India is a land of festivals. The celebrations mean a time of joy, family, love, laughter and community spirit. Young ones enjoy the food and coming together of families while the older members cherish the traditions. Pori, a festival celebrated in Lahaul of Himachal Pradesh is one such ode to culture, tradition, and happiness.
Pori falls during the months of July and August every year. Lahaul Valley is a testament to the beauty of Himachal with its sweeping views, greenery, and clear vistas. The snow-capped mountains and ridges form an ideal setting for the colorful event.
The villages come alive during these months to pay their respects to the gods and their culture. Tourists and locals come together to enjoy this festival. The weather is comfortable with cool evenings and warm afternoons.
History of Pori
Pori was started as a day to remember and celebrate Lord Trilokinath. For centuries the deity has been a part and parcel of the lives of the villagers and the region.
Even in a changing world, the locals have continued their traditions. Families have passed their devotion on to Lord Trilokinath to the new generation. They bathe the statue in milk and yogurt. Kids, families and residents dress up in finery on the day of Pori. The morning begins early and the villagers gather around the temple of Lord Trilokinath. Once everyone is assembled, they start beating drums, dancing and singing.
The entire village is present to take part in the music and dance ceremony. A special butter lamp is lighted by the priest that is supposed to last from the morning to the night. The lamp signifies their devotion and the blessings of the God so butter is constantly added to stop it from dying. Special prasad is also made to be offered during Pori. The prasad is bright scraps of cloth that are considered auspicious and it is rude to reject it.
The dance and music is to signal the start of the ceremonies. After they have danced and sang their heart out, the Pori procession begins. Residents and devotees parade a horse around the temple. Legend has it that Lord Trilokinath himself sits on the horse, so on Pori, the horse is rider-less.
The horse is paraded around the village, followed by children and jubilant locals. The procession is gay and loud as it makes its way to the ruler or the King’s abode. The local ruler or King receives the procession with joy, food and music.
The horse is revered as it is the vehicle of Lord Trilokinath. On Pori, the horse is bathed in sweet water and fed the best food it can ever receive. At the King’s palace or home, the procession is invited to a feast of local delicacies and savories. Once the food has been enjoyed by everybody, the King takes his rightful place on the horse and begins to ride it.
The traditional part almost over, the King visits the elaborate fair held in the village grounds. The King inaugurates the fair and announces it open for others. A positive celebration, on Pori, the King will distribute food and clothes to the people in need. It is heartening to see such kind acts being followed even now.
The fair houses stalls, games and entertainment activities for visitors and locals. Families come together to spend quality time and take part in games and eat the snacks sold on the stalls. You can also watch plays or dances that commemorate local culture and history during Pori.
Souvenirs, knick-knacks, and artifacts are also sold for anybody interested in taking a memory of this colorful, riot of a celebration back home.