Tribal Lahaulis drive out demon ghosts at Halda festivities

Manali: The  Halda festival of Lahaul and Spiti was celebrated here with great  enthusiasm and gaiety at the local Janj Ghar by the residents of Lahaul and spiti on Sunday night.

The festival in Manali was organized by Layul-Piti Jan Kalyan  Sangathan. Ravi Thakur MLA from Lahaul and Spiti Assembly Constituency was Chief Guest on the occasion.

Halda festival in Lahaul valley

Interestingly as per the tradition, the Lahuli residents lit the torches  and threw the ghosts out from the Janj Ghar of Himalayan Buddhist Society.

As the part of the festival  the people sang and danced with the beats of drums throughout Sunday night.

Speaking on the occasion Thakur said that by celebrating the festivals like Halda the Lahuli  settlers in Manali had been preserving the folk art and culture of Lahaul valley despite staying in Manali.

He lauded the efforts made by the Layul-Piti Jankalyan Sangathan in this direction. He assured them of every possible help for the activities of  Buddhist monastery and Janj Ghar.

Amar Nath Sakiya, President  and Ramesh Thakur,  Vice President of the organization said that they have been  celebrating  Halda  for the last five years  at Manali.

Earlier Othang Lama performed formal ‘Pooja’ and paid obeisance to commence this unique and wonderful festival.

Local Tehsildar Padma Chhering, SHO Neel Chand Sharma and Bhagwan Singh were prominent among those present on the occasion.

Driving away ghosts

Dedicated to Deities and sacred spirits Halda festival was  celebrated on January 20, January 23  and January  27 in  Gahar, Tod and Pattan valleys respectively of Lahaul  and Spiti district .

Killing the demons

Photos by Prashant Sirkek

Sanjay Dutta, an engineer by qualification but is a journalist by choice. He has worked for the premier new agency Press Trust of India and leading English daily Indian Express. With more than a decade of experience, he has been highlighting issues related to environment, tourism and other aspects affecting mountain ecology. Sanjay Dutta lives in a village close to Manali in Kullu valley of Himachal.

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