhand Holi marks the rich culture of the state and a specific style to do things differently.

Do you know what is unique in Uttarakhand, apart from the diversity of culture in the Kumaon and Garhwal regions? It’s the colorful festival that unites people, Holi. This traditional festival of colors is celebrated to welcome the spring and to value the good on the evil. When you are in Uttarakhand at the time of Holi, you should definitely be part of the Kumaoni Holi while the festival celebrates the joy of union, culture and colors that add more meaning and happiness. This vibrant festival takes place extravagantly over a two-month period in Kumaon. We can attest to the flowering of the planting season and make its way in Uttarakhand and that is why the festival is essential for the people who reside here, especially those related to the agricultural sector.


The unique traditions of Kumaon can be seen where the whole region is enchanted by popular music in its different forms such as Khadi Holi, Mahila Holi and Baithki Holi, which start in Basant Panchami. Speaking of Baithki Holi, it’s a mix of different types of classic ragas that have a soothing spiritual effect on people’s minds. As this is the most anticipated festival in the Kumaon area, some regions are starting to celebrate it in December with Basant Panchami and others. While Mahila Holi is celebrated by the women of the region where they sing with all their heart in soothing tones. Another popular type is the Khadi Holi, which appears after the Baithaki Holi, where people wear traditional clothing from the region and is a form celebrated by rural areas of the Kumaon region.

Ganga Dussehra Festival of Uttarakhand

To commemorate the descent of the Ganges to Earth, this religious festival is when devotees have the opportunity to take a dip in the water of this sacred river at Haridwar and Rishikesh.

Held in the state of Uttarakhand, the Ganga Dusshera or Dasar Festival is held in May-June. The festival is held for ten days where the Ganga River is revered. According to Hindu mythology, on this day, the sacred river of the Ganges descended from heaven to earth. This festival in Uttarakhand begins the night of Amavasya (crescent moon) of the Hindu calendar and ends at Dashami tithi (10th day). An Aarti is held at Ganga Dusshera, which is celebrated on the river bank in popular Haridwar and Rishikesh pilgrimage destinations. Ganga Dussehra is about cleaning the soul by taking a bath in the sacred Ganga River. After taking a bath, people also meditate on the banks of the Ganges. At night, the mud lamps float in the river with the singing of devotional songs of devotion.


According to legend, there was a king named Sagara had 60,000 sons who were looking for a lost horse for Ashwamedha Yagya was related to the Ashram of Sage Kapil God Indra. It is said that the 60,000 children created a great commotion that upset the meditating sage Kapila and, angry, when the wise man opened his eyes, he burned them to ashes. He told them that the contact of holy water Ganga would only give them the Moksha. According to legend, one of King Sagara’s descendants, called Bhagiratha, achieved austerity to please Brahma and asked him to send Ganga to earth. Goddess Ganga descended to earth in seven streams and swept away the ashes of Bhagiratha’s ancestors, and so, Ganga Dusshera is celebrated as the day the river descended from heaven to earth.

Ghee Sankranti Festival of Uttarakhand

Ghee Sankranti in Uttarakhand is a way to show the gratitude for agricultural prosperity. It is also a festival to enjoy delicious dishes prepared with ghee.

Ghee Sankranti, also known as the Olgia Festival, is celebrated on the first day of Bhado (August) in Uttarakhand. It is one of the most important festivals in the state that has been celebrated with great enthusiasm and joy since time immemorial. This former festival in the state is celebrated at a time when crops are growing well and animals that give milk are also healthy. Not only that, even the trees are loaded with fruit. Basically, it is a festival that denotes the gratitude of the inhabitants and families dedicated to the occupation of agriculture. The reason for the celebration of this festival is to mark the harvest season and show its gratitude for prosperity.


The atmosphere is cheerful and happiness is among the people. In ancient times, at Ghee Sankranti, there was a tradition that the sons-in-law and nephews gave gifts to their in-laws and maternal uncles, respectively. However, at present, farmers and artisans offer gifts to owners and customers of the tools, in return they also receive gifts and money from them. Among the most common gifts exchanged that day were axes, ghee, vegetables, Binai (oral harp), a metal stirrup, datkhocha (metal stick) and firewood. An important ritual of this festival is to pour ghee on the forehead and eat ghee and chapatis filled with urad dal.


There are many other festivals and fair of Uttarakhand that we will describe in our second(next) blog.

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