Uttarayani is one of the most popular fairs that take place in the Bageshwar district of Uttarakhand. The fair that goes on for a week also occurs at other places in Uttarakhand such as Haneshwar, Mussoorie, and Ranibagh. Uttarayani Mela starts on 14th January during the festival of Makar Sankranti, which is celebrated on a large scale in the Kumaon and Garhwal region of Uttarakhand.
The ground of the sacred Bagnath Temple on the banks of River Sarayu becomes the venue for the fair. During the fair, several people take a dip in the river Sarayu as it is believed to be auspicious, especially when the sun moves from Southern Hemisphere to Northern Hemisphere. Bathing in the river on this day is believed to wash away one’s sins.
During the fair, a large number of people come together to participate in the fair. The local traders of the Kumaon region would engage in deals with the Bhotia traders who bring commodities from Tibet for centuries.
A Visual Treat for the Tourists
During the fair, people gather in large numbers clad in colourful and bright clothes to sing and dance and enjoy the festivities. The folk artists impress with their performances as they sing Bairas, Chancharis, and Jhoras during the celebration. A wide range of local produce such as copper and iron vessels, casks, baskets, bamboo articles, mattresses, mats, carpets, herbs, blankets, and spices can be purchased at the fair.
Highlights of the Uttarayani Fair
Here are some of the best parts of the fair:
- Kumaoni music and dance performed by ‘choliya’ dancers.
- Swing rides and food stalls.
- Cultural events by the local artists.
- Traders and weavers selling their wares.
Why the Fair is so Popular in Kumaon and the Historical Connect
When the local people had no means of entertainment such as malls, theatres, and big markets, the Uttarayani fair was the one opportunity for them to indulge in a wide range of cultural activities. The fair played a huge role during India’s freedom movement. This fair was the only platform for leaders to share social messages to the villagers and other important news, especially in the absence of any other form of communication.
The town of Bageshwar contributed significantly to the elimination of the archaic and evil ‘Coolie and Beggar’ system followed by the Britishers. Mahatma Gandhi also visited the town because of the fighting spirit shown by the people against the evil rules.
While you indulge in the various cultural activities and festivities in Bageshwar and Mussoorie, sit back and unwind at Sterling Mussoorie. The resort is perched on the edge of a precipice that overlooks the charming Doon Valley. With snow-capped mountains and deodar trees at a distance, a stay at Sterling Mussoorie will leave a mark in your heart.