Hilljatra Festival Uttarakhand

Observed especially in the Pithoragarh District, it is a traditional festival that involves celebration in three phases with goat sacrifice, drama and folk songs performances.

About Hilljatra Festival

Hilljatra is amongst the traditional festivals celebrated in the state of Uttarakhand, especially in Pithoragarh district of Kumaon Region. The festival is celebrated mainly by the people associated with farming in the state. The origin of this festival is believed to be from the Sorar Region of West Nepal to the Sor Valley and was initially introduced in Kumaour village. Later, it was also observed by the people of Bajethi and other villages of Pithoragarh district. Along with that, Kanalichhina and Askot regions also accepted the festival as ‘Hiran Chital’ with some modifications. During the festival, a white-clothed deer is worshipped as a regional god. The festivity takes place in three phase, and in the first phase sacrifice of goat is made with all the rituals, whereas in the second phase, dramas are performed for public and in the third and final phase, songs are sung and dance is performed.

This festival in Uttarakhand is celebrated in the remembrance of Champawat Rulers as it is connected with their victory. However, the major connection of the festival is with the plantation of paddy along with agricultural and pastoral labourers of the rainy season. Another belief behind this festival is that Chand Dynasty King Kuru once went to Sorar to participate in Hilljatra Festival and sacrificed a buffalo with horns covering the neck. This made the people happy and they decided to bestow the King with gifts. The King Kuru then decided to introduce the festival in Sor Valley and asked for four masks; Halwaha, two bullocks, one implement – the Nepali plough, and Lakhiabhoot as a gift. Thus, the festival of Hilljatra was introduced in the state of Uttarakhand.

Highlights:

  • In the first part of the festival, worship and the ritual sacrifice of goats is done.
  • In the second part of this festival in Uttarakhand, dramatic presentations of pastoral and agricultural activities are performed.
  • In the third part, hymns are sung both traditional as well as new, along with the dance. This celebration continues throughout the night.
  • The center attraction of the Hilljatra festival is White Clothed deer, which is the worshipped as regional God.

Location Map

Hilljatra Festival Uttarakhand

Uttarakhand Travel Information at a Glance