Fairs / Festivals


Previously, this fair used to be celebrated  in Kibbar maidan in Spit in the month of July where traders from  Ladakh, Rampur Busher and Spiti meet in this fair to barter  their produce. Due to closure of Tibetan traders, this fair is  now being celebrated at Kaza, the headquarters of Spiti Sub  Division in the 3rd week of August. A large number of visitors  and traders from Kullu/ Lahaul/ Kinnaur meet there. It has now  become a conference of cultures of Spiti, Ladakh & Kinnaur as  also of the Indian plains.


This  fair is celebrated during summer in the 3rd week  of August every year. In earlier times this was the most  prominent fair of Lahaul. People of all casts and creed gather  there, not only from Lahaul but from Chamba and Kullu too. The  fair is combination of pilgrimage and festive activities.   Preparations are made at least a week in advance and most of the  people leave  their homes a day before the celebrations, where  they have faced darshan of  the statue of Triloknath (Shiva Lord  of Three Worlds) or Avolokiteshvara as it is regarded by  Buddhist. After paying  their obeisance, people go to the  parikrama gallery between the inner and outside walls of   temple. Pilgrims/ devotees usually complete three or seven  clockwise  circumambulations of the gallery/ rotating the   prayer wheels and  murmuring  Mantras ( OM MANI PADME HUM) every  morning and evening till they stay there. Ghee and Mustard oil  lamps are lighted continuously inside. People donate money and  Ghee/ Oil  to maintain the lamps, one of which is so big as to  accommodate 16 Kgs. of Ghee/ oil. After the prayer and rituals,  the fair begins.  Temporary shops, tea stalls and hotels are  established at    the fair  ground. As soon as darkness overtakes,  the    pilgrims dance in a huge circle to the melody of folk songs  devotional or otherwise. On the second morning, a traditional  procession is taken out, which is headed by the Thakur of  Triloknath riding on a decorated horse. Their destination is the  place where  as per traditional lores, seven gods, the  youngest  of whom was Trilokinath had appeared from seven springs in the  past.  This is the most important ritual  of the fair.  The  precession then returns to the fair ground for more   festivities. Some people  for their native places leave as soon  as the procession disperses, while others stay until the  third  day when the fair is over.


Tribal  fair coinciding with Independence day is celebrated with great  pomp and show from 14th to 16th August, at Keylong the  headquarters of the district.    People from all parts of the  valley congregate in their queer disposition and a large number  of Indian and foreign tourists gather here to witness the fair.  It is being celebrated as at State level fair. In order to make  the fair colourful , artists and cultural troupes are invited  from Chandigarh, Dharamshala, Leh , Chamba, Kullu, Spiti in  addition to local artistes.


Tsheshu fair is celebrated in  Shashur, Gemur, Kyi, Kardang Tabo  and  Mane Monasteries in the months of June.  A large number of  devotees/ people gather on these occasions.Devil dance is performed by the  Lamas bedecked in colourful dresses and wearing masks of  different birds and animals.


A  festival of lights known as Diwali is celebrated all over India  in October every year. A similar type of festival is celebrated  as Khogla in Pattan valley and Halda in  other valleys of Lahaul  at the second and third week of January.  The date is fixed by a  Lama while in Pattan valley it is celebrated to Magh Poornima  coincide with (full moon). Pencil cedar branches are cut into  strips and are tied together into bundles to make a torch called  Halda quite similar to Hola in upper regions of Shimla  district.  In the evening halda at each house are lit and  brought together at one centre place. This is repeated four to  five times, each time in honour of different deities. When  the ceremony is over, the villagers return to their houses.  The  haldas are prepared and lit in the same manner and collected at  one place where they burn to lashes. But there is slight  difference. Along with honouring  the deities, the people of  Gahar valley curse the Ranas of clans  hostile to their own.   The people of  Keylong curse the Ranas of Goushal and Kardang  threatening to bite their hearts.


Fagli, locally known as Kus or Kuns is one of the most important  festial of the Pattan valley.  It falls, after a fortnight of   Khogla on Amawasya (Moonless Night) in the first/ second week of  February. The houses are fully decorated and oil lamps are lit.  A Baraza  is set-up which consist of a  bamboo stick, two to  three feet tall, mounted on the floor. Around the stick a white  chader is  draped in such a maanner as to suggest an angel  dressed in while,  sitting in the corner, ornamented with  jewellery and marigold flowers. Delicious dishes are placed  before the Baraza along with burning incense.  The Baraza  represents the angel SHIKHARA- APPA) grand mother of the peak  and  here visit is considered to bring prosperity to the house.  According to ritual demand the head of the family and his wife  getup early in the morning  to prepare (TOTU) (A dough of  roasted barley flour and butter milk)  and kwari. The Totu is  taken upto the roof which is offered to the deities.  Kwari is  later thrown to the crows who await for it as if they have  received the invitation.  The totu is distributed among the  family members as prasada. The couple go to pay their annual  respects to their cows and sheep to express their gratitude and  acknowledge their dependence on these animals.  Rest of the  family members getup and pay their respects to their elders of  the household by bowing to them and touching their feet. After  breakfast they first visit their nearest and aged person within  the village and then the entire village community congregate to  pay their respects to each house with Marchu (Local puri). Each  day of the festival has a special name  to show its own   significance.  One day is called punha, a symbolic  representation of ploughing the fields. Since the fields are  covered under snow during the period, so symbolic ploughing is  done. Two green willow sticks representing the bullocks and two  more representing yoke and plough are moved forward in the room  in the front of the Baraza. In the following weeks feasts and  festivities continue among relatives and friends, along with the  exchange of marigold  flowers and other gifts.


There is a festival of the Bhaga valley which is celebrated in  February in the houses where a son was born during the preceding  year. The villagers gather in the morning. A dough is made of  Sattu ( roasted barley ) and is placed in a big plate. It is  lifted by four men  to the place of the village deity which is  generally an idol of stone, a tree or a bush.  A young girl  dressed in her best clothes and decked with ornaments  accompanies them. The girl carries a pot of chhang ( Local  drink). She is followed by two men, one carrying a burning stick  of pencil cedar  and the other pencil their cedar leaves tied  together in a lamb skin. The woman giving birth to the first  son in the year, dressed in her best clothes accompanies them to  pay homage to the village god. Labdagpa  the village priest  worships the God with a  bow and an arrow. The dough is then  broken and thrown away to appease the gods. The lamb skin is  placed on a tree or a bush near the idol of the village deity  and is shot at by arrows. Lohars beat drums during the  ceremony.  After the worship of the village deity is over, the  people disperse but the relatives and friends move in to group  and visit all their houses where male children are born.  Drinking and dancing go together, sometimes all through the  nights