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Himachal Fair & Festival

The Shivratri fair Mandi was started by Raja Ajber Sen, 300-400 years ago at Purani Mandi. Suraj Sen had 18 sons, al of whome died in his lifetime. Suraj Sen got a silver image crafted and named it Madho Rao to which he considered to be the King of the State of Mandi thereafter and all the rulers had to serve the state as servants of Madho Rao and caretakers of the State. The illustrious Madho Rao made by the golsmith Bhima, in the year 1705, o Thursday, the 15th Phagan. This date corresponds to A.D. 1648.

King of Kangra, Sansar Chand invaded Mandi state in 1792 taking its ruler Ishwari Sen prisoner for twelve years who was got released by Gurkha invaders who attacked Kangra and Mandi states. Gurkha invaders returned Mandi state to Ishwari Sen who received a warm reception when he returned to his headquarters. King invited all hill deities and organised a grand function on his return and the occasion happened to be Shivratri festival. It is believed that thereafter the practice of organising such function during Shivratri continued year after year and is still in force. In the Shivratri fair, the village gods are carried into Mandi to do homage to Madho Rao and the Raja. The fairs for seven days; but is is general rule that each god on arrival shall pay his respects to Madho Rao before he proceeds to the palace to salaam the ruler. On the second day of the fair, a parade of gods is held in Padal. the large open plain in the angle between the Beas and Suketi.

NAVAHI DEVINabahi is situated in the village Sangroh on the Hamirpur border in the western portion of the district. The name is variously derived, but the most probable derivation relates to the fact there were formerly nine temples situated there. At present there are three or four shrines only, the most important being that of Nabahi Devi, the rest being mostly small Shivals. The temples are said to be have been despoiled by Muhammadans, but while they were still busy with their looting a shower of cannon balls fell from heaven and drove them off. To the sceptical one of the balls is shown, still perched, as it fell, on a broken column. A largefair is held in June when about ten thousand votaries from Mandi, Hamirpur,Bilaspur and Kullu gather together.

At about 24 Kms from Mandi, at Rewalsar Basakhi Fair is held on the first Baisakh each year, in the honour of Rishi Lomas, which is attended by several thousands of both sexes. An ealier fair take place in Phagan, but this essentially of Budhist interest, a considerable number of Tibetian, Lahaulis and Kanawaris performing the pilgrimage each year.

Nalwar Fair of Sundernagar held in the month of April. It is famous for the trading of cattle besides its religious and cultural importance.

This fair held at village Kao in Karsog Sub-Division, Started during second World War, to pray to godess Kamaksha to end the war.

Held every year in the month of June. Local people participate in large number showing the glimpse of local culture in its most colorful form. People throw gold and silver coins in the lake in reverence to God Shiva.

Kuthah fair held in the month of May for a week in the beautiful Janjehli Valley in Gohar Sub-Division.

Held every year in the month of June, the fair depicts local culture of hill people besides attendance by the local dieties.

Held every year in the month of August for three days. reflecting local hill culture and religious fervor of people to its best

Besides these there are many other fairs such as Mamailfair in Karsog, Nalwari at Barchhwar and Bhangrotu etc.

Fairs and festivals are the most important part of the life of hill folk. Besides, a number of fairs organised at different places throughout the district, some festivals like Navratra (Nine auspicious days); Basoa- a festival of crops; Bakarmala, Chidan Mala, Haryalitri - festival relating to cattle wealth; Saayar - another crop festival; Naag Panchami, Gugga festival, Deepavali and Shivratri are some of the major festivals celebrated in the district during different seasons.