Most of the fairs and festivals of Himachal are a celebration of life, or have religious roots. Practically every major festival of North India is celebrated in Himachal — and each one has its own special touch.
In addition, there are some two thousand deities worshipped in Himachal – and numerous fairs and festivals are held in their honor. From seasons to sports and from religion to trade this is a joyous celebration of life.
Practically without exception, every village has its little fair or festival. There are some which are small family or community affairs and there are others where people by the thousand may be present. Some are very unusual, like the Phulaich/Flaich or Ookhayang in Kinnaur; this among other things commemorates the end of summer and the onset of winter. Every village sends out its members to collect flowers from the hillsides and these are then gathered in the village square. It is a time of festivities and traditional dances. Other festivals are marked with buffalo fights and wrestling matches. Almost all have dances, music and folk-singing.
One of the most spectacular festivals, with nuances that are special to Himachal is the Dussehra celebration in Kullu in the month of October. This commemorates the victory of Lord Rama over the demon king, Ravana — an event that has come to symbolise the triumph of good over evil in Indian tradition. On Kullu's open Dhalpur Maidan, the chariot of Raghunath Ji (as Bhagwan Ram is known in the valley), is wheeled out of the temple and the celebrations begin when the image of the goddess Hadimba Devi arrives from neighbouring Manali. Some two hundred deities from all over the area also gather to pay tribute to Raghunath Ji.