Manali Winter Carnival 2021 from Jan 2
Manali Winter Carnival

Manali Winter Carnival 2021

Start Date: January 02, 2021

End Date: January 06, 2021

Address: Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India

Main attractions: Local culture, local cuisines, winter sports, Winter Queen beauty pageant, Voice of Carnival, folk dances, western dances, street plays, fashion shows, baby shows, magic shows and many more

Influence: National Level Event

Purpose: To boost winter tourism

Organizers: DC Kullu is chairman and SDM Manali is vice-chairman with both government and non-government members

Timing: Opening at 7 AM on 2nd January and cultural and other programmes will be held between 11 AM and 10 PM daily

The Manali Winter Carnival, the largest tourism event of Himachal showcasing the local culture and winter sports to attract tourists during the lean winter season, will be celebrated between January 2 and 6, 2021, an official said here.

Tourists will get to experience local culture, dance, songs, sports, local cuisines, tableaus, winter sports and many more during five days. While the colourful programmes to woo tourists will continue in the town, winter sports like skiing and snowboarding will be organized at Solang valley near the town. Over 4,000 local women will actively participate in the event to give it a local touch.

Aimed to boost the winter tourism and promote local culture, the national level winter carnival will begin with the presentation of over a hundred cultural tableaus and processions. Besides the participation of cultural troops from many other states, the tourists will get to see folk performances of all districts of Himachal while over 120 mahila mandals have agreed to participate. The mahila mandals will present folk dances on the Mall Road here for five days. Tourists will get a chance to dance on the Kullu folk tunes.

Winter Carnival Manali

Fashion show during Winter Carnival at Manu Rangshala of Manali

Winter Queen pageant, where beauties from across the country will vie for the title, will be the main attraction of the carnival. Unlike other beauty pageants where models get a pleasant weather during the competition, the participants here undergo catwalk on open-air ramp under sub-zero temperature. Sometime event is held during snowfall. Apart from western attire and dresses of their choice, the participants will have to come on the ramp while wearing Himachal dresses in one round. Screening to select participants has started in many places.

While addressing a meeting to review the preparations of the carnival, forest and transport minister Govind Singh Thakur said people will see a Winter Carnival in all-new look this year. “Apart from cultural, tourism and winter sports activities, we shall spread awareness about environment protection, cleanliness and traffic rules among tourists and other people. Carnival is playing an important role in tourism promotion and in sharing our rich culture with tourists from India and abroad,” he said.

Winter Carnival Manali

The minister added that the whole event will be completely plastic free. Group cleanliness campaigns will be run before and after the carnival. It was decided in the meeting that at least 5,000 saplings of different species would be planted during the event to send a message of environment protection.

Winter Carnival Committee vice chairman Raman Gharsangi said voice of carnival, folk dances, western dances, street plays, fashion shows, baby shows, magic shows and events in many categories will be organized in five days. “Groups from 15 states have been invited to participate. Group folk dance by over 4,000 local women wearing local attire on the Mall Road will be an attraction for tourists. Mahila mandals, NGOs and self help groups will establish food court where they will cook and serve only local cuisines to the tourists.”

The organizers are organizing winter sports and other adventure sports competitions during the same period to give them a boost. The tourism department and Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports, Manali, have been given responsibility for its smooth organization.

History of Manali Winter Carnival

The origin of Winter Carnival dates back to 1977 when it was inaugurated for the first time by the chief minister of Himachal late Dr YS Parmar. In fact, Winter Carnival is the brainchild of Harnam Singh, the founder of Western Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Manali (now Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports) who thought carnival was the need of the region to bring winter sports, especially skiing, to spotlight.

It started with skiing competitions on the Solang valley with active participation by professionals from HAWS, ITBP, and Gulmarg Ski School. The initiative was a big hit and started attracting hordes of fans to the sport. In a bid to give skiing a further boost and attract tourists, Harnam Singh started hosting cultural events simultaneously with the skiing competitions.

