A resort town located at high altitudes amidst the Himalayas, Manali is loved the same by honeymooners as well as backpackers. Established along the river Beas, this town is known for its breathtaking natural beauty. Traveling here feels like a breath of fresh air out of the polluted metropolitan cities. The town of Manali is quite vibrant because of its local culture and people. The best manifestation of their vibrance is seen in the different Manali festivals. From spiritual to fun, these festivals will make your trip worth remembering.
7 Interesting Manali Festivals
There’s a lot to see in the different festivals of this resort town. Some of them have been listed below to give you a better clarity as to what you can expect from them during your vacation. Check them out!
1. Doongri Forest Festival
This festival happens in Van Vihar National Park and is one of the favorites amongst the local women who organize as well as volunteer it together. For this festival, they come all decked up in ethnic wear and take part in activities like singing, dancing, and more in order to pay their regards to the goddess, Hidimba Devi.
When: between the months of May and June
Highlight: Everything is arranged by the local women who also actively participate in many activities
2. Hadimba Devi Fair
The faith system of people of Manali is based on Goddess Hadimba and therefore the Hadimba Temple is counted amongst the must-visit tourist attractions in Manali. During the Spring season, the whole place is filled with colorful flowers. The fair is organized in the temple that stands tall amidst cedar trees.
When: during the Spring season
Highlight: many cultural activities happen in this event that are a delight to watch
3. Losar Festival
This festival is one of those celebrated amongst the Tibetan Community of Manali. In this festival, you’ll see people in their traditional clothes. Together, they recreate the wedding day of a local princess with Lord Padamsambhava. During the start of the month of February, the people who are a part of it can be seen getting completely indulged in different rituals and arrange for all the necessary things required for the wedding.
When: during the first week of February
Highlight: This is a great platform to witness the lively culture of Tibetan Community who participate wholeheartedly in this festival
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This is one of the most heartily celebrated festivals in Manali. The celebrations of Dussehra lasts for almost a month here and you’ll find that the whole town gets together to enjoy it. There are colorful flags all around and people wear new clothes on this day. This festival is one of the most prominent occasions in the Hindu religion.
When: usually in October
Highlight: there are processions brought out by thousands of people here and it is depicted that Lord Rama is taken on a Shobha Yatra
5. Winter Carnival
As the name suggests, it happens during that time of the month when the town is covered in snow and people are seen getting indulged in various adventurous winter sports activities. The chills of the winter season are compensated by the warmth of people as well as cultural activities that keep happening. You also get to learn a lot about the food culture of Manali.
Highlight: You can try out many winter activities by enrolling in them during this event
Suggested Read: Trekking In Manali: A Tryst With The Best Of Himalayan Trails
Baisakhi too is one of the most important festivals that is celebrated in Himachal Pradesh. Having its roots in the agricultural tradition, this festival is significant because it is celebrated as a farewell to the winter season. There are many fairs organized during this festival and activities like dancing, archery, wrestling, and more are enjoyed with full vigor.
Highlight: This is one of the festivals that will bring you closer to the cultural setup of the town of Manali
This is a well-known harvest festival that is celebrated enthusiastically in North India. This festival is quite lively and is enjoyed amongst family and friends every year. The celebrations involve a lively bonfire setup. This is one of those Indian festivals that show a lot about the North Indian culture.
When: 13th January
Highlight: Walking around the bonfire is said to be auspicious and people have a belief that this will even make miracles happen
One of the things that is common between backpackers is a vacation in Manali, which is justifiable enough because the place literally makes you want to lose yourself. The calming mountains that take your breath away and warm culture that welcomes you with open arms are enough a reason that you would want to come back here. To make your trip all the more invigorating, make sure you visit during the time when one of the above-listed Manali festivals is happening.
Frequently Asked Questions About Manali Festivals
A. Located on the banks of the river Beas, Manali is known for its scenic beauty and rich wildlife. That’s not all, Manali is also home to several adventure activities too. When in Manali, you can indulge in activities like skiing, paragliding, camping, river-rafting and trekking. Shopaholics also have a lot to explore in Manali. You can visit Khara Bazaar for shawls, check out the Charitable Trust Tibetan Handicrafts for unique Tibetan items and carpets from Gadan Thekchhokling Gompa.
A. The Tibetan New Year, Losar is celebrated in Sikkim, Tibbet, Bhutan and Nepal. In 2020, it will be celebrated between 24 and 26 February.
A. Locally known as Dhungari Temple, the Hidimba Devi Temple in Manali is dedicated to wife of Bhima. The Hidimba Devi Fair is organised during the month of May.
A. The week-long Kullu Dussehra or the renowned International Mega Dussehra festival is celebrated with fervour and gaiety in the Dhalpur Maidan in the Kullu valley. It is held in the month of October and is attended by more than 4-5 lac people from all across the Globe. The festival marks the victory of good over evil.
A. The Thantrik Trance Music Festival is from 28th December, 2019 till 2nd January, 2020.
A. There’s not much to do in Manali after dark. But, one can also always step into a cosy bar or a pub for a drink. Khyber- It’s a popular restaurant cum bar on Mall Road. Khyber is famous for trout dishes, and mouth-watering snacks. La Plage Manali is a French Restaurant, while Chopsticks is a must for all the Chinese cuisine lovers. Other than restaurants & pubs, tourists can also camp overnight at Solang Valley or stroll down Mall Road.
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