Celebrating Ukhyang- the Festival of Flowers- in Sapni village of Kinnaur, as fall sets in
Storyteller: Adit Negi
Village Kupa, Kamru Panchayat, District Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh
Read this story in Hindi
Growing up, my maternal village ‘Sapni’ had always fascinated me, maybe because over the years I had seldom visited it. This time around my longstanding desire took me there and gave me the opportunity to witness one of the famous festivals of that village, called Ukhyang, in its entirety.
Ukhyang, or the festival of flowers, is celebrated across the Kinnaur region of Himachal Pradesh in the month of September, marking the full bloom of flowers, especially the rare wild flowers (like the Brahmakamal or the Saussurea obvolata and Delphinium) to be found on high alpine slopes, just before fall. It’s not just another seasonal festival for us, but a grand celebration to acknowledge the blessings of nature and our local deities. Although the core elements of this festival might be common across Kinnaur, every village has its unique way of celebrating it. And Sapni, by far, has been the closest to my heart, maybe because this time I was living the stories I had heard from my mother and other relatives.
Journeying through this festival has been a fun and a warm experience. In other villages in Kinnaur, it is a two-day affair but here it goes on for five days. From the highlands of the village to the main ‘Santhang’- village temple, the deities and their blessings are spread across the mountains like wildflowers. And the local groove is as graceful as the people I have interacted with. This film is my attempt to capture the vibrant joy and my experience of it.