Hills of India have such rich cultural heritages hidden amidst beautiful mountains and picturesque valleys. Though the major Indian festivals are celebrated here in more or less the same way, yet the local festivals of the people of the Himalayas are even more charming. Here we bring to you the most culturally abundant festivals being celebrated in the Indian hills:
1. Hemis Festival, Ladakh
Hemis Festival is a form of showcasing the victory of good over evil. The masked dance performances during this festival are dedicated to Lord Padmasambhava, the founder of Tantric Buddhism.
2. Naro Nasjal Festival, Ladakh
Naro Nasjal Festival bears special significance due to the uncovering of the statue of Guru Naropa. The celebrations take place in the Zanskar Valley with the Black Hat Dance as the major attraction for the people.
3. Kalachakra Festival, Ladakh and Sikkim
Kalachakra Festival is probably the most important festival of the Buddhist sect. It is during this festival that His Holiness the Dalai Lama addresses his devotees. There are also certain ritualistic dance performances organized by the monks of the Namgyal Monastery.
4. Khangchendzonga Festival, Sikkim
Sikkim gets all lively during December with the onset of Khangchendzonga Festival. The festival is marked by various sports events and activities like trekking, mountain biking, kayaking, white-water rafting, etc.
5. Dosmoche Festival, Leh
The Leh Palace, Likir Monastery and Deskit Monastery get lit up with the spirit of the Dosmoche Festival in the month of February. Rituals are backed by various performances and musicals for a couple of days.
6. Losar Festival, Tribal Himalayas
Celebrated in the tribal regions of Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim, Losar marks the beginning of the Tibetan Year as per the Tibetan Calender. The festival lasts for about 15 days and is held in January with masked dances as the main attraction.
7. Ladakh Harvest Festival, Leh
The crop yielding season is welcomed by the people of Leh with a procession up to the Polo ground where an extravaganza of events awaits the masses. The celebrations are accompanied by the Polo tournament, which is quite a big deal in the area.
8. Sindhu Darshan Festival, Ladakh
This festival is not too extravagant, yet is very significant as it commemorates the bravery and pride of the Indian soldiers who have been protecting the region from invasions. The festival takes place on the banks of River Indus in the months of May and June.
9. Kullu Dussehra, Himachal Pradesh
Kullu Dussehra is an international festival and is held in the month of October starting from the day of Vijaya Dashmi and lasting for seven days. The festival observes various deities from all over the region coming in to pay homage to Lord Ram.
10. Mandi Shivratri, Himachal Pradesh
Another international fair of the state, Shivratri in Mandi is celebrated with a lot of pomp and show. The local deities come down to the town to charm the occasion with religious fervor. People enjoy the usual gaiety of the festival fair.
11. Lasoong, Sikkim
Lasoong is celebrated at the end of the 10th month of the lunar calendar to welcome the New Year as per the traditions of Sikkim. At the Tsu La Khang Palace, one can witness various dance performances going on to celebrate the festivity.
12. Solung, Arunachal Pradesh
The first day of September each year marks the beginning of the Solung Festival in Arunachal Pradesh. The tribes of the region offer prayers to the goddess of crops and thank her for bestowing blessings of good harvest on them.
13. Nanda Devi Raj Jat, Uttarakhand
This is a holy yatra, also called the Mahakumbh of the Himalayas. The festival is very important for the residents and believers from other parts of the country ans world because of its occurrence after twelve long years.
14. Hornbill Festival, Nagaland
The Hornbill Festival has become quite popular throughout the world. As many as 16 tribes come in to showcase their dancing and hunting skills. The celebrations are also charmed with musical evenings by rock bands from all over the country.
15. Bohaag Bihu Festival, Assam
Bohaag Bihu is the most celebrated among the three Bihu Festivals enjoyed every year. The festivities also mark the beginning of the New Year in this region. Bohaag Bihu is celebrated at the onset of the seeding season during April.
16. Nongkrem Dance Festival, Meghalaya
This festival is celebrated in Shillong in the month of November each year. The Khasi tribe celebrates this occasion as a harvest thanksgiving day. People dressed in beautiful traditional attires perform their folk dance at several places.
17. Chapchar Kut, Mizoram
Chapchar Kut is a festival which celebrates the harvest of bamboo in Mizoram. The famous Bamboo dance performed during this festival is a major attraction for tourists. Apart from this, handicraft exhibitions are a must see to witness the cultural heritage of the area.
18. La Darcha Festival, Spiti
La Darcha Festival commemorates the ages old Indo-Tibetan relationship. Traders from various parts of the hilly areas come together at Kaza to prepare a shopping arena for the villagers and sell their products. Horse races, archery and dance performances can also be witnessed during the festival.