Voices and Culture

Uttarakhand is known as much for its natural beauty as for its people and their culture. The state's unique culture encompasses traditional rites, ritual, beliefs, folklore, customs and language. The warm and friendly residents of the states, who also call themselves Pahari, celebrate throughout the year, marking their festivals with music and dance.

Festivals

Anduri Utsav

Anduri Utsav

Anduri Utsav
Anduri Utsav or the butter festival is held in Raithal in Uttarkashi district every year to thank Lord Krishna for protecting cattle from evil forces while they were grazing in the open meadows of Dayara Bugyal. Generally held between August and September,  during this festival people smear each other with butter, milk and buttermilk.
Bat Savitri

Bat Savitri

Bat Savitri
Bat Savitri or Vat Savitri is a festival observed by married women, who fast through the day and pray for their husband's well-being. They offer prayers to Savitri, a legendary figure in Hindu mythology, who is said to have saved her husband from death. Prayers are also offered to the bat or vat (banyan) tree.
Bhitauli

Bhitauli

Bhitauli
A festival dedicated to married women of the state, Bhitauli is celebrated in the month of March or April. During this festival, a married woman's brother, parents or any other relative visit her and bring with them sweets, fruits and new clothes. A newly married girl receives her first Bhitauli in the month of Baisakh (April-May), after which it is given each year in the month of Chaitra.
Chhipla Jaat

Chhipla Jaat

Chhipla Jaat
Chhipla Jaat is a festival that is celebrated in August, once in three years, in Chhipla Kote in Pithoragarh district. During this festival, a large number of people from nearby villages congregate and walk to Najurikote in Panchchuli mountains, where the Chhipla Kedar temple is located. 
Egaas

Egaas

Egaas
Igas or Igas Diwali is celebrated 11 days after Diwali. Folklore says that the news of Lord Rama's return to Ayodhya from exile reached the hilly regions of Kumaon and Garhwal 11 days late. So, the people celebrated the Lord's victory 11 days after the rest of the country did.
Ghee Sankranti

Ghee Sankranti

Ghee Sankranti
The vibrant Ghee Sankranti festival is held in August. Mostly celebrated in villages by farmers, it marks the harvesting season to show gratitude to nature and gods for a good harvest and prosperity. Dishes are made with ghee (clarified butter).
Ghughutia

Ghughutia

Ghughutia
The festival of Ghughutiya is celebrated in the Kumaon region on the eve of Makar Sankranti (January 14th). During this festival, which is also known as "kale kauwa" (black crow) a sweet delicacy called 'ghughute' is prepared with wheat flour, jaggery, milk or ghee. The wheat dough is shaped into small flowers or geometric shapes, deep-fried and strung into a thread to form garlands.
Harela

Harela

Harela
This agricultural festival is celebrated thrice every year. The first one is celebrated during Chaitra Navratri (March-April), the second one, during Sharad Navratri (September) and the third one,  Shravan Harela, in the rainy season (July). During this festival, farmers make clay idols of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati and celebrate the wedding of the two deities. During Shravan Harela, farmers sow seeds for a good harvest.
Hilljatra

Hilljatra

Hilljatra
A festival celebrated by farmers in Pithoragarh district, Hilljatra is associated with paddy transplantation, which is held during the rainy season. During this festival, an elaborate masquerade is held to represent various types of agricultural activities and folk legends are enacted by masked dancers, representing the victory of deities over demons.
Janopunya

Janopunya

Janopunya
One of the most important festivals of Uttarakhand and the people of Kumaon celebrate Raksha Bandhan and Janopunya on the same day. On this day, people change their janeu (sacred thread worn across the body by Hindu men). The popular Bagwal fair is also held on this day in Champawat.
Kandali

Kandali

Kandali
This unique festival of Pithoragarh district coincides with the blooming of the kandali flower, which blooms once every 12 years (it last bloomed in 2011). Celebrated between August and October, during this festival, women symbolically destroy the plant, as per a folk legend.
Kanwar Yatra

Kanwar Yatra

Kanwar Yatra
Kanwar Yatra is the annual pilgrimage of kanwariyas or Lord Shiva's devotees to Haridwar, Gaumukh or Gangotri to fetch water from River Ganga. The devotees, mostly walking barefoot, carry the holy water back to their homes and pour it on idols of Lord Shiva, representing the legend that the river flows down from heaven into the Lord's dreadlocks and then onto earth. 
Khatarua

Khatarua

Khatarua
A special festival of the pastoral and agricultural community in the Kumaon region,  Khatarua is observed in mid-September to mark the onset of autumn and winter. During the festival, large quantities of fire-wood and dry grass are stacked at cross-roads or open grounds and bonfires are lit in the evening. 
Festival_Uttarakhand

Phool Dei

Festival_Uttarakhand
The spring harvest festival Phool Dei is celebrated in mid-March. During this festival young girls pluck flowers to decorate their houses. A traditional dessert made of flour, curd and jaggery are made and offered to everyone.

Fairs

bissu mela

Bissu Mela

bissu mela
Bissu Fair is also celebrated at the well-known temple of Santoora Devi in close proximity to Kempty, about 5 kms from Mussoorie. The week-long fair is The fair is held during the Shukla Paksha in the month of Chaitra in accordance with the Hindu calendar.
uttarakhand

Devidhura Mela

uttarakhand
Devidhura Temple in Champawat is known for the event of Devi Dhura Mela during Raksha Bandhan where people gather, and stones are pelted between one gathering to others who shield themselves. In 2013, Uttarakhand high court intervened that the stones are to be replaced with Flowers and fruits. 
uttarakhand

Jhanda Mela

uttarakhand
The Jhanda Mela is celebrated for the arrival of the Sikh Guru Ram Rai, at Dehradun. In the year 1699, the gurudwara was built by him, and then he hoisted his flag. Since that day, a large fair has held in the gurudwara every year on the sixth day after Holi and also the flag (jhanda) unfurled at Jhanda Chowk, Dehradun.
Uttarakhand

Kumbh Mela at Haridwar

Uttarakhand
Apart from being one of the most auspicious religious events for all the Hindus worldwide, the Kumbh Mela at Haridwar is always a grand visual feast, attracting visitors, media, filmmakers, correspondents, writers and the common curious onlookers from the world over.
uk

Nanda Devi Mahotsav

uk
Nanda Devi Mahotsav has an immense cultural and religious significance, and it is held with a great deal of pomp and grandeur, as it symbolizes the economic and cultural prosperity of the region. The mela is generally held in the month of September.
uk

Syalde Bikhauti Mela

uk
The Syalde Bikhauti Mela is held in a small town of Dwarahat in Kumaon. Dwarahat is at a distance of about 64 kms from the town of Ranikhet (28 kms from Almora). Syalde Bikhauti is celebrated on the VishuwatSankranti, celebrated on the occasion of an ancient victory. People celebrate the festival with music, songs and dances.
uk

Uttarayani Mela

uk
The Uttarayani Fair is celebrated on the occasion of Makara Sankranti which generally falls in January. The large gatherings of the mela, so bright and colourful, it is a visual treat. You will surely enjoy the impressive performances by the folk artists. They sing Jhoras, Chancharis and Bairas.