Nainital is a cosmopolitan locality and abounds faiths and believes associated with various and sects of people living here through generations. The sixteen sankars of life as enunicated in Hindu religion are observed with slight modifications and amendenments which make the Kumaoni style of observance. Hill temples are the monuments having admixture of deep sense of art and culture. Sculpture varies with time of inception of the temple. The mode of worship is also different in many aspects from that of the plains. Modern day temples are more alike the temples of the plains, and the older ones fit to the Kumaoni influence.
These temples act as the nucleus of the social and cultural activities. After harvesting season people mostly relax, rejoice, fance and sing thus a festival is generated. At the transition of sun from one constellation to another Sankranti is observed. Each sankranti has a fair or festival connected to it somewhere in Kumaon.
Originally conceptualized by Baj Bahadur Chand, a contemporary of the Mughal king Aurangzeb, Nanda Devi Melas are celebrated at many places in Kumaon. Almora, Nainital, Nauti, Dandidhara, Munsyari and Ranikhet are among the most notable venues. The procession carrying the Dola of Nanda Devi in Almora witnesses huge crowds of devotees. People pray for prosperity, both material and spiritual, at the fair.
The fair is held in the month of September at the Nanda Devi temple of Almora that was built during the reign of Raja Udhyot Chand. The Nanda Devi fair has great religious and cultural significance as it is held in memory of Goddesses Nanda and Sunanda. The fair traces its origin to the reign of Raja Kalyan Chand in the 16th Century that makes it all the more important, historically.
NAINITAL - TRADITION FOLK DANCE CHOLIA
Durga Puja Festival Nainital
FAIRS AND FESTIVALS OF NAINITAL, KUMAON & UTTARAKHAND
Phooldeyi or Phooldeli (Approx.14th March),
It is celebrated in the months of March/April. On the occasion of Phooldei, young girls put the first flowers of the season on the entrance or threshold of every house in the village, for good luck throughout the year. This is a big example of how communities are closely bonded and linked in the hills of Kumaon as no one puts these flowers in front of their own houses alone.
Bikhauti (Approx 14 April),
On the first of the navaratris (nine day fasting period) in the month of Chaitra, women sow seven types of grains. The germination of these grains symbolizes the future harvest. On the tenth day, the yellow leaves, called Harela, are cut people put them on their heads and tuck them behind their ears. During this very month of Chaitra (March-April) brothers send gifts for their sisters. These presents are called ‘Bikhauti’
Hariyala - Harela (Approx 16th July),
Celebrated in the month of Shravan (July- august), the month of festivals, to commemorate the wedding of Lord Shiva and Parvati, the festival is also associated with the arrival of the rainy season and the new harvest. On this day people make clay statues (Dikaras) of Shiva, Parvati, Ganesh etc. and worship them. The overworked bullocks find a rare a rest on the occasion of Harela.
Gheeya Sankranti or Olgia (Approx 16th Aug),
Olgia is celebrated on the first day of Bhado (middle of August), when the harvest is lush and green, vegetables are in abundance and the milch animals very productive. In ancient times sons-in-law and nephews would give presents to fathers-in-law and maternal uncles, respectively, in order to celebrate Olgia. Today agriculturists and artisans give presents to the owners of their land and purchasers of their tools and receive gifts and money in return. Binai (oral harp), datkhocha (metallic tooth pick), metal calipers, axes, ghee, vegetables and firewood are some of the presents exchanged on this day. People put ghee on their foreheads and eat ghee and chapatis stuffed with 'urad' dal. It is believed that walnuts sweeten after this festival. This festival, which is a celebration of the produce of the land, is now seldom celebrated.
Khatarua(Approx 17th Sep.),
Khatarua signifies the arrival of the autumn season, a very important time of the year for the pastoral - agricultural society and is celebrated on the first day of the month of Ashwin in mid September. Bonfires, around which children dance, and offerings of cucumber to the fire of Khatarua mark the celebrations. Cucumbers’ offerings, as is the popular belief, destroy all evil influences.
Uttarani or Kale Kaua (Approx 14 January),Held on gigantic scales, the fair is held simultaneously at a number of places like Nainital, Bageshwar, Rameshwar, Salt Mahadev, Chitrashila (Ranibagh), Pancheshwar among others on the auspicious day of Uttarayani. The Dola of Chaumu is brought down to the temple at Pancheshwar. The festival of Uttarayani holds a special place in the culture of Uttarakhand, in general, and Kumaon, in particular.
Basant Panchami, Samvastar Pareva
Celebrated to commemorate the coming of the spring season and, also, the end of winter, Basant Panchmi is generally celebrated during the traditional month of Magh (January - February). People worship Goddess Saraswati, use yellow clothes or handkerchiefs and, in a few places, people put a yellow tilak on their foreheads. With this festival, the extremely popular holi baithaks also begin. Batsavitri are the mostly observed Sankranties throughout the region. This festival is celebrated on the Krishna amavasya (last day of the dark half of the month) of Jyestha and on the day married women worship Savitri and the Bat or banyan tree (Ficus benghalensis) and pray for the well being of their spouses. Women observe fast in honour of Savitri and Satyavan and remember how Savitri through her intense devotion saved her husband from the claws of death..
Nainital Autumn Festival - Sharad Utsav
Nainital's the annual autumn festival named ‘Sharadutsav’. Apart from presenting the local cultural dance to the audience the programme includes a wide range of show. Every year Renowned singers are invited for the audience for a blend of Bollywood songs and Sufi music.
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