Uttarayani Fair BAgeshwar
The Uttarayani Fair in Uttarakhand is held in a number of places like Bageshwar, Rameshwar, Suit Mahadev, Chitrashila (Ranibagh) and Hanseshwar. In Bageshwar, the fair attracts the largest number of people. It is held in the premises of the holy Bageshwar temple.
One of the largest fair of Kumaun region, the Uttraini festival of Bageshwar, is organized in the month of January for a period of one week and is frequented by Almora traders, on barter or money lending intent, and by the Bhotiyas from the snows, as well as by a great multitude of people from the surrounding villages. The chief articles of merchandise are : ponies, goats, sheep, furs, yak tails, musk pods, borax, salt horns, books, shoes, fruit dried and fresh. The Bhotiyas bring down excellent ponies, which breed in a wild or semi-wild state over the Tibetan border.
The Uttarayani Fair provides the social and political workers with an important platform to express their grievances. It has consequently played a vital role in the local movements.
The Bageshwar Fair has played an even more prominent role in trying to uproot the evils of bonded labor or begar. In the year 1921 under the able leadership of Pandit Badri Dutt Pande, the registers of the Coolie laborers were drifted at the meeting points of the Saryu and Gomti Rivers by the Kumaon Parishad activists.
In 1921, Mahatma Gandhi himself visited the Bageshwar Fair. Several freedom fighters and folk singers are also associated with the Bageshwar Fair. They have tried to instill in these simple rustic people the values of self esteem and independence.
People take a dip in the holy river because the fair begins on a very auspicious day.
A lot of commercial activity takes place at the fair grounds. A variety of items like iron and copper pots, baskets, casks, bamboo articles, mats, mattresses, carpets, blankets, herbs and spices can be purchased in the fair.
The sight of the large gatherings clad in bright and colorful clothes is a visual treat. The mood is very joyous. All night long people sing and dance. You will surely enjoy the impressive performances by the folk artistes. They sing Jhoras, Chancharis and Bairas.
The Uttarayani Fair is held on the occasion of Makar Sankranti which generally falls in the month of January.