Kangra district is a land of gods and goddesses. Almost every village has a temple or shrine of the god, goddess or deity. Village folks are simple and religious in nature and love music. They participate in the fairs and the festivals, which are celebrated with gusto and devotion. Some of the important fairs and festivals held in the district are as under:
- This fair is held at Jawalamukhi during Chaitra Navratras (March–April) and Asauj– Navratras – (September–October) for ten days.
- The fair is attributed to the worship of the eternal flame coming out of the earth.
- Offerings of karahi, lambs and the things pledged are made.
- The devotees also solemnize tonsure ceremony of their children in the temples.
- People from all over the country come to this place.
- As per legend, once the devtas were at war with the demons.
- In the battle the gods were badly defeated and dislodged from their heavenly abodes.
- They approached Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh for help and protection.
- On seeing the pitiable condition of the devtas all the three became red-hot and effulgens emerged from their bodies in the form of a burning mountain.
- The effulgens subsided and reappeared in the form of a female riding over a lion, which is the most common form of Durga, the goddess of power Jawalamukhi is also believed to be the manifestation of Durga in its original form and is regarded as an object of utmost worship.
- The Durga annihilated Mahishasur the demon chief and the dislodged devtas were rehabilitated in their heavenly abodes.
- The Mughal emperor Akbar, it is said, made a pilgrimage to the temple of Jawalamukhi and after failing in putting off the eternal flame by pouring water, offered gold Chhatar but the goddess turned it into that of iron to prick his pride.
Mela Sujan Bharti:
- This religious fair is held at village Panapari on Jaistha 12 (May-June) in memory of Baba Sujan Bharti at the site of his Smadhi (Tomb).
- As per legend one Baba Sujan Bharti used to live in a small cottage in the village.
- One day as a devastating hailstorm was advancing towards the village which would have damaged the standing ripe wheat crop, the villagers approached the saint for his help.
- The Baba shouted at the storm and warned not to advance further.
- The storm miraculously stopped and withered away and the crop was saved from destruction.
- Offerings of wheat grains are made at the Samadhi (Tomb) and apart from recreational activities sweetmeats and articles of general merchandise are sold.
- The fair is held at village Dagoh in sub-district Palampur for three days in the month of June.
- The fair is a recreational one.
- There is a big old Champa tree here, after which the fair is named.
- A large gathering of people participates and enjoys the fair after harvesting of the rabi crop is over.
Mela Shah Abdul Rehman:
- This fair is held on Chaitra 10 and 11 (March-April) in which people of all castes and creed participate.
- Wrestling bouts are the main attraction.
- It is said that one Swami Sradhanand used to live in the vicinity of a graveyard at Nurpur.
- He had a white mare.
- He made no distinction between Hindus and Muslims and was venerated by both communities alike one regarding him as Hindu and the other as Muslim.
- One day he left his mortal frame while in deep meditation and his mare also died.
- Samadhis of both the Swami and his mare were raised and managed by the Brahmins initially.
- When the Muslims gained power and took control they termed the samadhi of the Swami as Mazar (tomb) of Shah Abdul Rehman.
Baba Dayalgir Fair:
- This fair is held at village Daulatpur in the Kangra sub-district on Jaistha 22 (MayJune) for two days.
- The fair is a religious one and is held in memory of one saint Dayalgir who got built a Shiva temple here and gave up his mortal frame while in meditation.
- It is believed that the celebration of the fair provides a guarantee against the occurrence of epidemics.
- A large number of participants pay their respects and offer food grains in the temple.
- As an entertainment, the wrestling bouts are held.
- Earthen pots, sweets, fruits, and articles of general merchandise are sold.
Mela Pir Mahu:
- The religious fair is held at village Barta in sub-district Dera Gopipur for five days in the month of June.
- The fair is held in the memory of Pir Mahu whose shrine is here.
- It is believed that the ‘Pir’ protects the cattle from diseases.
- The devotees at the shrine of the ‘Pir’ make offerings.
- A large congregation of people participates and wrestling bouts are held.
Dhamu Shah Fair:
- This fair is held in village Bari in sub-district Kangra on 27th Chaitra (March-April) for two days.
- The fair is held in memory of Dhamu Shah who belonged to the Hindu-Khatri family and engaged in the profession of money lending. Dhamu’s grandfather, it is said had lend some money to a person belonging to Scheduled Castes.
- The borrower could not pay the debt during his lifetime and instructed his son to repay the same, but, he also died without a final settlement.
- Before his death he in turn asked his son to clear the debt.
- When the grandson of the debtor approached Dhamu Shah the grandson of the lender to receive the payment of the debt as per the instructions of his grandfather, Dhamu Shah refused to receive the amount on the pretext that his grandfather had issued no instructions to receive the amount.
- The loanees grandson who was bent upon in paying back the debt spent the money due to the moneylender on the construction of a bawali, a raised platform, and a temple.
- Since then the fair is being held in which people of all castes and creed participate.
- Cattle marketing is done and wrestling bouts are held.
- This fair is held in the month of Srawana (July-August) for one day at village Balkhor Kular of sub-district Nurpur.
- The fair is altogether religious and the devotees make offerings to goddess Nagni.
- According to a legend an ailing priest, one day dreamt that if he worshipped goddess Nagni he would be relieved of distress.
- He acted accordingly and miraculously recovered from the illness.
- Since then the fair is held regularly.
- Men, women, and children participate in large numbers, and sweets and articles of general merchandise are sold.
- Apart from the above-mentioned fairs, a number of fairs and festivals such as Shivaratri, Holi, Baisakhi, Ramnaumi, Janamashtami, Dussehra, Diwali, etc. are also celebrated in the district on a grand scale.