A cliché but often laced with snow-the year opens
with a heady cocktail. Thousands of revelers head to celebrate the New
Year at Shimla , Chail,
Manali and Dalhousie.
Around the common calendar's New Year comes Halda in Lahaul, which is a more private celebration of the event.
Along the valleys of Chandra and Bhaga rivers, a few members of every household step out with lit cedar twigs to a west oriented place selected by the 'lamas'.
These slender branches form the first flames of a bonfire, which is then dispersed. Shiskar Apa, the goddess of wealth is worshipped, and the dancing continues for a couple of days.
Halda is a popular festival of Lahaul and serves as an inclination of the New Year. It is celebrated sometime in the month of January, the exact date being decided by the Lamas. A private celebration among the Lahauli people, the festivities are dedicated to "Shiskar Apa", the Goddess of wealth in the lamaistic pantheon.