Harela festival (हरेला त्यौहार) is a traditional festival celebrated mainly in the Indian state of Uttarakhand, particularly in the Kumaon region. It is a significant agricultural festival that marks the beginning of the sowing season and is dedicated to the Hindu goddess Shakti. The word “Harela” translates to “day of green” or “day of greenery” …
Uttarakhand, also known as Devbhumi (Land of the Gods), is a state in northern India rich in cultural heritage and celebrates numerous festivals throughout the year. Here are the details of some of the major festivals celebrated in Uttarakhand:
- Kumbh Mela: Kumbh Mela is one of the largest religious gatherings in the world and takes place every 12 years in Haridwar, at the confluence of the Ganga and Yamuna rivers. The event attracts millions of pilgrims who come to take a holy dip in the sacred rivers to cleanse themselves of sins and attain salvation.
- Nanda Devi Raj Jat: Nanda Devi Raj Jat is a famous pilgrimage and cultural festival held once every 12 years in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand. The festival involves a challenging trek of 280 kilometres to the Nanda Devi Temple in Roopkund. Devotees carry the idols of the goddess Nanda Devi and Lord Shiva during the procession.
- Basant Panchami: Basant Panchami is a festival dedicated to the goddess Saraswati, the deity of knowledge, music, and arts. It is celebrated in late January or early February, marking the arrival of spring. People wear yellow clothes, fly kites, and offer prayers to seek blessings for wisdom and learning.
- Harela and Bhitauli: Harela and Bhitauli are agrarian festivals celebrated in Uttarakhand to mark the beginning of the sowing season. Harela is observed during the monsoon season, and Bhitauli is celebrated in the month of Chaitra (March-April). These festivals involve worshipping the deities associated with agriculture and nature, and people plant barley or wheat seeds in small pots as a symbol of fertility.
- Kumaoni Holi: Kumaoni Holi is a unique and lively celebration of the festival of colours, Holi, in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand. It is known for its traditional songs and dances. During the festival, people sing and dance to the beats of regional musical instruments, and locals perform the “Baithki Holi” and “Khari Holi” – traditional forms of Holi festivities.
- Bissu Fair: The Bissu Fair is a famous fair held in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, primarily in the village of Gopeshwar. The fair is dedicated to Lord Bissu, a local deity. It takes place in April and involves various cultural performances, traditional games, religious rituals, and a grand procession of the Creator.
- Makar Sankranti: Makar Sankranti, celebrated in January, marks the transition of the sun into the zodiac sign of Capricorn. It is a harvest festival celebrated with great enthusiasm in Uttarakhand. People take holy dips in the Ganga river, fly colourful kites, exchange sweets made from sesame seeds, and offer prayers to the sun god.
- Ganga Dussehra: Ganga Dussehra is celebrated in June to commemorate the descent of the river Ganga from heaven to earth. Pilgrims flock to the banks of the Ganga in Haridwar, Rishikesh, and other towns to take part in religious rituals, bathe in the holy river, and seek blessings.
- Uttarayani Fair: The Uttarayani Fair, also known as the Kumbh of Uttarakhand, is held in the town of Bageshwar in January. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. The fair attracts a large number of pilgrims who take a dip in the holy Sarayu River and participate in cultural programs, fairs, and traditional sports like wrestling.
- Phool Dei: Phool Dei is a festival celebrated in the Kumaon region during the spring season. It involves young girls going from house to house, offering flowers, and singing traditional songs to bring prosperity and good luck to the households. In return, they receive blessings and gifts from their families.
- Ghee Sankranti
- Jageshwar Monsoon Festival
- Jauljibi and Thal Fairs
- Bikhauti Festival
These are some of the prominent festivals celebrated in Uttarakhand. The state’s cultural diversity and religious fervour make these festivals a vibrant and integral part of the local communities, showcasing the rich heritage and traditions of Uttarakhand. Please note that this is not an exhaustive list, and there are many more local and regional festivals celebrated in different parts of Uttarakhand. Each festival has its own unique significance, rituals, and cultural practices associated with it.
Teej festival (सुहागनों का पर्व तीज त्यौहार): The third day of Shukla Paksha of Shravan month is called Shravani Teej. It is also known as Hariyali Teej in North India. Teej festival is especially a festival of women. This fast is observed by unmarried girls to get a suitable groom and married women for their …
Fairs and Festivals related to Ganga River: India is a land of festivals and fairs. In fact, the festival is celebrated every day of the year. More festivals are celebrated in India than in the whole world. Each festival is associated with a different occasion, some welcome the seasons of the year, the harvest season, …
Kumbh Mela: Faith, belief, and Union for nectar: In the Kumbh Mela, the literal meaning of Kumbh is “pitcher, pot, pot”. It is found in Vedic texts. Its meaning is often told about water or in mythology about the nectar of immortality. The word Mela means to unite in one place, join, meet, walk together, …
Baisakhi Festival (बैसाखी का त्यौहार), Punjab, and ripe wheat crop: If we say that these three are almost synonymous with one, then probably it will not be wrong. Therefore, Baisakhi is also considered as a festival of the gaiety of the farmers, and it is also this. But Baisakhi is not just limited to Punjab, …