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Fair Kullu Valley

The Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh holds many different types of fairs all through the year. Many of these fairs are associated with festivals or deities. The major fairs are Dussehra, Vishu, Pipal Jatra, Ghantasani Fair, Bhunter Mela. The fairs and festivals of Kullu Valley occur at different times of the year. While some fairs are celebrated during national religious holidays, such as Dussehra, others are occasions to honor particular gods and goddesses. Some fairs are localized and limited to a particular village or area, held to commemorate a local event or deity.

Major Kullu Valley Fairs


Dussehra

This fair has its origin in the regime of Raja Jagat Singh, who ruled the region in the 17th century. It is said that the king heard rumors of a treasure being held by a local Brahmin. Unable to withstand the king's demands, the Brahmin set fire to his house, killing his entire family, and then he killed himself. Soon, the king, haunted by feelings of guilt, started having disturbing hallucinations. Many people were called to cure the king, but his malady persisted. Finally, at the suggestion of Damodar Dass, the king had the idol of Rama from Ayodhya's Tret Nath Temple installed at Raghunathji Temple in Sultanpur Kullu. As the king's malady lessened and he realized the blessings of Lord Rama, the king abdicated the throne and became a servitor at the temple. Soon, Vijaya Dashmi at the temple grew to be an elaborate event, and a fair is held there to celebrate the occasion. The fair starts with the procession of the Raghunath ji idol being carried around a designated area. The devi and devtas, numbering 100, attend the fair. The fair lasts seven days. In Dhalpur, many people gather to watch the cultural programs at the Kala Kendra. This place organizes an international dance festival to celebrate the occasion.

Shamshi Vishu

The event is held on the first Baisakh day at Khokhan Village. The legend behind the fair is associated with the rishis and great sages of the country. The local inhabitants also believe themselves to be the progeny of those sages. On this day, the goddess is taken outside the temple for worship. She is later escorted back inside after prayers.

Pipal Jatra

Also known as Vasantotsav, this fair is mainly held on the 16th day of Baisakhi. The venue is Dhalpur. There was a time when the king of Kullu personally attended the fair, and would watch the dance being held here. The fair lost some of its popularity over the years, but in the 1970s, the Himachal Academy of Arts, Culture, and Language made efforts to revitalize the event. As a result, the fair was called Vasantotsav. Classical singing and dance is the mainstay of the program organized to mark the day. Besides the cultural programs, the fairgrounds also has stalls selling agricultural tools and other products. These products are meant for the people from Lahaul who are planning to return home after spending the winter months in the Kullu Valley.

Mela Bhunter

Held in the months of June to July, at Bhunter village, this is a fair that was first organized by Suraj Pal. This is a time to mark the harvest, and grains from the recently harvested crops are cooked and offered to the gods. Later, the food is distributed among the people.

Ghatasani Fair

This fair is associated with Shiva and Parvati. Legend has it that Parvati asked Shiva to stop being favorable toward Rama, because Rama too would change. She visited Rama disguised as Sita, to prove that he could be deceived. Rama, however, saw through the disguise and asked Parvati why she had abandoned Shiva, whom Rama considered his teacher. The fair starts off with prayers to Lord Vishnu and the village deity.

Bhadoli Fair

The four day long fair is organized once every three years. According to scriptures, Parshuram meditated at the spot where the fair is held. The fair honors the devi and devtas of the region. A feast for the people is also a hallmark of this event.

The fairs are an apt way to celebrate the ancient legends, honor devi and devtas, and also serve a utilitarian purpose where people can purchase items of daily necessities from the stalls on the fair grounds.

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