Fairs & Festival of Garhwal

Fairs & Festivals are opportunities to meet each other. In the ancient time, when there were no such facilities of communication and transport, these fairs and festivals have played an important role in social gathering and meeting with relatives, friends resided in the far-away geographical locations. Together with recreation, these have social significance to remember the religious importance and social messages behind these events. Most of the festivals of the region are based on mythological traditions. With following fairs & festival ‘Holi’, ‘Deepawali’, ‘Shivratri’, ‘Vijayadhasmi’, ‘Rakshabandhan’ are organized with full joys as per Hindu traditions.

Nanda Devi Raj Jat 2000

Baikunth-Chaturdashi Mela
On the occasion of 'Shukla Chaturdashi' of Kartik month, also called 'Vaikunth Chaturdashi', a fair is organized at the Kamleswar Mahadev Temple of Srinagar which is not only for recreations & entertainments but also attached with some traditions. On the night of 'Vaikunth Chaturdashi', this temple witnesses scores of childless couples praying with lighted 'Diya' for fertility. It is said that Lord Shiva always answers their prayers. Earlier, this fair was organized for single day in the temple campus. Now, it is extended to five days by 'NagarPalika, Srinagar' with including a number of other activities.
Binsar Mela
Every year on 'Vaikunth Chaturdashi' & 'Kartik Purnima', a two days 'Binsar Mela' is organized at 'Bindeswer Mahadev' temple situated at the remote & district border area between 'Chauthan Patti' & 'Dhoodatoli' forests in which people from different areas of the Districts Pauri, Chamoli, Almora and Rudraprayag are participated and worshipped God Shiva. Because of this, the fair witnesses a fine mixture of cultural heritages of Garhwal & Kumoun regions. On this occasion, the people are assembled and participated in cultural programmes in which 'Pandav' & 'Chaufula' dances, 'Mangal' & 'Khuded' songs etc. are performed on the rhythm of traditional musical instruments by awakening whole night.
Gindi Mela
On the day of 'Makar Shankaranti', 'Gindi' fairs are organized at some places in the southern part of the district. These fairs have its own distinctiveness and importance in the hills. As the month of 'Magha' starts, a number of fairs are organized in whole area, but the 'Gindi' fairs of 'Dandamandi' & 'Thalnadi' are most famous in which people from the remote and far-away places are participated. These fairs are symbols of bravery, joy, courage & competitive spirits, in which two teams of the villagers are formed to participate in the game of specific kind of ball in a plain ground. In this game, each team .
Sharadotsava is celebrated every year in the headquarters of the Pauri district. It is organized for about 5 days to one week during October-November.Many cultural teams of Uttarakhand participates in this festival.Various types of exhibitions are also held.Local souveniers,cuisines etc. are also available for tourists and visitors during this festival.
Nanda Raj-Jat
Shri Nanda Raj-Jat fair is an excellent example of vibrant cultural heritage of Uttarakhand pulsating in a land blessed with superb natural beauty. The Raj-Jat takes place every 12 years after elaborate preprations by the descendants of the royal priests living in village Nauti and the royal family of Kunwars living in Kansuwar. This is a religious pilgrimage of 280 Kms. It takes about 20 days to complete this long arduous trek. The last yatra was held in the year 2000...... More Detail
Gauchar Mela
Gaurchar Mela is an industrial fair which is held every year for one week starting from 14th November. This is being organized since pre-independence days. A number of merchants/traders and local people take part in this festival. Cultural programs are also organized during this festival. Many tourists take part in it.
Auli Festival
Auli winter games are held every year in February/March at uli,Joshimath. Sking competition takes place at Auli skiing slopes in which skiiers from within and outside the country take part in this event. Cultural programmes are also organized to show cause the rich cultural heritage of Uttarakhand to the participants.
Jhanda Fair
Jhanda Fair is held every year at the historic Guru Ram Rai Darbar in Dehradun City on the sacred memory of the Guru. The fair begins with putting up a new Jhanda ( Flag) on the staff located in the compound of the historic complex. Besides local people, a large number of devotees turn up from Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, U.P. and Himachal Pradesh etc.
