Manali Municipal Council
 

Fair & Fastival

Winter Carnival
Winter carnival is the most awaited event in the valley. This gay festival has been declare a state level festival. Massive participation by culture groups and students from various colleges of India marks the success of winter carnival. The festival is held at 'Manu Kala Kendra' in Manali.

Second and third weeks of January in Manali are a feast for the visitors when the five-day long festival is held.

The performers try to show their excellence and give their level best. It provides opportunities to the artists to prove themselves.

Competitions conducted include Indian classical music (vocal and instrumental), folk songs, folk dances, classical dances, group dances, group songs, fancy dress, film songs, film dances, one act plays, and street plays. The most awaited competitions are Men's personality contest and Winter Queen contest.

First day of the festival is something to behold. First day tablos are presented by various cultural groups, which is also a competitive item. The rest four days are equally inviting, offering you a substantial variety of programs. On the last day of the carnival, finals of Winter Queen contest and Men's Personality contest are held. On the last day, the chief guest distributes prizes to the victorious participants of the five-day long festival.

Spring Festival
Spring festival is also called Basantotsava or Pipal jatra and takes place at Dhalpur ground Kullu from 28th April to 30th April. This fair has been declared a state festival by the Himachal Pradesh government. As it marks the beginning of the spring season (and also the tourist season) in the valley, it is also known as Spring Festival.

Kullu is known as the valley of gods. The villages have their own gods and goddesses. It is said that in olden days, the King (or the Raja) used to sit in the Dhalpur ground with his courtiers under the Pipal Tree to look at the traditional dances. Earlier 16 Gods used to participate in the fair, but as the years rolled by, the fair lost its grandeur.

Every night during the festival, cultural programs are performed by the various cultural groups at Kala Kendra which is a big open-air theater. The cultural groups and reputed artists come from all over India to perform in the festival.

World Famous Dusshera Festival

Dusshera is a unique fair held every year in October. It is a beautiful amalgam of history, rich culture and customs. Unlike other regions of India here effigies of Ravana, Meghnath and Kumbhakarana are not burnt. This is how victory of good over evil is depicted. Kullu Dusshera starts usually on the day it ends in the rest of the country.

On the first day of Dusshera Goddess Hadimba of Manali comes down to Kullu. She is the Goddess of the royal family of Kullu. At the entrance of Kullu the Royal Stick welcomes her and escorts her to the Palace where the royal family awaits her at the entrance of the Palace. Thereafter they enter the Palace only when goddess Hadimba calls them inside. After blessing the royal family she comes to Dhalpur.

The idol of Raghunathji is saddled around Hadimba and placed in a Ratha (chariot) adorned beautifully. Then they wait for the signal from Mata Bhekhli, which is given from top of the hill. Next the Ratha is pulled with the help of ropes from its original place to another spot where it stays for the next six days. The male members of the royal family leave the palace and stay in the Dusshera ground.

More than one hundred gods and goddesses mounted on colorful palanquins participate in this procession. The ceremony feels as if the doors of heaven have been opened and the gods have come down to the earth to rejoice.

On the sixth day of the festival, the assembly of Gods takes place, which is called 'Mohalla'. It is an impressive and a rare sight to see the multihued palanquins of Gods around the camp of Raghunathji. People usually dance the whole night through. On the last day the Ratha is again pulled to the banks of river Beas where a pile of thorn bushes is set on fire to depict the burning of Lanka. Some animals are sacrificed and the Ratha is brought back to its original place. Raghunathji is taken back to the temple in Raghunathpur. Thus world famous Dusshera comes to an end in a dignified way, full of festivities and grandeur.

The Dhalpur grounds are full of vendors who come from different parts of the country to sell their goods. Various government organizations and private agencies also set up various exhibitions concerning their line of work. At night thousands of people witness the International Cultural Festival in Kala Kendra (an open-air theatre).

Kullu Dusshera ends all the fairs and festivals celebrated in the valley.

The Hadimba Devi fair is another important event in this place and a rather big fair is organized in the Hadimba Devi temple complex. People from in and around the countryside come to visit this fair, which is held during the spring season when the valley is at its spectacular and colourful best.

Winter Sports Carnival
winter sport carnival held in the mid-February draws a good number of tourists from all over the country and abroad.

 
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