In the hilly state of Uttarakhand, there are a large number of temples. These temples are the venues of many fairs that are held when the festivals are celebrated. The essentially religious minded people of the state celebrate the Nanda Devi Fair in remembrance of the goddesses Nanda and Sunanda. It is held in many places in Uttarakhand like Almora, Nainital, Nauti, Dandidhara, Munsyari, Ranikhet, Bhowali, Kichha and also in the small sleepy hamlets of Lohar (like Milam and Martoli) and Pindar valleys (like Wachham and Khati). The fairs at Almora and Roopkund draw the largest number of people.
The fair started way back in the 16th century. According to legend, the fair was initiated by Raja Kalyan Chand.
This cultural carnival is of immense religious and cultural significance. The term Nanda means prosperity and well being. If the Nanda Devi Mela is held with a great deal of pomp and grandeur, it symbolizes the economic and cultural prosperity of the region.
People participate in the procession which carries the dola (litter) of Nanda Devi. The goddess is devotedly worshipped in the temple.
The place bubbles with a lot of activity and appears to have gained a fresh lease of life at the time of the fair. If you visit to the fair you can get an insight into the material and cultural prosperity of the region. A lot of hand made products made by the village craftsmen are bought for sale. You can also witness some superb performances by the local artistes at all these fairs. It is a splendid chance for them to uphold their folk traditions and put up song and dance programmes.
Small school children and young college students also participate in the fair and display their talents in the functions. The varied sights and sounds create a very joyous ambience.
The fair is generally held in the month of September.