Explore Local Festivals Through Kashmir’s Cultural Heritage

Explore Local Festivals Through Kashmir's Cultural Heritage

Blog Home | Haveed Hilal | 19-11-2023

Kashmir, a stunning region known for its natural beauty, history, and cultural heritage. Local festivals in Kashmir are celebrated with zeal and enthusiasm all year, reflecting the region’s cultural legacy. This article will take you on a tour of Kashmir’s regional festivals as it examines their cultural significance.


Kashmir, well recognized for its natural beauty, valleys, mountains, breathtaking scenery, and thriving cultural history stands among the best vacation resorts. Kashmir’s regional festivals portray the locals’ practices, beliefs, and traditions.

The Value of Regional Festivals

Local celebrations are a significant part of a society’s culture and traditions. They provide people with a chance to socialize and celebrate their cultural history through an insight into the cultures and traditions of the area.


Locals perform on a stage in an event organised on Besakhi. Source: Northlines

One of the most important and widely celebrated holidays in Kashmir is Baisakhi. It marks the beginning of a new year among Hindus and the end of the harvest season in India. People pray to God and bathe in the sacred rivers during this festival. Dance, music, processions and food stalls are significant parts of this festival.

Maha Shivratri

Celebrated in Kashmir with pomp and a show. It is a Hindu festival organized to pay homage to the Hindu God Shiva and celebrate Shiva and Parvati’s wedding. The festival signifies overcoming darkness in life. People keep fast and meditate to get the blessings of Shiva. In Kashmiri, also known as Har-ratri.

Hemis Festival

Monks perform at the Hemis festival by dancing and wearing multicoloured masks. Source: Village Square

Hemis Festival is a celebration to honour Padmasambhava, held at Hemis monastery. People assume the festival to bless people with spiritual strength and good health. It starts in the early morning with the portrait of “Dadmokarpo” or “Rygyalsras Rinpoche” displayed for admiration and worship. The mystic mask dances of Ladakh, also known as chams performance, are a sight in this festival.


Navreh, also known as the Kashmiri New Year, held by Kashmiri Hindus, mainly the pandits, with great enthusiasm, pay homage to their Goddess Sharika. The people take a thali filled with particular food and other objects and cover it the night before the festival. In the morning, they view the thali and take walnuts from it to throw them in a river as their ritual. Later, turmeric rice in ghee acts as a last offering to the goddess.


It is also known as the Holiday of Breaking the Fast, celebrated by Muslims worldwide. It marks the end of fasting for the month of Ramadan. Eid-ul-Fitr celebrated for one to three days, involves giving and receiving gifts, feasting, and prayer.

Bahu Mela

People are enjoying swings and rides with their children at the Bahu Mela. Source: Hello Travel

This is one of the most important festivals in Kashmir. It is characterized by fun and portrays the traditions of Kashmir, from their dresses, folk dances and delicious food. People wear colourful costumes and exchange gifts as a sign of love and affection. 

Hazrat Sheikh Hamza Makhdoom’s Urs.

The Urs of Hazrat Sheikh Hamza Makhdoom marks the anniversary of the death of Hazrat Sheikh Hamza Makhdoom. He was a famous saint who introduced Islam to the area. Sacred scriptures and musicals are read at the festival.

Urs of Shah-e-Hamdan

Shah-e-Hamdan, a critical Sufi saint, Mir Sayyid Ali Hamdani, brought Islam to the area. The festival is characterized by reading scriptures, music and dance. 

Tulip Festival

Fully bloomed tulips, ready for display at the Tulip Festival. Source: India Today

The Tulip Festival in Srinagar, Kashmir, displays natural beauty with flowers spread across large areas. It is a must-attend event for people who love to indulge in flowers and nature, tulip lovers, and tourists. It included the exhibition of thousands of vibrant tulips of different colours.


Lohri, a well-known winter event, celebrated to rejoice in the harvest season on January 13th. To mark the end of the winter season, people gather around bonfires singing and dancing to traditional melodies.

Hazrat Bulbul Shah’s Urs

This event is held in remembrance of the Sufi saint, Bulbul Shah. One of the esteemed scholars thought to have contributed to the spread of Islam in Kashmir. Readings from sacred scriptures and musical and dance acts are essential to the celebration.

Chatti Padshahi Gurpurab

Chatti Padshahi Gurpurab, a Sikh festival held in Kashmir, involves the significance of honouring the birth of the sixth Sikh Guru, Guru Hargobind Singh. Readings from sacred scriptures, music, and dance are a part of the celebration.

Jhiri Mela

Jhiri Mela, view at night. Source: Amar Ujala

Jhiri Mela, an annual festival hosted in Jammu in honour of a renowned saint, Baba Jitto in which sacred scriptures play an important role. Dance and music are a part of this celebration.


Shab-e-Qadr, a Muslim event celebrated with great zeal in Kashmir commemorates the night of Prophet Muhammad’s first revelation of the Quran. 


Christmas a Christian festival celebrated among Christians in Kashmir, is a joyful one. Houses and churches are decorated, carols are sung, and gifts are exchanged as part of the celebration.


Kashmir’s festivals represent the locals’ practices, beliefs, and traditions. They allow people to socialize and share their cultural history while providing a window into the region’s cultural heritage.

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  • What is Baisakhi’s significance in Kashmir?

In Kashmir, the new year officially begins on Baisakhi, observed with considerable enthusiasm. To receive blessings from the gods, people perform puja and bathe in the sacred rivers.

  • When is Kashmir’s Tulip Festival observed?

Every year in April, people celebrate the tulip festival.

  • What purpose does Kashmir’s Jhiri Mela serve?

Baba Jitto, a farmer regarded as a saint in the area, happens to be the subject of the Jhiri Mela, held in his honour.

  • Significance of Urs of Hazrat Sheikh Hamza Makhdoom?

The Urs of Hazrat Sheikh Hamza Makhdoom, held to mark the anniversary of the passing of the famous saint credited with spreading Islam in the area is among the most sacred.

  • What purpose does Kashmir’s Hemis Festival serve?

The Hemis Festival marks the anniversary of the birth of Tibetan Buddhist founder Guru Padmasambhava. Colourful processions, musical performances, and dance numbers serve as their hallmarks.

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