Rampur is a small town based on the banks of Satluj river and is connected by the national highway somewhere around 130 kms from Shimla. Rampur has always been one of the major routes of trading between India and several important trading centers including Afghanistan, Ladakh, Tibet and Kinnaur. The international trade festival at Rampur is a much celebrated and awaited event that takes place in Rampur every year in the month of November and is believed to be 300 years old.
Even though the fair lost its glory a few decades back, it has found its way back amongst the top international fairs held across the country due to the continuous efforts of the government. Being an active supporter of the Lavi international fair, the government took several steps to modernize the trade activities at the fair. Various incentives are given to traders all over the country to showcase their goods and engage in trade activities.
History behind the fair
Historical records of the erstwhile state of Bushair have a mention of the Lavi fair. In fact, it was during the reign of Raja Kesar Singh that a treaty of trade was signed between Tibet and the Bushair state. The two states even exchanged horses and swords as a mark to celebrate the trade relationship. These relationships were expected to be carried over for ages. But Tibet was occupied by China and as a result all the trade activities between the two states were halted before being resumed again after several years.
There is a custom that Rampur people have been following since the time the fair was first held. Locals churn the water of the river Satluj before engaging in any trade activity. People believe that this activity will bring good luck to the traders engaged in the fair. There are several other customs too that are carried out before the festival begins.
The fair and the celebrations
Lavi fair is a great crowd puller to the town of Rampur. Thousands of makeshift shops are opened where native artisans as well as traders showcase their products. Even though you can get anything here, don’t miss the woolens made of famous and high quality ‘Pashmina wool’- a specialty of Himachal Pradesh. Along with pashmina woolens, woolen pattoos are also a hit amongst the shoppers. The fair is also a good place to get some exotic varieties of Himachal dry fruits and several agricultural products. You will also find a number of tribals selling horses of ‘Chaumkhi’ breed. These horses are surefooted and are in a high demand by horse lovers all over.
The sheer figures of trade that happens in the 4 day long Lavifair, make it one of the largest trade fairs in the northern India. The Lavi fair is the perfect occasion to display the Indian culture and trade in front of the tourists as well as traders from all parts of the world.