Himachal tribals tone down festival after Leh disaster | india | Hindustan Times
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Himachal tribals tone down festival after Leh disaster

india Updated: Aug 15, 2010 20:33 IST
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Expressing solidarity with the victims of flash floods in Jammu and Kashmir's Leh town, tribals in Himachal Pradesh's Lahaul district have decided to celebrate their annual festival without fanfare, an organiser said on Sunday.

The three-day long tribal fair that began here on Saturday will be celebrated without dance and merry-making, festival organiser Suresh Kumar Kardo said.

The decision to shun celebrations was taken unanimously by the local people flash floods in Leh that killed at least 183 people and rendered hundreds homeless, he said.

"Special prayers are being organised both in the morning and evening for peace of the departed soul and early recovery of the injured," Kardo added.

"This is one the prominent festivals of the area. But we have decided not to celebrate it with much fanfare as a large number of people have died in flash floods in the nearby hills," Sunil Negi, a resident of Keylong, said.

The town is located on the Manali-Leh National Highway-22, some 200 km from the popular hill station of Manali. Both Ladakh and Keylong share similar climatic conditions with most of the land a cold desert. For more than five months every year, the people of the entire valley remain cut off from the rest of the world, owing to heavy snowfall.

Since centuries, the people of this landlocked valley in Lahaul and Spiti district celebrate the fair 'Janjatiya Utsav' with gusto Aug 14-16.

Deputy Commissioner Ritesh Chauhan said that the organisers of the festivals themselves decided not to hold dance and cultural programmes this year.

"Other events like rural sports and exhibition of dry fruits and crops are being organised as held earlier," he added.

A large number of Indian and foreign tourists have reached here for the fair, he added.

The Lahaulis, as the local people are called, are mostly farmers and grow mainly peas and potatoes.