The cultural events were organized at the Manu Rang Shala and enthusiasts attended the spectacle from across the nation and globe. Thus began this interesting journey of the Manali Winter Carnival. Although this arrangement came to an end in 1984, skiing activities, State & National level competitions, along with regular courses, kept going smoothly. Manu Kala Kendra, a local club was at the helm from 1985 to 1992.

A year later it joined hands with Trios Mumbai and continued the Manali Winter Carnival on the earlier lines. Such was the popularity of the event that it was listed as a State Level Function in 1999. Since then the carnival has been celebrated with much fanfare. Tourists started visiting Manali in winter months to experience the local culture and winter sports.

The year 2008 can be termed as the turning point when Cultural and Skiing events were once again organized side by side. The only difference being that cultural programs were used to highlight skiing. Apparently the belief was that intermingling of the two would lead to mutual prosperity and pave the way for an international skiing event.

The 12th State Level Winter Carnival (7th to 11th February 2010) was organized on a large scale when the colourful programmes were brought to the Mall Road area from Manu Rangshala. Viewers got chance to see the events both at Manu Rangshala and on the Mall Road area. Numerous tourist attractions spread along the 250 metre stretch of the Manali Mall from the Ram Bagh Chowk to the Ibex Chowk. For the first time, an effort was made by the then SDM Rajeshwar Goel to directly involve the vacationers in the spectacle.

Winter Queen beauty pageant

Dozens of beauties from across the country throng Manali in the bone-chilling cold of January to vie for Winter Queen title, a distinct type of beauty pageant where models do catwalk on ramp of an open-air theatre where icy winds pierce through their skin.

Started a few decades back, the contest is gaining popularity among the young girls. Both well groomed models and newcomers take part in the event to win the silver crown and cash prize. First and second runner-ups are also awarded with silver crowns and cash prize. Winter Queen contest is a part of five-day-long Manali Winter Carnival which start from January 2 every year. Eligible beauties are chosen through auditions that take place in December in Himachal and other states as well.

The contest which is organized in night time when temperature dips as low as minus 5 degrees Celsius has several rounds and contestants are required to stand on the ramp for long times after catwalk. Contestants will be marked by judges on the basis of the catwalk, grace, intelligence, IQ level and presence of mind. While other beauty pageants see the bikini and other rounds, Winter Queen contest has both western and local dress rounds which involves wearing Himachali warm attire as well.

Girls are required to be unmarried to be eligible to take part in the contest and their age should not be more than 25 years. Minimum height of the contestant should be 5ft and 2inches. Winter Queen contest remains the main attraction of the carnival and thousands throng Manali to witness beauties walking through the icy ramp. Many Winter Queens have successfully made their career in Bollywood and modelling.

Pahari cuisines attract tourists in Manali Winter Canrival

Local pahari cuisines of Kullu attract thousands of tourists and local dish “siddu” is the main attraction of Manali Winter Carnival.

Siddu, aksadu, salty tea, femda and other old traditional cuinines of Kullu which are otherwise not available commercially elsewhere are served to people. Women from local mahila mandals, NGOs and self help groups cook fresh cuisines in the temporary established food court here. Based on taste, hygiene and presentation, best food stall is awarded in the carnival. According to women, their stalls are flooded with the customers, especially tourists.

Tourists enjoy folk dance, culture

Hundreds of women performing Kullu natti as part of folk dance competition during Winter Carnival, Manali, leaves tourists spellbound. Adorned with traditional attire and ornaments, the women of all age group forces tourists to dance with them on the tunes of folk music.

Folk dance during Manali Winter Carnival
Women perform Kullu folk dance during the Winter Carnival

Local women generally do not wear such attire and ornaments which are on the verge of extinction. This attire and ornaments are worn by very few village women who have preserved the culture and their traditions. The women during this special occasion become the centre of attraction for all. Although tourists do not show much interest in the variety of programmes that are presented in Manu Rangshala, they enjoy the programmes performed in the market area.