Tapakeshwar Fair
Tapakeshwar is a legendary place located on the eastern bank of the river Tons. Lord Shiva is the reigning deity of the ancient temple located here in a cave. In the Skandapurana, this place has been referred to as Deveshwara.
It is believed that during Dwaparyuga, this place was abode of Guru Dronacharaya who lived here with his family. Since then, the cave was known as Drona Gufa. One of the famous heroes of Mahabharata and son of Guru Drona, Ashwathama was born here . When Ashwathama was very young, the poor father could not find any milk for him. The Guru was too poor to afford a cow. It was a matter of worry to the great master. One day, when young Ashwathama was crying for milk, the helpless Guru advised him to pray and worship Lord Shiva, who would bless him with milk. Ashwathama did so. Pleased with the young boy's tough penance, Lord Shiva appeared before him in the garb of Brahmin and enquired about his wish.
Little Ashwathama asked for milk. Lord Shiva blessed him and said that milk would be made available here. Ashwathama found milk falling on the Shivalinga, drop by drop. Ashwathama had prayed to the Lord by the name of Tapakeshwar and hence the place was known by the same name. 
A big fair takes place here on the shivratri day. Thousands of devotees congregate at this place on the day to offer prayers. Tapakeshwar is approachable from Dehradun by City Bus or Three Wheelers. It is about 5kms. from the Bus-Stand and 5.5kms. from the Railway station.
Lakshman Siddha Fair
Lakshman siddha is one of the four siddhpeeths around Dehradun. It has immense religious importance. It is about 10kms. away on Dehradun-Rishikesh road. It can be easily approached by city bus or three wheelers and is located about 1 km off the road inside jungle. It is mainly a local religious fair held every Sunday, but last Sunday of April has a special significance, when people turn up in very large number and congregation of 20 to 25 thousand people can be seen offering obeisance to the samadhi here.
Bissu Fair
This fair is held at the Jhanda ground in cantonment area of Chakrata block of the Dehradun district. It is about 3kms. from Chakrata. The fair reflects cultural heritage and tradition of Jaunsari tribe. A large number of people turn up in this fair from nearby Trhri, Uttarkashi and Saharanpur districts. The fair marks harvesting season inthe area and reflects the happiness of the local people.
Mahasu Devta's Fair
Mahasu Devta's fair is held at Hanol which is about 120kms. on the Chakrata Tyuni road. The fair takes place in August every year, when Mahasu Devta (deity) is taken out in a procession. Musical prayers continue for three days and night. The havan samagri ( offering material ) is arranged by the Government of India. This is a local fair of Jaunsari tribe. Thousands of participants throng the place on the occasion from the adjacent Tehri, Uttarkashi and Saharanpur district.
Neelkanth Mahadev Mela
Situated at a height of 1675 mts. on a hill above Swarg Ashram, Neelkanth Mahadev is one of the most revered temples of Rishikesh. According to a legend, after the great 'Sagar Manthan' the churning of the sea by gods and demons, Lord Shiva drank all the effluent venom that turned up from the manthan. The poison turned his throat blue and hence the name Neelkanth (Blue throat). An important fair is held in the Hindu month of Bhadrapad (July/August) when a visit to the temple is considered auspicious.
This is a multi-event festival which is held in the month of October-November in Dehradun. The duration of this festival is about 15 days which features folk performing arts, theatre, crafts and culture of uttarakhand, educational exhibitions, talks, lecture-demonstrations, workshops, documentary, screenings, Film-festival, literature festival etc. The artists and artisians from different parts of the country as well as from abroad performs in this festival.
On the occasion of Baisakhi ie. 13/14th April, a large fair is held in the temple of Agateshwar Mahadev which is dedicated to sage Agastya and the temple is also of an archeological significance figures of Gods and Goddesses have been carved out on stones. During this festival, many devotees come to this temple to worship and pay their homage to God.
