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, 2020, 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 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.
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.
Manali Winter Carnival 2020
Start Date: January 02, 2020
End Date: January 06, 2020
Address: Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India
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.
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.
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.