Updated on January 02, 2020

Ninth National Winter Carnival kicks off in Manali

The national-level Winter Carnival kicked started in Manali on Thursday with 135 cultural processions from Kullu and 26 teams from Himachal and other states showcasing their culture through tableaus, folk dresses and dramatic presentation of ancient lifestyle which is close to extinction.

national-level Winter Carnival kicked started in Manali on Thursday with 135 cultural processions from Kullu and 26 teams from Himachal and other states showcasing their culture through tableaus, folk dresses and dramatic presentation of ancient lifestyle which is close to extinction.

The carnival parade started after worship at Hidimba Devi temple. The cultural troops came to the main town from circuit house, after covering distance of about 1.5km and thousands of people, including tourists, thronged the both sides of the road. The processions and tableaus stopped at the mall road. The main events also began at Manu Rangshala, an open air amphitheatre, after lighting of the lamps by chief minister Jai Ram Thakur. The chief minister also flagged off Winter Hill Climb car rally from Manali. The rally race is being organized by Winter Carnival and Himalayan Extreme with a message of road safety.

Compared to 99 mahila mandals that participated in carnival last year, record 135 mahila mandals are actively participating this year. Entire Manali has been coloured in festive mood and hoteliers and travel agents are inviting tourists to Manali to enjoy this cultural bonanza. Hoteliers have offered special carnival discount up to 50 per cent to attract more tourists.

A tourists from Mumbai Pramod Shah said, “We reached Manali on December 31 and we had no information about carnival being celebrated in the town especially for tourists. We heard about this event for the first time. We are mesmerized to see the local women wearing colourful dresses and old ornaments. We spent the whole day observing the local culture. If we were informed about this in advance, we had option to plan our trip accordingly. Unfortunately, we have our return flight from Delhi on Friday.”

Chief minister Jai Ram Thakur said Himachal is known for its rich traditions and cultural diversity and the women of Himachal are always ahead of the men at this front. “I am surprised to know that 135 mahila mandals are participating in the carnival besides many NGOs and cultural groups from other districts of Himachal and other states,” he said. He thanked mahila mandals and NGOs for participating in the procession with a theme based on different social issues like cleanliness, drug abuse, gau-sanrakshan, women empowerment, awareness regarding female foeticide, environment conservation and many more.

Manali SDM Raman Gharsangi who is also Winter Carnival Committee vice-chairman said the successful conduct of carnival is possible with joint effort of government, mahila mandals, organizing committee members, hoteliers and local residents. “The main purpose of carnival is to promote tourism in off-season. We shall ensure maximum participation of the tourists. Local residents are showcasing culture and traditions for the visitors. Tourists should also taste the local cuisines like siddu, gicchay, aksalu, femda prepared by local women which otherwise are not available anywhere else,” he said.

A variety of programmes will continue at Manu Rangshala and on the mall road till January 6. Folk dances, folk songs, western dances, song competitions, winter queen beauty pageant and a large number of other programmes will entertain local and tourists.

Winter Carnival of Manali was first celebrated in 1977 when it was started to promote the winter games and local culture. Then organizers started organizing other cultural events to promote tourism. Since then, many experiments have been done with the carnival to attract more tourists.

Winter Queen beauty pageant 2021

Over 50 beauties from across the country will be doing catwalk in bone chilling temperature of Manali amidst snow-clad mountains from January 2 to win the Winter Queen beauty pageant 2021 title.

The distinct type of beauty pageant which is organized every year in peak winter season has gained popularity across the nation. A large number of women from many states come and vie for the crown. The five-day-long event starting from January 2 will be the part of the Winter Carnival, the largest tourism event of Himachal. The interested contestants who fulfil the criteria are shortlisted through auditions and can take part in the completion at Manali.

The pageant is very popular among the young women of the state who wish to make their career in modelling. The top three winners get the silver crowns and cash prize. Be it well groomed model or a newcomer, interest beauties can apply for audition close to her. If participant cannot reach a particular location for the audition, she can come to Manali on January 1 to undergo the special audition.

