Fairs & Festivals
Festivals Lohri (January)
marks the culmination of winter, and is celebrated on the 13 Jan a day before Makar Sankranti. For Punjabis, this is an important festival. Lohri celebrates fertility and the spark of life. People gather round the bonfires, throw sweets, puffed rice and popcorn into the flames, sing songs and exchange greetings. The prasad comprises of things like til, gazak, gur, moongphali, phuliya and popcorn. There is puja, involving parikrama around the fire and distribution of prasad. This symbolizes a prayer to Agni, the spark of life, for abundant crops and prosperity. The first Lohri of a bride is extremely important. The first Lohri of a newborn baby, whether a girl or a boy, is also equally important. Children go from door to door singing and asking for the Lohri prasad.
Basant Panchami (Feb-Mar)
This festival is celebrated in Haryana, Delhi and Punjab to welcome spring season. The main attraction of this festival is Kite flying. Holi (March)
Holi is celebrated with considerable zest, particularly in the area bordering Uttar Pradesh. Four days before the festival, married women play Holi with their men folk by throwing coloured water on them. The day following Holi, Dhulandi (Phag), men folk throw water on women who retaliate by a mock beating with sticks or kolras (twisted cloth strips). The men act as if they are powerless and they pretended attempts at shielding themselves lead to much fun and amusement. Gangore (Mar-Apr)
It is celebrated on Chet Sudi-3. Idols of Ishar and Gangore are taken out in procession and songs in their praise are sung till they are immersed into water. This spring festival is held in honor of Gauri, the goddess of abundance. Girls dress up in their finest clothes and pray for a spouse of their choice, while married ladies do the same for the happiness of their husbands. Girls worship the goddess throughout the preceding fortnight. Colorful images of Gauri, beautifully dressed and bejeweled, are taken out in procession with the town band. Thousands of people take part in the procession of the Gangore image from village to village. Baisakhi (April)
This is the New Year's Day for Panjabis is celebrated with joyous music and dancing . It falls on April 13, though once in 36 years it occurs on 14th April. It was on this day that the tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, founded the Khalsa in 1699. Sikhs visits Gurdwaras and listen to kirtans. After the prayer, kada prasad (sweetened semolina) is served to the congregation. The function ends with langar, the community lunch. Processions are taken out, at the head of which are the panj piaras. Mock duels and bands playing religious tunes are part of the processions. School children also enthusiastically take part in them. For people in villages this festival is a last opportunity for relaxing before they start harvesting of corn. Processions and feasting follow readings of the holy scripture of the Sikhs, Guru Granth Sahib. Nirjala Akadshi (June)
It falls in the month of Jaishth. The women keep fast and abstain from water.
It is celebrated on Sawan Sudi - 3. It is celebrated to welcome 'Sawan' or the rainy season. After first showers of Sawan, a small red insect called Teej in Haryana comes out from earth's soil. Swings are set up in the open courtyards and Teej gets the first swing of the season. Girls apply henna on their hands and feet and are excused from household chores on this day. On Teej girls receive new clothes from their parents and the mother sends a baya or gift. Puja is performed in the morning. The baya which consists of a variety of foodstuff, is placed on a thali at the place of worship where a chowk (square) has been decorated, an idol or a picture of Parvati is installed. The evenings are set aside for singing and dancing. Janamashtami (August)
It is celebrated as the birth anniversary of Krishna, the incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The temples witness an extravagant and colorful celebration on this occasion. Raslila is performed to recreate incidents from the life of Krishna and to commemorate his love for Radha. The image of the infant Krishna is bathed at midnight and is placed in a cradle. Devotional songs and dances mark the celebration of this festive occasion all over Northern India. This festival is celebrated with a special fervor by people of 'Brij Bhoomi' area of Faridabad district. Gugga Naumi (Aug-Sep)
This is a religious festival, celebrated all over Haryana. It is connected with snake-worship and observed in August-September. A number of legends have clustered around Gugga Pir or Zahir Pir (the saint). He is also referred to as Baggar wala because of his grave near Dadrewa near Ganga nagar, a tract over which he is said to have ruled. He was reputed to have the power of curing people of snake-bite. Monday is his day, the date being 9th. The shrine is distinguished by its square shape with minarets and domed roof. It is called 'Mari'. Dusshera (Oct-Nov)
Dussera is probably the chief Hindu festival, being associated with the great Epic Ramayana and its renowned hero, Rama. The celebrations last nearly a month. First come the Shradas, early in September and lasts over a fortnight. The Brahmins are fed on these days in memory of the deceased elders of the family. The Shradas are followed by Nauratas, which as the name implies are nine in number. Oats sown in the field or deposited in big utensils, are watered on each of these days. On the Dussera day, pudding (halwa) is eaten with rice and cured. The Brahmins are also fed. All the members of the family except woman put stalks of green oats on their head. Ram Leela is enacted in various places. On the last day the effigies of the demon king Ravana and his supporters are burned, which forms the concluding event. Diwali (Oct-Nov)
