- Of all the fairs of Chamba district, Minjar is the most popular.
- There are many beliefs about its origin.
- There is a legend that many centuries ago, Ravi was flowing through the Chamba town where presently Chaugan is situated.
- There is a temple of Champawati on the right side of the river and that of Hari Rai on the other side.
- A Mahatma who was staying by Champawati temple used to visit Hari Rai temple by swimming the river.
- Raja Sahil Varman and people of Chamba town requested the Mahatma to make some arrangement so that all could visit the sacred temple of Hari Rai.
- The Mahatma asked the people to come to the temple of Champawati where a Yajna was performed with the help of Brahmins for seven days.
- A cord of seven different colours was prepared and it was given the name of Minjar.
- On completion of the Yajna, the river changed its course.
- This miracle was believed to be brought by the Minjar i.e. the cord spun by the Brahmins.
- The king thus declared the day to be celeberated as the Minjar day and since then Minjar Fair is held every year at Chamba to commemorate this divine event.
- According to another legend, the fair is held for worship of Varuna, the God of waters.
Minjar fair is a splendid carnival held in the month of Sravana every year. The fair starts on the second Sunday of Sravana with the distribution of Minjar. During the regime of erstwhile State, Raja used to participate in the fair. Till recently a male buffalo used to be pushed into the river. In 1955 or so, a Minjar flag was introduced by the Municipal Committee. It is hoisted by the Deputy Commissioner in the Chaugan on the morning of inaugural day indicating the beginning of the fair. Minjar is distributed and the tournaments start from that day. On the third Sunday, there is a large gathering.
The people sing folk songs associated to their respective areas. Of all the songs sung during the fair, Kunjari is the most charming. Being a very old folk song, it is traditional and has a typical tune. Shopkeepers from adjoining states come to the place to sell their goods and people also purchase many articles of their requirement for the year as a whole. Various types of exhibitions are also arranged by the Government departments to exhibit the progress made in various fields. Various cultural shows are also organised for the entertainment of the people.
Sui Fair of Chamba:
- Sui fair is as old as the time when Chamba became the capital of the princely state.
- For the capital there was no proper supply of water.
- Raja Sahil Varman had made a water source from Sarota stream round the Shah-Madar hill but the water did not enter the channel and it was ascribed to 9 super natural causes.
- The Brahmins who were consulted pronounced that water would pass if the Rani or her son was sacrificed.
- There is another tradition that the Raja had a dream in which he was directed to offer his son as sacrifice.
- But the Rani insisted to sacrifice her own life.
- A grave was dug near Balota village and she was buried alive.
- When the grave was filled up water began to flow and has been flowing ever since.
- The Rani is venerated for her sacrifice and is worshipped as ‘Sui Mata ‘ The fair is held on the last three days of April every year.
- Last day of the fair is known as Sukrat i.e. ‘Sukh-khi-Raat’.
- On the evening of the closing day, Sukrat is sung.
- The fair is colourful and its charm is enhanced by the songs sung not only at the fair but in all the houses of the local residents.
Mani Mahesh Fair:
- Mani Mahesh is situated about 35 kms. from Brahmaur.
- Lord Shiva is believed to reside there.
- Shiva had granted a boon to Brahmini Devi that every pilgrim must worship her before proceeding to Mani Mahesh.
- The oracles of Keling and Mani Mahesh are consulted as to whether their pilgrimage would be successful and accepted by Shiva.
- Pilgrims collect at Brahmaur and start for the yatra.
- They reach Mani Mahesh lake after covering the distance in two stages.
- The pilgrims have to be at the lake on the morning of Radha Ashtami which falls 15 days after Krishna Janam Ashtami in the month of August/September.
- Every devotee must take a dip into lake in the early hours of the morning which is considered as sacred.
- A dip in the lake is taken only after taking a dip first in Gauri Kund which is situated at one km. before Mani Mahesh lake.
- In the past only women used to take a dip in this kund but now all avail this.
- Besides this, two dips in the spring at Hudsar and Dhanchhoh are also essential.
- The pilgrimage to Mani Mahesh is considered as sacred.
- Some of the pilgrims go bare footed.
- The pilgrims go on shouting ‘Mani Mahesh-ki-Jai’. People return to Brahmaur on the 5th or 6th day.
- On their way back, people bring two plants growing in the area. These are called Ghugi and Banand.
- This fair is held in Banikhet in the month of Asadha (June) for two days.
- It is held in honour of Nag devta., whose temple is situated in the village.
- People come and make offerings to the Nag Devta and wrestling matches are held.
- Khajiar village is about 24 kms. from Chamba.
- A Jatar is held here on the fourth night of Jaistha (May) and continues till the next morning.
- The fair is managed by temple committee of Laxmi Narayan Temple of Chamba.
- The fair starts at 10 P.M. with the Kirtan of Khasi Nag and continues till 3 A.M.
- The people make offerings of ghee, wheat flour, coconuts etc. to the Nag.
- This Jatar is held on Ist Jaistha (May) every year at Saluni.
- On this day, Nag Devta is worshipped with incense and wheat bread is offered to him.
- A goat or ram is sacrificed.
- After offering the bread to the Nag Devta, it is distributed among the people present in Jatar.
- This Jatar begins in the month of Asvina (October) each year for four days at Kupha.
- This is the most popular fair of Pangi area.
- Men and women mix freely and there are great rejoicings.
- This Jatar is the last fair of the year and after this, the region has heavy snowfall.
- This fair is held on 14th Asadha (June) at Bhanjraru for a day.
- It is held in the name of Lakhdata. His worship is done by the people in their homes.
- The people believe that by worshipping the Lakhdata, cows and buffaloes give more milk.
- Ghee is hoarded in his name. Wrestling matches are held and prizes are distributed.
- This festival is held on the last Tuesday of Pausa (January).
- Kalimai is worshipped and local dishes are eaten in the evening.
- This festival is observed in Pangi on the day of Amavash of Phalguna or Chaitra.
- With this festival starts the spring and fear of snow is vanished.
- The people take ghee and chapatis in the morning.
- In the evening various dishes are prepared as customary.
- These dishes are taken on the next festival i.e. Pareed. Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped.
- This is organized by the local people and Ram Leela Committee and has become one of the important fairs of the district.
Summer Festival Dalhousie:
- This is organized by the administration with the help of local people and Municipal Committee, Dalhousie to attract tourists from the different parts of the country.
- During summer tourist influx to Dalhousie is at its peak.
Swami Hari Giri Fair:
- This fair is organized in the month of June in the Swami Hari Giri temple at Kakira near Bakloh for which local holiday is declared by the District Administration.
- Urs is celebrated twice a year at Dargah Peer Zamal Shah, Rajpura- first on 10th Muharram and second on Milad-ul-Nabi (12 Rabi-ue-awal).
- Quawalis are organized during night in which people from all walks of life irrespective of their religion participate.