Unlike other beauty pageants where models get a pleasant environment during completion, the Winter Queen contest is conducted during night time at the open air amphitheatre in the middle of Manali town. The temperature during competition remains below freezing point. Many times it starts snowing while contestants do the catwalk. Besides western attire and dresses of choice, the participants will have to come on the ramp wearing Himachal dresses in one special round.

Contestants will get marks on the basis of catwalk, grace, intelligence, dressing sense, IQ level and many other criteria. Sometime contestants feel it difficult even to introduce them at their teeth chatter in cold. They feel uncomfortable in standing on the stage and some start shivering with cold. While many other events like fashion shows, folk dances, singing competitions, magic shows, talent shows, street plays and baby shows are organized in the carnival but winter queen contest attracts the maximum audience.

Winter Carnival vice-chairman Raman Gharsangi, who is also Manali sub-divisional magistrate, said contestants are required to be unmarried and their age should not be more than 25. “She should be at least 5ft 3inch tall and bonafide Indian citizen,” he said. He further added that all preparations for successful conduct of Winter Carnival are in the final stage. “Chief minister Jai Ram Thakur will inaugurate the carnival on January 2. All departments are instructed to ensure smooth supply of power and water and PWD, BRO and other agencies have been asked to keep roads open in case of snowfall.”

Old Posts from 2018-19

Manali to celebrate Winter Carnival from Jan 2 to 6, 2019

Posted on January 1, 2019

The five-day-long national level Winter Carnival, the largest tourism event of Himachal, will start from January 2 to 6 with participation of cultural troops from many states and all districts of Himachal Pradesh.

Aimed at promotion of local culture and to boost tourism in winter months, the carnival will begin with presentation of over 100 tableaus and cultural processions showcasing their art and culture. Winter Queen pageant, where beauties from many states will vie for the title, will be the main attraction of the event. Voice of Carnival, fold dances, folk songs, fashion shows and events in many categories would be organized in five days.

Over a thousand women from nearly 80 mahila mandals will present group folk dance on the Mall Road to entertain the tourists. After cultural processions on Wednesday morning, 5,000 people will sing National Song together and kick start various competitions.

Entire Manali has been coloured in festive mood and the local administration thinks large number of tourists will come to Manali during this period and those who are already in Manali for New Year celebrations will extend their stay. The hoteliers here have also offered discount of up to 50 per cent in tariff to woo the tourists.

Winter Carnival Committee vice chairman Raman Gharsangi said carnival is celebrated every year from January 2 to 6 with purpose to promote local culture. “All arrangements have been done. We shall ensure maximum participation of tourists and locals. As there is prediction of snowfall in coming days, PWD has been directed to be ready with machines to clear snow and keep roads open. Most of the teams from other states and districts have reached Manali.”

Winter games postponed

Unfortunately, absence of adequate snow on slopes has forced organizers to postpone the winter games. Winter games are the integral part of the Winter Carnival which were being organized at Solang after many years.

This is bad news for winter games lovers that national alpine skiing and snowboarding championships which were to begin from Wednesday have been postponed due to unavailability of adequate snow on the slopes at Solang valley.

Ashwani Kumar, joint director of Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports, said weather has ruined all preparations. “11 national teams, many clubs and individuals were invited for the championships in five categories. The event has now been postponed to February 2. Still, it will totally depend on snowfall. Presently all the teams have been informed about cancellation of the championships,” he said.

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The Himalayan


Stop Hurting.Com
April 17, 2020
A. Known for its scenic beauty, Rohtang Pass holds strategic importance for India. It s the gateway to Keylong in the landlocked Lahaul Valley from Manali in the state s Kullu district.
September 3, 2020
Hi, this is Mihil from Mumbai. I and my group want to participate in Manali Winter Carnival 2021. Can you send me the application form and procedure to participate and the terms and conditions? Thanks

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