Sangla Holi, The Shades Of Faith, Festivities And Flavours
Image Credit: Apricot wine, Dreamstime

The celebration of Holi, also known as the Festival of Colours, occurs during the last full moon of the lunar month of Phalguna. Kaleidoscopic nature and festivities complement the many hues of soirees that permeate the air and smear our bodies at this time of year. The festival may have its roots in India, but it is now widely celebrated in many other countries. Holi is a spectacular celebration that displays India's many cultural traditions. Regional variations in significance characterise it. The traditional grandeur of Holi in the North Indian hills is unparalleled. In the list of must-experience places, Himachal Pradesh is one among them. Despite a massive revelry, the rest of the country remains unaware. Within this state's Holi festivities, the extravaganzas in Sangla are unequalled. Sangla Holi appears surreal and has the charm to cast its magical spell on any onlooker. 

Discovering Sangla and its Holi

Sangla is a little settlement in Himachal Pradesh's Kinnaur district. Snow-capped mountains, breathtaking landscapes, and a wide variety of cultures and customs combine to make this a fascinating place. Holi is one such ritual, and it is a joyous celebration of spring, new beginnings, love, and the triumph of good over evil.

People of Sangla celebrating Holi traditional rituals, Image Source: spitiholiday@Instagram

In Sangla, playing Holi is a means to celebrate spring onset and pray for good fortune. It is not only commemorated but venerated in this place. Holi in Sangla is a part of the four-day Faguli celebration. From a modest start, the merriments build up, and on the third day, people play with gulal or dry Holi colours.

Food and drinks

Celebrating the traditional Faguli and Holi is a great excuse to have fun. The festive beginning starts with a meal called Totu. As prasad, roasted barley flour and buttermilk are combined to make totu. Participants in processions often stop for refreshments, including Chilta. To those who are unfamiliar, chilta is a type of flatbread made from locally farmed buckwheat. It pairs well with bolku, a kind of native curry made with potatoes and cooked in the open air.

Buckwheat roti, Image Source:

An indigenous wine known as Phasur is distributed for free to the procession participants to keep the energy up and add a fun spin to the celebration. Of course, as an onlooker, you may try your luck. Besides phasur, wine from nearby vineyards flows freely for the celebrators.

Symbolic elements

Sangla Incredible traditions such as dancing, street skits,  drama, and a colourful march are hallmarks of Holi. All the locals meet together at Nag Mandir first thing in the morning to play Holi in accordance with customs. Certain men are selected to dress up like characters from the Ramayana. The procession marches from one village to another to the sound of drums and trumpets. 

Performers during Holi at Sangla, Image Source: anemophilistmonk@instagram

Ramayana battle scenes are enacted during these parades, with the women dancing in a circle. On the final day, participants dress in their most festive attire. They dance with the local gods in palanquins and then perform Kinnauri Nati all night long. Women participants form concentric circles to perform traditional dances. The energy levels of everyone remain high-octane throughout the four days.