Manali: Five day long 8th National level winter carnival gets underway on 2nd January. The festival is to be inaugurated by chief minister Jairam Thakur. The winter carnival main attractions will be Himachali Food Festival, Craft Bazaar, Local Band Competition, Folk Dances, and Street Play.
Raman Gharsangi, SDM, Manali, who is the Vice President Winter Carnival said, the event would be a big tourist attraction which will showcase the rich culture & traditions of Himachal and the region. Efforts are being made to have the tourists participate in the Carnival. The entire 250 metre stretch of the Manali Mall from the Ram Bagh Chowk to the Ibex Chowk has been earmarked for Carnival activities during the festival, he said.
Raman disclosed to promote tourism, the Carnival committee decided to motivate travel agencies of different states in India to promote package during the carnival and many travel agents agreed to do so. The local office of the Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation and the private Hoteliers are also offering special packages for the festive Christmas & New Year week so that a larger number of tourists visit the valley.
A winter queen and man’s personality contests apart from display of local culture of Himachal will be main features of the Manali Carnival 2019.
Mohan Singh Brotapa, Member of winter carnival committee while speaking to Hill Post said that audition of Winter Queen will be held 8th December in Chandigarh, on 10th December in Shimla, on 12th December in Mandi and on 14 December in Manali. He further said that first prize will be Rs 1 Lakh, second prize will be Rs fifty thousand and third will get thirty thousand cash prize with a crown.
The Manali winter carnival, started way back in 1977, was brainchild of Harnam Singh, the founder of WHMI ( Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports). The cultural events are organized at the Manu Rang Shala and teams of students and non-students from all over India participate in it.
From 1985 to 1992 the carnival was conducted by Manu Kala Kendra, a youth club. In the year 1993 members of Manu Kala Kendra joined hands with Trios Mumbai and continued the Winter Carnival Manali by organizing Cultural Competitions.
Nonetheless the festival became highly popular and earned itself the status of State Level Function. In 1999, then chief minister P K Dhumal, while inaugurating the Carnival in 2010 year made the announcement of elevating the Manali Carnival to a state level event and since then the Carnival has become an important event in the cultural calendar of Himachal and it has been celebrated with much fanfare each year.