Deepawali is a festival of lights symbolizing the victory of righteousness and the lifting of spiritual darkness. The word 'Deepawali' literally means rows of 'deepaks' or 'diyas' (clay lamps). It is celebrated 20 days after Dusshera on the 13th day of the dark fortnight of the month of Asvin (Oct-Nov). Continuing the story of Ram, this festival commemorates Lord Ram's return to his kingdom Ayodhya after completing his 14-year exile. Twinkling diyas and candles light up every home and firework displays are common all across the country. The goddess Lakshmi, who is the symbol of wealth and prosperity, is also worshipped on this day. Lord Ganesh, the symbol of auspiciousness and wisdom, is also worshipped in most Hindu homes on this day. The occasion of Diwali sees the spring-cleaning and white-washing of houses; decorative designs or rangolis are painted on floors and walls. New clothes are bought and family members and relatives gather together to offer prayers, distribute sweets and to light up their homes.
Fairs Gopal-Mochan Fair
In Ambala, the most famous fair is held at Gopal-Mochan near Bilaspur in Jagadhari tehsil. There is a sacred tank of the same name in the place. The legend is that once Lord Shiva while rescuing Saraswati, who was being pursued by Brahma, struck off the latter's head. A lock of hair was left in Shiva's hand and his body was blackened. For a long time Shiva was unable to cleanse himself. One night, when he was resting at a cow shed he overheard the conversation between a cow and her calf. The calf said he was going to kill his master, a Brahmin, to avoid being castrated. The cow tried to dissuade the calf from the sin, but the calf said, it knew of a tank where it could cleanse itself from the sin of killing a Brahmin. Shiva followed the calf the next day and saw it kill its master. The bodies of the cow and the calf where then blackened until they cleansed themselves by bathing in Gopal Mochan tank. Shiva followed their example and was like wise cleansed. Since then the water of Gopal-Mochan have retained their virtue. It is considered by many to be more efficacious than the waters of the Ganges at Hardwar. The Rin Mochan is another water tank situated close to the Gopal-Mochan. A big fair is held in the village in the month of Kartik.
Haryana's most famous fair is held in honour of the goddess of small-pox, Masani whose temple is in Gurgaon village. There is a legend about this temple. There was a shrine, sacred to the goddess Devi, locally known as Masani at the village of Kesopur in the Delhi district. Some two hundred and fifty years ago according to tradition, the Goddess appeared in a dream to one Singha, a Jat of some influence and a resident at the village of Gurgaon. The Devi communicated to Singha that she wished to leave Kesopur and directed him to construct a shrine for her in his village. At the same time, she authorised the fortunate Singha to appropriate all the offerings at her shrine. The orders of the goddess were promptly carried out. The shrine was built and flourished, its fame spreading far and wide. A visit to the shrine is an antidote for small-pox and women from great distances flock to it with their children to obtain this benefit. The greatest crowd is in April-May but all the year around steady stream of people flows, Monday being the favourite day. Singha and his heirs enjoyed the offerings for two hundred years.
At the village of Basdoda in Rewari tehsil there is an ancient temple of Bhaironji. A fair is held on Chatsudi 11th, and the two following days. For this, people come from as far as Delhi and Agra.
Mela Devi is held at Beri in Jhajjar of Rohtak district, twice a year. According to a Legend, the image of goddess Bhumeshwari Devi was brought from the hills and installed at Beri. Newly married couples blessed with a son come here to pay homage. Mela Baba Mast Nath is held in February-march each year at the Samadhi of the saint at Bohar near Rohtak. It is also held at Khera Sadh and the people worship both at the Samadhi and the temple. Sat kumbh fair is a religious celebration and is held at Kheri Gujar (Sonepat) twice a year. At the village of Khori-Shah-Choka in the Firozpur-Jherka tehsil of the Gurgaon. Meos gather in large numbers on the 5th to 7th Jama-di-Ul-awal, the object of their pilgrimage being the tomb of Saint Shah Choka. Hindus also attend the Mela. This fair used to be a great occasion for elopements. Mansa Devi Mela is held in Bilaspur village near of Mani Majra (Chandigarh). There are two temples dedicated to the goddess here. The fairs are held twice a year in March-April (Chat shudiashtami) and September-October (asoj shudi ashtami). Chetar Chaudas Mela is annually held in Pehowa, which has the holy Saraswati tank also called 'Saraswati Teertha' or 'Prithudak Teertha'. This Teertha also finds mention in the ancient Hindu texts. Here in this place the Chetar Chaudas Fair is held in the spring season. Pilgrims, both Sikhs and Hindus, flock to this place to offer 'pinds' for their ancestors. It is claimed that here in this holy spot, Yudhister had offered 'pinds' in memory of all their relatives killed in the Mahabharat war. Pilgrims take bath in the Saraswati tank during this fair.