Hariyali Devi Mela
It is held every year during navratras (September-October) at Hariyali Devi Temple. The temple has an ornate of the Goddess on a lion's back. Devotees from various places come here to worship the Goddess and seek her blessings.
Deoria Tal Mahotsav
This fair is organized every year during August-September at Deoria tal. It is a lake which is situated on the Chopta-Ukhimath road and has captivating surroundings with forests all around. Many persons take part in this religious/cultural fair.
Mahakavi Kalidas Mela Kabiltha
This is a 3 days fair which is organized every year from 15th to 17th June in memory of the Sanskrit poet Mahakavi Kalidas on his birthday. Many Learned scholars from Banaras, Ujjain, Kumaon etc. come here for Kavi Sammelan & debate. Cultural programs are also organized during this period.
Tehri Garhwal
Chandrabadni Fair
This fair has a legendary background. Gautam Rishi used to go for a sacred bath in the Ganga every morning. For him, this had become part of his everday life.
Once, the king of Gods- Indra asked Surya ( Sun) as to who was the most beautiful woman on the earth. The Sun parried the question and said " Most of people are busy in their work when I shine during the day and it is very difficult for me to judge as to who is ugly and who is beautiful". Indra asked the same question to Chandradev ( Moon God) who said that Ahilya, the wife of Gautam Rishi resding at the confluence of Yamuna and Tamsa was the most beaytiful woman on the earth. Hearing this, Indra was overtaken by evil and lust and made up his mind to aquire Ahilya by hook or crook. Unbecoming of the king of Gods as he was, Indra entered the Ashram ( hermitage) of Gautam at midnight and mimicked the call of a cock. Unaware of the wicked designs of Indra,Rishi Gautam set out for bathing in Ganga as usual, mistaking as the dawn. Finding Ahilya alone at home as soon as the sage left, Indra knocked the door and impersonating as Gautam, tried to bluff her. Ahilya was a pious hearted lady. She sensed the evil designs of Indra and cursed him to be a leper with a thousand eyes. Meanwhile, Gautam reached Ganga and entered the holy water for bath. The river Goddess was pleased with the punctuality and devotion of Gautam. She asked him to return home immediately as his wife was in trouble. The Rishi turned back in a hurry, leaving his Kamandal ( sacred pot) there. Later, the Goddess Ganga herself returned the Kamandal, filling it with holy water, which was set up in the Ashram in the form of a sarovar ( tank). She also gave a boon that the tank's water will be equal in holiness to the actual Gangajal and those who have a holy dip in the tank will earn the same blessing as one who has a holy dip in the Ganga. Since then, this place, which is about 8kms. on Dehradun-Saharanpur Road, is a holy bathing place of religious importance. Thousands of devotees visit the spot in April and October, when a big fair takes place here.
Surkhanda Devi Fair
Surkhanda Devi Fair is held on the Ganga Dussehra day at Surkhanda Devi temple, located at a distance of 33kms. from Mussoorie. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Durga and is an important pilgrimage centre. It can be reached by trekking about 2kms. from Kaddukhal via Dhanolti on the road to Chamba. The worship of the Goddess is the main attraction of this fair. Besides folk music and dance, the traditional handicrafts are also on display.
Kunjapuri Fair
This fair is held in October every year during Navratras at Narendra Nagar. Over fifty thousand people gather here to participate in various activities. Display of skill and strength by the youth, handicrafts and handmade articles are main attractions of this fair.
Magh Mela
Magh Mela takes place on the occasion of Makar Sankranti ( January) in Uttarkashi every year. It is an important event of the district from religious, cultural and commercial point of view. A large number of local people and tourist participate in the mela, with many pouring in from different parts of Kumaon, Garhwal and other parts of Uttar Pradesh.
Makar Sankranti
This fair of Uttarkashi is the most famous fair of the entire Bhagirathi valley. During this fair the local deities of the surrounding areas are brought in a procession to Uttarkashi. They are bathed in the Bhagirathi river and after that they are taken to pay respects at the Vishwanath temple.

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