The fair and festivals of Uttarakhand are very unique and colourful. The festivals of this state are the blend of various culture and traditions.The vibrant fairs and festivals of Uttarakhand is well reflected by the various rituals, which belongs to the some folklore and legends. The ancient tradition and cultures of the state are deep rooted primarily in religion. The people of this region celebrates the festivals with much enthusiasm. Although all the major festivals of India, celebrated here, but some of the festivals are very unique and gives the reflection of the rich culture and tradition of Uttarakhand.
Maha Kumbh and Ardh Kumbh, Haridwar:
Kumbh Mela is one of the largest fairs of the world and it is a month long fair and is attended by millions of pilgrims from all over India as well as the devout from the world over. It is held every three years in a rotation at Haridwar, Allahabad, Ujjain and Nasik as per the traditional calendar during January - February. Hence Maha Kumbh is held after a gap of twelve years in Allahabad due to rotation where as Ardha Kumbh is held in the Sixth year after Maha Kumbh.
The following four locations of India, where this holy festival held as per the schedule according to the Hindu Panchang:
- Prayag (near the city of Allahabad, in the state of Uttar Pradesh) at the confluence of three rivers Ganga (Ganges), Yamuna and Saraswati
- Haridwar (in the state of Uttarakhand) where the river Ganga enters the plains from Himalayas
- Ujjain (in Madhya Pradesh), on the banks of Shipra river,
- Nasik (in Maharashtra) on the banks of Godavari river.
Basant Panchami is one of the major festival of Uttarakhand. The festival celebrates during the spring season which comes accompanied by a huge variety of flowers presenting a riot of colours to the environment. This festival is devoted to Goddess Saraswati, the people of Uttarakhand welcomes the spring singing and dancing and do the worship of the goddess Saraswati. On the occasion of Basant panchmi they wear yellow clothes. It is celebrated during the month of February or March as per Hindu calendar.
Devidhura Mela :
Devidhura Mela is one of the most popular fair of Uttarakhand which held every year on the auspicious day of Raksha Bandhan during August. It take pl Devidhura Mela ace at Varahi Devi temple of Devidhura, which is located a meeting point of Almora, Nainital and Pithoragarh, districts. It is one of the most joyful festival celebrated with folk songs and dances.
This is one of the most popular festival of Uttarakhand, which held on the first day of Chaitra in mid-March. On this special day, the young ladies as seen directing the vast majority of the functions. The festivals in a few districts are watched for the entire month with the coming of the spring. During this festival the young girls goes to the all the houses in the locality with plates consisting of coconut, rice, jaggery, flowers and they wishes them for the prosperity of the household.
Uttaraini Mela It is another popular festival of the state. This fair held on the day of Makarshankranti and it is celebrated at many places such as Bageshwar, Sult Mahadev, Hanseshwar, Rameshwar etc. Trader across the distant places such as Nepal and Tibet come to sell their products.
Nanda Devi Raj Jat Yatra:
It is one of the most popular festival in Uttarakhand as well as in India. It held one in every 12 years in Chamoli. Most from Uttarakhand as well as from other parts of India participates in the Yatra. This festival is devoted to goddess Nanda Devi, one of the most important goddess for Hindus. It is primarily a religious pilgrimage spanning for 280 kilometre. The trek takes about 20 days to be completed.
Nanda Devi Mela:
One of the most popular festival of Uttarakhand, Nanda Devi Mela held at Roopkund, Munsyari, Almora, Dandidhara and Nauti in the month of September. It is one of the most popular fair In Uttarakhand. The large number of the people participates in the procession carrying the Dola or litter of Nanda Devi.
The festival take place on the Shukla Dasami of the Jyestha month as per Hindu calendar which comes during the months of May orJune. On this special day the sacred River Ganga is worshipped. The people of Uttarakhand also bathe in the holy rivers on this auspicious day.
Uttaranchali Holi (Kumaoni Holi):
Holi is one of the most popular festival of India. Although it is celebrated across the India, but Kumaoni Holi lies in its being a musical affair, whichever may be its form, be it the Baithki Holi, the Khari Holi. Khari Holi and Baithki Holi are distinctive in that the songs on which they are based touch of folk, fun and spiritualism.
Harela and Bhitauli:
Harela and Bhitauli are one of the most popular festival of the region which is held on the first day of the Navaratra in Chatra Month. During the day women fill baskets with soil and sow seven types of grains in them. The grains germinate representing the rich future harvest.
Makar Sankranti (Ghugutia):
One of the most popular Hindu festival Makar Sankranti which is also known as Ghugutia in Uttarakhand. The festival is celebrated on 14th January every year. This festival is related to harvesting the food grains. It also dedicated to the the sun's journey from Dakshinayana to northern hemisphere (the Uttarayan) when it enters the sign of Makar (the Capricorn). On this auspicious day, people donate some amount of food among the poor and make Khichdi at their home.
Jageshwar Fair is one of the most popular festival of Uttarakhand. This fair is held on the fifteenth day of the month of Baishakh, which comes during the last day of March or early April. The festival is celebrated at Jageshwar, which is a Shiva temple. During the fair people take holy dips in the Brahma Kund and warship at the temple.