Himachal Pradesh, situated on the Western Himalayas, is an area of pristine beauty and serenity. The state’s name roughly translates to “land of snow,” which is fitting considering the range of snow-capped mountains it possesses. Known for its rich culture and beautiful, natural scenery, Himachal Pradesh is not a destination to miss out on. Travelers can explore the many river valleys and looming mountains, as well as Buddhist art and monasteries, due to the strong Tibetan influence on the area. In addition to the Tibetan influence, visitors will also find a strong British influence, particularly in the hill town of Shimla. Outdoor adventure enthusiasts will be thrilled with the activities the area offers. From skiing to paragliding, Himachal Pradesh has plenty to offer in outdoor excursions. Below we offer some unique festivals and events to the region:
- Holi Festival
Celebrated every March in Palampur, the Holi Festival or the “Festival of Colors,” is one of the city’s most lively celebrations. Traditionally, the day before Holi, the women of the town make baskets out of small twigs from the Kamal tree and then offer these to the elderly men of the town. Small bonfires are lit all over town and people chase after one another to color each other with colored powder or water. The festival – a joyous celebration to welcome spring – includes plenty of singing, dancing and laughing.
- Paragliding World Cup 2015
India will host the 2015 Paragliding World Cup in the Kangra District of Himachal Pradesh this year. The event will be held from October 24-31st. There are expected to be approximately 150 pilots participating in the competition. Himachal Pradesh, specifically the village of Bir, is ranked as the second best paragliding site in the world, following Lake Como in Italy. Thrill-seekers can enjoy the international competition or experience top-notch paragliding for themselves.
- Kullu Dussehra
Serving as one of the most important festivals in India, Kullu Dussehra takes place in the Kullu Valley – also known as the “Valley of the Living Gods.” The ten day festival occurs in October and is considered one of the most scared times of the year in Himachal Pradesh, as it represents the conquering of good over evil. Festivities include lots of drinking, dancing and some sacrificial ceremonies.
- Bird Watching Festival
Held every January in Maharana Pratap Sagar in Kangra, the Bird Watching Festival is a great time to explore the diverse avian life found in the region. The festival attracts bird lovers from all over the country to watch more than 220 different species of birds with varying colors and features. The site of the bird watching is around one of the biggest man-made lakes in India, attracting a wide variety of migratory bird species.