It is a village which lies 20 Kms from Delhi between the villages of Baharpur and Lakkarpur. It is famous for the crafts fair held between the 1st and 15th February every year. The Surajkund Crafts is an annual event that highlight some of the finest handloom and handicraft traditions of the country. The objectives is to create a rural ambience for the foreign and domestic tourist to see, to educate patrons both from abroad, urban centres and educational institutes about the fascinating technique and skills involved in craft creation, to introduce crafts and craftspersons directly to the buyers and help them find their patrons, to Identify, nurture and preserve languishing crafts of the country and save it for posterity. Suraj Kund is a beautiful tourist location of Haryana Tourism and in its lovely setting, folk painters, metal workers, stone and wood carvers, tie dye craftspersons, embroiders, lace makers, textiles printers, carpet and loom weavers, producers of silk fabrics, jewellers and sculptors- execute and display their skills. The fortnight long celebrations also come as a food festival where popular foods of different states are available. Popular Chinese and snack foods also arrive for the event along with a special stall where patrons are introduced to the traditional foods and sweet meats of the selected theme State. Food is served in Banana leaves and claypots here. The Surajkund Crafts Mela has grown equally famous for the rhythms of folk theatre: It resonates with the formal notes of the classical genre: The heady rhythms of percussion instruments: The ballads of singing minstrels: The clebration of the simple joys of rural life and reverence of epic traditions all mingle well. All these colourful events are also presented before the audience in the open-air-theatre named Natyashala. Surajkund is well connected to Delhi, Gurgaon and Faridabad district head quarter towns by mettalled road Approachable by tour coaches, tourist taxis, own conveyance. The nearest Airport is at Delhi. The complex is a 35 minute drive from the Indira Gandhi International Airport. 25 km from Palam Airport. Delhi is the nearest Railway junction. Faridabad and Gurgaon are both linked to Delhi via Railway lines. From each of these stations travel to Surajkund has to be done by car/cab/tourist coach.
The Kartik Fair
The Kartik Cultural Festival of Haryana is the result of the consolidated effort of Haryana Tourism working with a number of allied agencies. The Kartik Cultural Festival was planned with the express view of promoting fort ambience, martial arts and the rich repertoire of both classical Indian music and dance, matching it with an equally rich variety of folk theatre. The festival had given new life to dying folk arts, martial arts and worked to bring traditional folk dances and music to the national stage. The Kartik Cultural Festival was held at the Nahar Singh Mahal that lies in Ballabgarh town. The fort, the venue of the festival was built by the forefathers of Raja Nahar Singh around 1739 A.D. Raja Nahar Singh after whom the palace is named ascended the throne in 1829 A.D. The Raja was a young king of the empire of the last Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zaffar. He gave up his life fighting for the cause of the ruler in the country's First War of Independence in 1847. The Palace of Nahar Singh was identified for beautification by the Government of Haryana and restored to its original glory by a well known team of experts of Francis Nacziarg and Aman Nath who worked on many such restoration projects. The Mahal is an out-standing specimen of architectural design. The Palace was decorated with an elaborate cupola and minars. In pattern, the palace carries a reflection of the finesse of the mahals of Bharatpur.
Bathing at Sohna
Sohna is famous for its hot springs, which have medicinal qualities, several thousand people assemble at Sohna on Somwati Amawas to bathe in sulphur springs. The crowd would be small if the festival happens to fall during harvest-time.
Sili Sate fair is held to worship Sitamata.
Madlia Naumi is celebrated at the beginning of the rainy season.
Sanjhi is celebrated for 10 days in the month of Asuj. Sarka Devi is mainly worshipped in these days.
The 'Mango Festival' and the 'Kurukshetra Festival' have also become popular annual events.