Pori Festival, Lahaul

A much awaited affair at Himachal, the Pori Festival offers a unique opportunity to the local communities of the region to come together and rejoice in this great cultural fanfare. Celebrating a host of fares and festivals to mark religious events or seasonal changes, Himachal Pradesh celebrates this festival to strengthen the traditional beliefs of the rural people here. Celebrated with a great pomp and show, the Pori Festival is an annual feature at the Lahaul Valley and is symbolic to the historical and sociological background of the area.

It has been a practice amongst the local people to worship Lord Trilokinath since time immemorial on this festival. The statue of the Lord is bathed in milk and yogurt on this festival. Devotees gather at the temple in the morning and go around the temple beating drums, blowing conch shells and bugles. A horse is also taken around the temple. A huge procession is then carried out with the horse and it is believed that God rides on the back of this horse showering His blessings upon the devotees.

At the procession's end, the crowd takes the horse to the royal palace of the local ruler. The horse is bathed in sweet water there and is offered healthy food. After this the king rides the horse and goes to the fair ground which is dotted all over with small shops. The King also distributes clothes and sweets among his subjects.

The butter lamp is also lighted up that burns all day and night during the entire course of the festival. The light of the lamp is believed to indicate the presence of the providence. Therefore, the devotees continuously keep adding butter to this lamp. After the usual rituals have taken place, the sacred Prasad of bright scraps of cloth is distributed amongst the devotees. This Prasad is accepted with deep reverence by the locals as it is considered to be very sacred.