Winter Carnival of Manali is one of the two winter fairs organized in Himachal Pradesh, with the other being the one in Shimla. It is organized in the month of February, when there is lot of snow and ice covering the slopes of Himachal hills. People coming to the carnival can opt for winter sports organized at snow-capped Rohtang range and ski slopes of Solang valley. One of the major attractions of the Winter Carnival of Manali is a beauty contest, known as the ‘Winter Queen’ contest.
It is presided over by a panel of judges, comprising of the tourists visiting the hill station. Other major highlights of the carnival comprise of the fashion shows and cultural performances by the local folk artistes. The procession that is organized at the Winter Carnival begins with the worship of Goddess Hadimba, at the Hadimba Devi temple of Dhungri. Thereafter, starts the cultural procession by the teams participating in the carnival. It comes to an end at the Nehru Park, popularly known as Ram Bagh.
The Winter Carnival of Manali holds the status of a state-level festival, declared by the Himachal Pradesh Government a few years back. Every year, a large number of teams from various youth clubs, colleges and universities all over India participate in the carnival, their performances being assessed by a panel of judges. This carnival has brought some fun and entertainment into the, otherwise, dreary life of the people of Manali in winters. At the same time, it has also led to a surge in the tourism in the hill station.