Famous Nalwari Fair of Bilaspur, Himachal Pradesh

Himachal Pradesh, also known as Devbhoomi, is renowned worldwide for its rich cultural heritage and breathtaking landscape. The state is famous for numerous fairs and festivals that showcase its rich cultural heritage and traditions. These festivals signify important seasonal, historical, and traditional events. The Nalwari Fair of Bilaspur is one such event where thousands of people participate every year.

History and Importance

The Nalwari Fair in Bilaspur, Himachal Pradesh, has a rich history that dates back to 1889. The fair was initiated by W. Goldstein, who served as the Superintendent for the hills of Shimla at that time. Goldstein noticed a pressing need for good quality cattle across the state, and in response, he organized the fair as a means to encourage breeding and increase the number of cattle in the region.

The primary focus of the fair was on bullocks, which were becoming increasingly scarce in number. Goldstein's initiative aimed to provide a platform where cattle could be bought and sold, thus fostering a thriving market for livestock. This move not only addressed the immediate need for quality cattle but also laid the foundation for an annual event that would become deeply ingrained in the cultural fabric of Bilaspur.

Over the years, the Nalwari Fair has evolved into a significant cultural and historical event in Bilaspur, Himachal Pradesh. 

The Nalwari fair of Bilaspur was once celebrated as Basant Utsav, according to historical information. Bilaspur was previously known as Indrapuri during the rule of the king of Kahlur state. When Raja Anand ascended to the throne in 1936, succeeding Vijay Chand, the last king of Kahlur state, the fair began to be celebrated as Nalwari Fair.


The Nalwari fair used to take place at Sandu ground, but it got submerged after the Bhakra dam displacement. Now, the fair is organized at the famous Luhnu ground of Bilaspur. 

In the 1960s, the Nalwari fair ran at Sandu Maidan, as per the king's orders. Traders would come from Ropar and Nawanshahr of Punjab with goods, which they carried on camels. Bulls from rural areas of Ropar, Nalagarh, and Bilaspur were marketed in the Nalwari Fair, and thousands of animals were bought and sold. The fair had to move a long distance to Luhnu Maidan in the new city Bilaspur after Sandu Maidan got submerged in Gobind Sagar Lake.People from Palampur Kangra also used to come to this fair, at that time Palampur was known as Palama.

Main features of Nalwari fair

The Nalwari Fair is a vibrant and exciting event that takes place annually in the month of March at the Luhnu ground. This seven-day long fair is a celebration of the rich cultural heritage of the region. The Mela Management Committee does an excellent job of managing the fair, which ensures its smooth operation and success. 

The procession starts from the Lakshmi Narayan Temple of the city and is a sight to behold. The parade features a grand display of local folk dance groups, women's troupes, children, and traditional musical instruments and bands depicting mythological culture. Then the fair begins with the worship of a pair of bulls, which is a fascinating sight. Bulls are considered symbols of happiness, wealth, and grain, and they are worshipped with great devotion. A peg is planted to mark the beginning of the fair, which is a significant event for the locals.

The fair is more than just a commercial trading of cattle; it has become a hub for cultural exchange and entertainment. The fair features colorful cultural nights, during which local artists such as Yuvak Mandals and Mahila Mandals showcase their skills and talent. The fair also has a rich history of famous folk artists such as Late Gambhari Devi, Roshni Devi, and Santram Chabba, who used to present programs that were rich in folk culture during a certain period. Their performances were so popular that people from faraway areas would come just to listen to them. 

Wrestling is an integral part of the fair, providing local athletes with a platform to showcase their skills and physical prowess. Additionally, the fair features government department exhibitions, sports competitions, and other engaging activities, contributing to its popularity and appeal. 

Tourism plays a significant role in the Nalwari Fair, drawing visitors from different parts of India and beyond. Tourists, especially those interested in cattle or seeking to purchase livestock for agricultural purposes, find the fair particularly enticing. Beyond the fairgrounds, tourists can explore various attractions in Bilaspur and its surroundings, enriching their cultural experience. 

Moreover, a variety of sports and adventure activities such as wrestling, archery, paragliding, and river rafting are organized during the fair to attract visitors. The fair offers an unparalleled opportunity to experience the rich cultural heritage of the region, witness the skills of local athletes, and participate in thrilling adventure sports.

State level fair

As per the information  Ramlal Thakur, a prominent figure in Indian politics, was first elected as a minister in 1985, representing the Bilaspur district. He served as the Forest Minister, and his contribution to the state was recognized and rewarded by the then Chief Minister, who gave him the honor of the Nalwadi fair, elevating it to the state-level status. 

To commemorate this occasion, a grand procession was held for the first time from the Lakshmi Narayan temple in the city, which was headed by Ramlal Thakur himself. This procession was a sight to behold, with people from all walks of life participating in it and showcasing their culture and traditions. The Nalwari fair has since become an annual event and is celebrated with great pomp and show, as it provides a platform for people to come together and revel in the rich culture and heritage of the state.


The Nalwari Fair is a perfect example of the cultural diversity and heritage of Himachal Pradesh. The fair provides a platform to showcase the art and heritage of different communities. Although the fair was originally famous for cattle trading, today it has become more of a ritual. Nevertheless, the Nalwari Fair stands as a testament to the rich cultural heritage and agricultural traditions of Himachal Pradesh. It continues to serve as a celebration of community, commerce, and culture, preserving its historical significance while adapting to the evolving needs and interests of participants and visitors.

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