The International Lavi Fair of Rampur Bushahr Shimla

In Himachal Pradesh, there is a diverse range of fairs and festivals that hold significant cultural value. Many of these celebrations have gained recognition not only within India but also internationally. 

The Lavi Fair, which dates back to the 17th century, is one such event that has achieved global acclaim and is now known as the International Lavi Fair.  The biggest trade fair of the greater Himalayas is held annually from November 11th to 14th in Rampur Bushahr, which is about 130 kms from Shimla. The Lavi Fair is a long-standing custom that brings people together from different places to celebrate their heritage, do business, and take in the diversity of their culture. It is one of the most valued cultural gatherings in this state in northern India.

Meaning of "Lavi" in Lavi Fair:

The name "Lavi" comes from the word "Loe," which is defined as "A sheet of woollen cloth." "Shearing of the Sheep" is a different meaning of the word Lavi. The definition of these words makes it obvious that they refer to the trading in sheep or wool.

Historical Roots:

The Lavi Fair is a historically significant event that is known for its trading activities and enduring traditions that still thrive today. This trade fair has played a crucial role in the economic development of the region.
Rampur Bushahr, also known as the gateway to the tribal District Kinnaur, is situated on the left bank of the River Sutlej. It is one of the oldest towns on the Hindustan Tibet road.
The origins of the Lavi Fair can be traced back almost 400 years to a trade treaty signed between the Bushahr state, under the rule of Raja Kehari Singh, and Tibet during the late 17th century, specifically between 1679 and 1684. In ancient times, there was a substantial demand for products such as wool, pashmina, pine nuts, and local goods, not only within India but also overseas. Bushehr maintained strong trade relations with Tibet during this era, leading to the establishment of the Lavi Fair as a platform for the sale of Tibetan-imported goods.
During the fair, traders would travel to Rampur with dry fruits, wool, pashmina, and livestock, often accompanied by horses. In exchange, they would obtain salt, jaggery, and other goods from Rampur, with the salt originally coming from Gumma in the Mandi district. It's important to mention that Lavi gained international fair status in 1985 during the time of Virbhadra Singh's tenure as Chief Minister, which brought significant recognition to the event.
The fair was initially conceived as a platform for local traders to engage in commerce, exchanging goods ranging from handicrafts and textiles to agricultural produce. Over time, the fair evolved into a multifaceted celebration, encompassing not only trade but also cultural exchange and social interaction.

The Census report of India 1961

* About three hundred years ago during the regime of Raja KeharI Singh of Bushahr, a trade treaty was signed between the Bushahr State and Tibet ... Horses from Tibet and swords from Bushahr were exchanged in token of this friendship. It was written in the treaty that their friendly relations would continue till this time ... Since then,it is presumed that trade relations increased and eventually Lavi fair was held.

— Census of India 1961

The main attraction of Lavi Fair:

Cultural night:

The cultural night function at PGSS Boys' School will light up the Lavi Fair from November 11th to 14th, showcasing a variety of enchanting performances. This captivating event attracts attendees from all over the world, offering a glimpse into the rich tapestry of traditions that have been a part of the fair for generations.

Chamurthi Horses:
One of the main attractions is the sale and purchase of Chamurthi horses, often known as "ships of the cold desert." These horses have cultural value in the Tibet region and highlight the unusual relationship that exists between trade and endangered species conservation.
Trade & Commerce: The Lavi Fair's function as a thriving commerce hub is at its core. The fairgrounds are transformed into a bustling market where vendors from different places set up shop to display their items. There's a place called Part Bungalow where traders set up their stalls and show off all sorts of items. Locally made products are displayed, including woollen shawls, blankets, dry fruits, and handicrafts. This commercial exchange is more than just a series of transactions; it's also a cultural one in which traditions are maintained, relationships are built, and tales are shared through the trade of things. Livestock Exhibition: The fair provides a venue for showing the great variety of cattle in the area. Farmers and herders parade their horses, yaks, and cattle with pride, showcasing their beauty, health, and power. This exhibit acts as a showcase for business as well as a representation of the close bond that exists between people and their pets. Exchanges of breeding methods, animal care procedures, and regional knowledge help to raise the calibre of animals.

Traditional and Modern Fusion:
The Lavi Fair perfectly blends traditional customs with contemporary modifications. During the day, the fair is abuzz with trading activities that showcase an array of items, such as quilts and utensils. As the sun sets, the fair transforms into an enchanting evening of folk dances and melodious performances around bonfires. This captivating blend ensures that the fair remains alluring over three delightful days.

Significance of Lavi Fair:

1. Cultural Heritage:
The Lavi Fair is primarily a cultural heritage celebration that offers the people of Himachal Pradesh a platform to display their rich traditions, customs, and artistic expressions. The fair's colorful parades, traditional music, and folk dances provide a glimpse into the diverse cultural tapestry of the state. It serves as a reminder of the resilience of these cultural practices in the face of modernization.

2. Historical Continuity:
The historical significance of the Lavi Fair is immense, dating back to 1720 when it was first initiated by Raja Kehari Singh. It is one of the oldest fairs in India and serves as a living history book, connecting the present generation with their ancestors and preserving age-old customs for future generations to cherish.

3. Trade and Commerce:
Trade is another pillar of significance for the Lavi Fair. It has historically been a crucial marketplace for traders, farmers, and artisans to exchange goods. The fair facilitates economic activity and encourages entrepreneurship. Furthermore, it aids in spreading awareness of modern agricultural techniques and advancements, ultimately promoting the growth of the local economy.

4. Tourism and Promotion of Local Crafts:
The Lavi Fair is also vital for the promotion of tourism in Himachal Pradesh. It draws visitors from across India and around the world, contributing to the local economy. Moreover, it serves as a platform to showcase the region's craftsmanship, from intricate handicrafts to warm woollen textiles, helping artisans find recognition and market access.


1. What is the Lavi Fair and why should tourists visit it?

The Lavi Fair is a captivating trade and cultural event in Rampur Bushahr, Shimla, offering a unique blend of history, traditions, and commerce that tourists can experience and appreciate.

2. When is the best time to visit the Lavi Fair?

The Lavi Fair takes place in November, with its cultural night function at PGSS Boys' School from the 11th to the 14th. This period offers an immersive experience into the region's rich heritage.

3. What can I expect to see and do at the Lavi Fair?

At the Lavi Fair, you can enjoy captivating cultural performances, witness the trade fair at Part Bungalow with a variety of goods, and explore the allure of Chamurthi horses—a true feast for the senses.

4. How can I engage with local culture and artisans during the fair?

The Lavi Fair provides a unique opportunity to interact with local craftsmen and farmers who showcase their traditional products, including woolens and dry fruits. This engagement offers insights into the region's culture.

5. Is there a modern touch to the traditional fair experience?

Absolutely. The Lavi Fair expertly blends historical practices with modern adaptations. It features bustling trade activities during the day and transforms into evenings filled with folk dances and bonfires.

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