Haryana is unique as it shares its capital Chandigarh with Punjab. Its monuments, temples and ancient battlefields have attracted tourists from all over the world. Its gardens, wild life sanctuaries, palaces, forts and tombs have enriched the state and encouraged people to study and enjoy its legendary past. Its rich cultural heritage is preserved through festivals and fairs which attract hordes of visitors.
Gangore or Gangaur festival
This festival is celebrated on Gauri Tritiya Tithi which falls on the first day of the month of Chaitra (March/April) and is dedicated to Goddess Gauri or Devi Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva. It is celebrated by women with married women seeking blessings for the welfare and prosperity of their husbands while unmarried girls worship her to secure good husbands.
This festival is celebrated in the monsoon season of Shravan (July-Aug) by women and girls and is dedicated to Goddess Parvati and her union with Lord Shiva after her long penance and worship. It is so named after a small red insect called ‘Teej’ which comes out of the soil after the first showers of rain. Images of Goddess Parvati are taken out in large processions. In every household, Puja is performed in the morning in a decorated Chowk or square of the house, where a picture or idol of Goddess Parvati has been installed. A ‘Baya’ or a plate with a variety of foodstuff is placed at the place of worship. Women and girls gather together in the evening, wearing new clothes, singing and dancing joyously.
This festival is celebrated to commemorate the saint Gugga Pir who is said to have powers to cure people of snake bites.
Pinjore Heritage Festival
This festival is celebrated annually in the month of October in the town of Pinjore in Haryana to exhibit its culture and tradition. It is organised by the Haryana Tourism Department in conjunction with many other departments at the Yadavindra Mughal Gardens of Pinjore. Artists from all over the country participate in the festival to showcase their talent. Folk dances, food stalls, classical music events with lighting and decoration attract tourists from all over the land.
Kurukshetra (or Mahabharata) festival
This festival takes place in the month of November/December at Kurukshetra to mark Gita Jayanti, which is the day Lord Krishna expounded the Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna. Pilgrims gather to take a holy dip in the sacred waters of the Brahma Sarovar and Sannehit Sarovar. Holy men recite shlokas from the Gita and there is ‘Deep Daan’ at the Sarovar, dance and drama performances, bhajan programmes, free medical camps and exhibition of religious books as part of the activities of the festival.
This festival takes place in the months of June/July at the Yadavindra Gardens at Pinjore. Different varieties of mangoes from all over India are displayed by various mango growers and a competition is also held to select the winners of the best varieties. Different agricultural universities also display the latest hybrid fruits during this festival. Companies from the agro and food industry also display their products which include jams, pickles and canned fruits. Cultural programmes are also organised to lend gaiety and fun to the proceedings.
Kartik Cultural festival
This festival is held at the Nahar Singh Mahal by the Haryana Tourism and Department of Culture to promote folk art and culture, especially those that are on the verge of extinction. Classical and folk artists give performances with singers and dancers showcasing their talent. The beauty and architectural grandeur of the palace is also highlighted at this festival.
Sohna Car Rally
This car rally is organised at Sohna which is on the Delhi-Alwar highway and is organised by the Haryana Tourism Dept in conjunction with other departments. Vintage cars are exhibited and trophies are distributed to the winners. There is strong competition in every field like restoration, maintenance and performance of the vehicles. The elegance and the charm of the different models of vintage cars attract tourists from all over the country.
Surajkund Crafts Mela
This is an annual crafts fair held at Surajkund in Haryana in the month of February. Artists and craftsmen from all over the country showcase their products like mirror embroidered crafts, metal, terracotta, cane ware, toys, trinkets, silk fabrics and so on. To create an authentic rustic ambience at the fair, several thatched roof platforms are provided to the craftsmen to display their wares. Folk music and dance performances are performed every evening at the fan-shaped open air theatre known as Natyashala.