International Yoga Week (March). Annual festival organized by Parmarth Niketan Ashram in Rishikesh, with yoga classes, mantras, kirtans, plus lifestyle and healing programmes alongside cultural events.
Kumaoni Holi (March). In the hill tracts of Kumaon, Holi is a musical affair and takes various forms. At Baithki Holi, celebrations kick off in temple premises with traditional folk songs sung to a classical accompaniment. There’s more singing at Khari Holi, celebrated mainly in rural areas. Mahila Holi is a women-only gathering.
Bagwal or Devidhura Fair (April). The unique stone-pelting festival is celebrated at the Varahi Devi temple at Devidhura, just south of Nainital. Amid folk songs and dances, two groups (khams) throw stones at each other while protecting themselves with large wooden shields. The priest stops the ritual when it is ascertained that enough blood has been shed (equivalent to one man) to appease the goddess.
Ganga Dussehra (May/June). A day devoted to worshipping the sacred Ganges, with devotees marking the occasion with a dip in the river and aarti. Hand-made Dussehra posters adorn the doors of temples and homes in Rishikesh, Haridwar and other towns along the river.
Nanda Devi Jaat (Aug/Sept). Dedicated to Uttarakhand’s patron goddess, with an annual jaat (procession) and melas held in towns and villages with Nanda Devi shrines across Garhwal and Kumaon, including Almora, Nainital and Ranikhet.