Culture Spiti Valley

Festivals and Fairs in Spiti Valley

Fairs and festivals in Spiti
Written by Harnaaz kaur

Spiti Valley never leaves one unimpressed with the serene and picturesque beauty it has to offer. But, getting to know about the culture which is yet to be fully discovered, is one of the best ways to explore Spiti Valley

No matter when you visit Spiti Valley, there are one or other Festivals and Fairs in Spiti Valley that you can be a part of. Having a glimpse at the rich and authentic culture of this pristine valley will surely make your journey more special.

If you’ve always wondered about those colorful festivals and fairs the main character in your favorite movie always happens to be a part of, then here is your sign to be the main character of your life and begin exploring the culture of Spiti through its festivals.

Festivals and Fairs in Spiti Valley that you can’t miss: 

1. La Darcha Festival

Festivals and Fairs in Spiti Valley
La Darcha Festival in Spiti Valley

The celebration commences: In the Third Week of August Where in Spiti Valley? All over Lahaul/Spiti

First on the list of Festivals and Fairs in Spiti Valley is the La Darcha festival which initially started off as a trade fair. Now, it is a reflection of the beautiful culture of Spiti Valley which is yet to be fully discovered.

A unique, one-of-a-kind celebration that is a blend of culture and economy. The festival is named after the mountainous village Darcha.

La Darcha is a multi-day festival that celebrates the historical trade relations between different Himalayan regions. The festival has always been a grand display of the culture of Spiti Valley. However, in the year 1962, it was discontinued owing to the Indo-China War.

La Darcha, as we know it now, with all the customs and traditions commenced again in the year 1980. This comeback was an opportunity for all the enthusiastic traders from all over the Himalayan region to come together again.

Additionally, some of the major attractions that make La Darcha a unique festival are remarkable Buddhist sermons and Archery Competitions.

During the festival, Chaam and Buchan Dances by the locals will make you want to join in.

The authentic display of crafts, antique merchandise, and an array of paintings and rhinestones will help you understand the culture of Spiti through its art.

To conclude, All of these make for some of the most cherishable souvenirs that will stay with you as a reminder of the beautiful Tibetan culture that you experienced here.

2. Fagli Festival 

Festivals and Fairs in Spiti Valley
Fagli Festival in Spiti Valley

The Celebration commences: In the second week of February Where in Spiti? Pattan Valley

The Fagli Festival is a week-long celebration where locals take blessings from God and welcome the harvest season. The festivities begin with the lighting of lamps all around the valley on a moonless night. It marks the end of winter and the arrival of spring.

To celebrate the occasion, a two-foot bamboo stick is placed on the ground with a white bedsheet covering it, to represent an angel dressed in white. The figure known as Baraza is adorned with accessories and marigold flowers.

Additionally, Local men who take part in the celebration wear headpieces made out of fresh flowers, and a hand-knitted tunic made of dry leaves. Moreover to complete their look by wearing hand-carved masks which are passed down through generations.

They keep dancing and gently stir to the rhythms of drum beats and trumpets in this one-of-a-kind traditional attire. It is indeed one of the most beautiful experiences to witness in Spiti Valley. 

3. Pauri Fair 

Image Source: Vargiskhan

The Celebration commences: In the Third Week of August Where in Spiti? Lahaul

The fair which is also known as Pori Fair is celebrated with enthusiasm and with the intent to spread love all around in the summer season in Spiti Valley.

It has always been regarded as one of the most prominent fairs in Lahaul and still holds great significance to this day.

This fair is a perfect blend of festive interaction and pilgrimage rituals. It is a two-day long festival, for which everyone starts preparing a week prior.

The sun rises with the devotees praying and engaging in religious activities. To attain the blessing and peacefulness, they pay a visit to the Triloknath statue.

During the festivities, the mantra, Om Mani Padme Hum, is repeated every morning and evening. Devotees perform three to seven rotational circumambulations of the gallery/rotating the worship pedals.

Afterward, in the evening, everyone dances around in glee. The evening event is filled with lip-smacking food and a cluster of shops and stalls are also set up.

In addition, on the second day of the fair, a procession leads people to the spring area. This is led by the Thakur of Triloknath pedaling on a decorated horse.

Their venue is the location where, according to folklore, seven lords, the youngest of whom was Trilokinath, appeared from seven springs in the past. This is the most interesting and important fair ritual. It is indeed one of the most beautiful festivals in Spiti Valley.

Listen to a Folk Tale

4. Losar Festival 

Festivals and Fairs in Spiti Valley
Losar Festival in Spiti Valley

Celebration commences: In the Third Week of August Where in Spiti? Shashur Monastery

Losar marks the beginning of the Tibetan New Year. It is a three-day-long celebration wherein everyone wears new clothes and is in a festive mood. It is one of the most awaited festivals in Spiti Valley.

For instance, the houses are properly cleaned and accessorized with floral arrangements. Locals draw auspicious signs on the walls with flour.

A few interesting things that you can witness only in this Festival are the Cham dance performed in the monastery. It is a symbolic way of dancing into the New year and leaving behind the past.

Additionally to this, a group of three to four performers plays their instruments within every house all across the valley. They clap and cheer to welcome the New Year with great gusto. They stroll from door – to – door in the following manner, calling out ‘Rash Mashi’ to wish people. ‘Rash Mashi’ translates to Happy New year.

Interestingly, the festival lasts for 15 days although the main celebrations are conducted in the very first three days. The scrumptious cake called ‘Kapse’ and an alcoholic drink ‘Chang’ is specially prepared to add to the celebration.

5. Tribal Fair 

Festivals and Fairs in Spiti Valley
Tribal Fair in Spiti Valley

The celebration commences: In August Where in Spiti? Keylong

The Fair coincidentally is celebrated around the same time as Independence day. Therefore the fair can be experienced from 14th August to 16th August in Keylong.

This is also popularly known as Kumbh of Spiti valley. Some of the major highlights of the fair include authentic folk dances and soulful melodies. Along with colors as bright as everyone’s smile who is celebrating.

The fair is important in the valley not just because it helps to bring in a great business, but also because it draws people of different cultural backgrounds together.

Even though it is more about the trading aspect, it connects locals with tourists and artists as well.

Thus, in addition to the local artists, performers and cultural artists from Chandigarh, Dharamshala, Leh, Chamba, Kullu, and Spiti are invited.

Recommended read: Spiti Valley Travel Tips

6. Gochi Festival 

To visit in 2022
Gochi Festival in Spiti Valley

The celebration commences: In February Where in Spiti? Keylong

This Festival also known as Gotsi is one of the most unique ones on our list of Festivals in Spiti Valley.

In this festival, the observance is about the blissful arrival of the son into the family. Celebrations by locals are held with utter pride and contentment.

One can experience this unique junction in February in Chandra-Bhaga, Lahaul. Along with the unique reason to celebrate this festival, it includes customs that many people are unaware of.

One of the major ones has to be the token marriages of children. Wherein six-year-olds throw snowballs at each other to show their interest. After that, the special wine ‘Chhang’ is an add-on to this celebration.

Along with this, exceptional cakes and dancing are involved to express one’s happiness to welcome a newborn son into the family. 

You can always plan your trip to Spiti Valley around the same time as these festivals to get the most out of your experience. Additionally, to learn more about the culture you can always ask the locals, and they’ll be happy to answer, often with a charming smile.

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Harnaaz kaur

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