Sair Fair of Himachal – History, Date, important events ?

Sair festival marks the end of the harvesting season and beginning of winters. Local people calls this by different names – sajja, sayar, jhoto ka mela, sankranti. It is famous for bullfights, wrestling and cultural events. This festival is celebrated in Arki, Solan of Himachal Pradesh, India.

What is Sair Fair ?

Sair fair is a cultural festival celebrated in the month of Ashwina (of Hindu calendar) on sankranti which falls on 17 September 2022 this year. Its a 2-day event and celebrated as a Thanksgiving occasion for the local deities and Gods. 

Its an very old festival, on this day people prepare many food dishes and play local music, perform traditional dance, drums and trumpets and enjoy with family and community.

It also signifies the harvesting of the maize crop is ready and prepare for the upcoming winters.

Important Attractions of Sayar mela

Its a famous fair which is celebrated at different places like at Arki in Solan, kullu, Mandi, Shimla in Himachal Pradesh. The main events of this festival are :

sair fair sayar mela of himachal pradesh important events bull fight wrestling traditional dance

1. Traditional bull / buffalo fights :  

The main attraction is the bullfight, 100’s of bulls assembled for this event and even bulls made to have alcohol mixed with food. So they can fight and win.

2. Wrestling : 

Huge crowd gather to witness wrestling / dangal matches. Young wrestlers take part in this championship during the Sair fair. 

3. Invoking of Gods : 

This festival held in the honor of the Banar Devta(God), local people offer their harvested crops to the Gods. Its believed that it will invoke the power of Gods and seek blessings for the next season of crops. And also locals held oracle sessions to avert evil spirits and pray for their families, livestocks and crops to protect them from any kind of natural calamity.

Apart from this, there are many cultural and traditional events performed during this sair / sajja / sayar mela. Dance, music and many singing performances performed by many known artists.

When and where is Sair Fair celebrated ?

Sair Fair is celebrated on “sankranti in Ashwina or Asvina month (of Hindu calendar)” which falls on 17 September 2022 this year. And this festival is celebrated in Arki of Solan district and Shimla and many other different places as well.

sair fair, sayar mela ritual offering dhruv

How Sair fair or mela celebrated ?

Many traditions are performed during this festival, one of them is that younger members of the family offer ‘dhruva’ (sacred grass) with dry fruits(walnuts) to the older members of the family. And children collect these walnuts from family and neighbors and play with these walnuts.

Then a branch of maize crop is taken and worshiped and various food items are prepared.

Huge crowd gathers to attend this event, lots of stalls of local food, handicrafts, art, pottery, traditional garments arranged, so everyone can enjoy. Locals Men, women and children can be seen in traditional dress, jewelry and celebrate the festival with joy. You can join them and enjoy being with them by dressing and having food and roaming around. This fair is arranged by the administrative authorities of Himachal Pradesh.

This Sair festival marks the end of harvesting / summer and onset of winters. So, people start stocking food grains and firewood for the upcoming winter days.

Why Sair fair is celebrated ?

Its celebrated to mark the end of the harvesting season and prepare for the upcoming harsh winters and believed that the return of Gods from heaven at this time. Through the time, fair has lost its traditional charm but the locals on this day wear old traditional dresses and accessories and celebrate it with such enthusiasm, play drums and trumpets and offer harvested crops to Gods and participate in bull fight and wrestling or dangal.

What’s the History / Story of Sair or Sayar mela ?

Its believed that from ancient times the Bulls had been associated with agrarian (agricultural) society as a symbol of regeneration and reproduction. If we look into Sindhu valley civilization there we can find symbols of bulls / Taurus on the ‘seals’ used by then. Also in Aryan culture, bulls / buffalo had an important place in agriculture. But today maybe Bulls have been replaced by machines in agriculture but their importance in society has not decreased.

How to reach the Sair festival ?

Shimla has a smaller airport at “Jubbarhatti” which is around 22 kms away from the city. But you must first confirm that this airport is functioning because it works according to the season / weather conditions and from there you can take a taxi.

And another nearest airport is “Chandigarh Airport” which is around 107 kms from chandigarh to shimla and from there you can take Bus, taxi or any vehicle and travel to shimla by road.

Arki, Solan : Solan is around 50 kms from “Jubbarhatti Airport” and on the way you will find ‘Arki village’, from the airport you can take a taxi.

Places to must visit near Arki, Solan : 

Arki Palace, Fort, Diwan-i-khas, Lord shiva Temples, Riva waterfall and many more.

Best nearby places from Arki, Solan is Shimla which is 20 kms and Kasauli around 27 kms, Chail around 29 km, Manali 123 kms, Mcleodganj 138 km.

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