Halda: Himachali New Year Celebration With Culture And Cuisine
Image Credit: Khatta | Image Credit: Google.com

Himachal Pradesh is one of the most beautiful states in India, located in the northern part of the country. The state has a diverse culture that comes alive during festivals like Halda. Halda is celebrated in the late months of December or early January and is a way for the people of Himachal Pradesh to bid farewell to the old year and welcome the new. This event lasts for two days in January, during which the locals celebrate in honor of Shashikar Apa, the goddess of prosperity and wealth. Celebrations are held at a time and place chosen by the lamas, and everyone takes part in the celebrations. Cedar tree wood is traditionally given for the bonfire because of the meaning it holds.    

Halda Festival and its Significance  

One essential aspect of this celebration is food and drink. Himachal Pradesh citizens celebrate Halda Festival by drinking arak and chhang, local alcoholic beverages made from fermented millet and rice. They dance and listen to music all night long, creating a lively and festive atmosphere. The special dishes that are listed below were made during this time and reflect the region’s rich culinary history and cultural diversity.   


Khatta is a sour dish served as a part of the Halda celebration. Made from jaggery, tamarind, and a generous amount of spices like cumin, coriander, and ginger, this dish is typically served with steamed rice. Khatta is a popular dish in Himachal Pradesh and is made throughout the year, but it becomes an essential part of the Halda festival.   


Another traditional dish that is enjoyed by the people of Himachal Pradesh during the Halda festival is sidu. Sidu is a type of special bread made from kneaded wheat flour that is steamed for a couple of hours. It is typically served with ghee (clarified butter) and a spicy chutney made from tomatoes and green chilies. Sidu is a favorite among the people of the state, and it has been around for many generations.   


Babru is a famous snack that is usually made for special occasions, and Halda is no exception. Babru is essentially a kind of stuffed flatbread made of wheat flour and stuffed with a spiced mixture made from blackgram, onions, and coriander. The flatbread is shallow fried in oil, which gives it a crispy texture on the outside, and it is usually served with a mint chutney or tamarind chutney.   

Teliya Mah

Teliya Mah is another popular dish that is made during the Halda festival in Himachal Pradesh. This dish is made with boiled black gram (a type of lentil) and served with a tempering of curry leaves, coriander leaves, red chili powder, and mustard seeds. Teliya Mah is usually served with rice but can be eaten by itself as well.   


Aktori is a popular dish that is made in the western area of Himachal Pradesh. This dish is made with buckwheat flour, which is mixed with other ingredients such as potatoes, onions, and spices, and it is shallow fried in oil. Aktori is commonly served with a spicy tomato chutney or mint chutney.   


Dham is a traditional feast that is prepared during the Halda festival. It is a vegetarian meal that consists of rice, lentils, and different types of curries. The dishes are prepared using local ingredients such as red kidney beans, yogurt, and mustard oil. The meal is served on banana leaves and is meant to be eaten with your hands.   


Patande is a type of pancake that is prepared with wheat flour, eggs, and milk. The pancakes are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. They are served with ghee (clarified butter) and honey.  

Kullu Trout  

Kullu Trout is a popular dish that is prepared using fresh trout that is caught in the Beas River. The fish is marinated in a mixture of spices and then grilled over a fire. The dish is served with rice or bread.   


Madra is a creamy curry that is prepared using chickpeas and yogurt. The dish is cooked on low heat for a long time to develop a rich flavor. It is usually served with rice or bread.   

Tudkiya Bhath  

Tudkiya Bhath is a rice dish that is prepared using a combination of spices, meat, and vegetables. The dish is cooked in a large pot over a wood fire, which gives it a unique smoky flavor. Tudkiya Bhath is usually served with raita (a yogurt-based side dish).   

In addition to these dishes, there are many other traditional foods and sweets that are prepared during the Halda Festival. Some of these include Mittha (sweet rice), Sepu Badi (dried lentil dumplings), and Chha Gosht (mutton curry).   

The Halda festival in Himachal Pradesh is a celebration of food, culture, and tradition. The dishes made during this festival showcase the region’s diverse culinary history and the people’s love for food. Halda is not only a time for feasting but also for coming together and sharing in the joy that this festival brings. The dishes mentioned above are only a few examples of the fantastic food that is enjoyed during the Halda festival in Himachal Pradesh. However, these dishes alone are enough to entice anyone to try them and experience the rich cultural heritage of the state.