Losar Festival, Himachal Pradesh
12/02/2021 - 14/02/2021
Lahual & Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh
We all love spending our vacations in the hills of Himachal Pradesh. The mountains see a swarm of tourists to enjoy the snow and breath-taking scenery. Is that all you can do in Himachal Pradesh? What if, we tell you, there is much more to sightseeing and activities in Himachal Pradesh? How about enjoying local festivals in Himachal Pradesh? Losar is one such festival that commands you to be a part of.
This is a Tibetan- Buddhist festival that marks the arrival of the New Year. The word Losar breaks up into two words ‘Lo’ (New) and ‘Sar’ (Year). It is celebrated in Himachal Pradesh with pomp and show.
History of Losar Festival
Losar is a Tibetan festival that originated in pre-Buddhist period when Tibetans followed the ‘Bon’ religion.This festival is carried out to celebrate the uniqueness of Tibetan ethnicity. Earlier known as the Agrarian Festival, it was organized when apricot trees blossomed. The monks decided the date of the festival according to the Tibetan lunar calendar.
Significance of Losar Festival
Losar Festival holds a religious significance for the local Tibetans residing in the towns of Himachal Pradesh. Losar Festival is a celebration of harvesting crops in the new year. However, in the old days, people celebrated the Losar Festival to ward off evil. It was a day to please the local deities. They believed that Gods will bring fortune and well being in the community.
When is the Losar Festival Celebrated in Himachal Pradesh?
In 2021, the Losar Festival will take place between 12 February - 14 February. Usually, this unique festival starts between late January-February as per the local Tibetan calendar. Losar Festival is celebrated in the entire tribal belt of Himachal Pradesh where the Buddhist population lives.
Where is the Losar Festival Celebrated in Himachal Pradesh?
Buddhist settlements in Himachal Pradesh celebrate the Losar Festival. Some of the places that reverberate with the festive celebrations are - Dorje Drak Monastery in Shimla, Tsuglagkhang Temple in Mcleodganj, and Shashur Monastery in Spiti Valley.
How is the Losar Festival Celebrated?
The Losar Festival in Himachal Pradesh is celebrated in a span of three days:
Day 1 - Lama Losar This day begins with the aroma of Tibetan culinary treats that are prepared for the festival. Houses are made spick and span, and adorned colorfully. People also hand thorn branches at their doors to ward off negative energy. Later, devotees visit monasteries and worship their spiritual head - Dalai Lama.
Day 2 - King’s Losar A special dance called ‘Chham’ is performed today for which dancers wear masks, intricate headgear, and colorful costumes. The dance showcases how the evil king - Langdarma was killed in the 9th century. ‘Methi', the procession also takes place on this day. People carry flamed torches and chant slogans to bid adieu to the previous year. Later, the torches are thrown away to prevent evil from entering the community. People also seek blessings of the monks and offer them gifts.
Day 3 - New Year’s Day On the third day, people get dressed in new clothes. Everyone visits the monasteries to pray and participate in the festivities. Families get together for dinner which includes ‘Kapse’, a type of cake. Dinner is enjoyed with a special alcoholic drink called ‘Chang’.
What Not to Miss During the Losar Festival?
- Savor Guthuk (a noodle and dumpling soup).
- Visit ancient monasteries that breathe festivity.
How to Reach Himachal Pradesh?
By Air: Gaggal-Kangra, Bhuntar-Kullu, and Jubbarhatti-Shimla airports provide easy access to various destinations in the state. Chandigarh airport and Pathankot airport are the neighboring airports.
By Train: Kalka Shimla rail line, Pathankot - Joginder Nagar Railway Line, and Una Himachal Railway Line connect Himachal Pradesh with the neighbouring cities.
By Road: Buses of Himachal Road Transport Corporation ply daily from the neighboring cities like Delhi, Chandigarh, Kalka, and Jaipur. Apart from buses, tourists can book taxis to travel to their favorite destinations.
The Losar Festival thus paints the snowy-white expanses of Himachal Pradesh with hues of festivities, flavors of authentic dishes, and a color riot. This is a treat for culture connoisseurs. To delight in the Buddhist culture and traditions, add Losar Festival to your bucket list.