The principality of Basher (also known as Bushahar, Bushahar, Bushahr) was once among the largest of the twenty-eight Shimla Hill States under the administration of the British Raj keen to invest on regional and transcontinental trade and exploit Himalayan resources. It bordered on the north with Spiti, on the east with Tibet, on the south with Garhwal, and on the west with Jubbal, Kotkhai, Kumharsain, Kotgarh, and Kulu. Caught in the machinations of the British imperial enterprise, it was subjected to political cum-economic vicissitudes, acceding to the Indian Union in 1947. On the 8th March 1948, along with twenty other princely hill States of Punjab and Shimla, Bashahr signed an agreement which resulted in its inclusion in the Indian State of Himachal Pradesh.
An annual Phag fair is organised to herald the New Year (Chaitra-Vaishakh) as per the Hindu almanac, by the residents of Rampur in Shimla District of Himachal Pradesh. This four day long festival aims to celebrate the arrival of Hindu New Year, in the last week of Phalgun month of the Hindu calendar. This is a historic fair, which we have been celebrating from a long time. Phag is derived from the Sanskrit word Phalgun or Fagun. The Phag festival showcases the cultural heritage of Himachalis (the residents of Himachal Pradesh). Seventeen deities from five districts; Shimla, Kullu, Manali, Kinnaur and Lahaul and Spiti, take part in the fair that is celebrated with much devotion and cultural display.
History of Phag Festival
Bushar dynasty was founded by ‘Pradhuman’, the son of Lord Krishna.In order to marry of Banasur daughter, the local chief of Shonitpur (Sarahan), Pradhuman have come to that place. He had an encounter with Banasur in which Banasur succumbs to his death. Pradhuman became the chief of Bushar and Kinnaur regions, since Banasur had no son.
Rampur was once the capital of Bushar State and Situated on the banks of the River Satluj.Phag fair dates back to Bushar dynasty centuries ago when the a lot of shepherds used to come to the gates of the palace’s along with their herds of sheep. And, the King used to host a fair for them.
Furing this festival farmers come in large groups to Rampur, carrying local deities on their heads or in religious processions.