Lavi Mela 2017, Rampur, Himachal Pradesh, India:
Although the live performances during Lavi Mela last for four days, the fair itself continues with shops being regularly added to the fair. Some of the merchants first attend the Kinnaur Lavi fair held in Reckong Peo and then come down to Rampur. The merchants from Kinnaur sell apples, walnuts, almonds, pine nuts, rajma and also dry apples and apricots.
As I walked around the fair seeing so many different items for sale, I saw (and subsequently bought) an incense shrub which is burnt in a container over coal during prayers in monasteries and also by people at their homes. I also came across a herb which smelt exactly like onions. Out of curiosity I asked the shopkeeper what it was? He then told me that it does smell and taste exactly like onions and can be used as an alternative. He also informed me that it grows in the high mountains and arid regions.
People go to the higher reaches of the mountains and collect these herbs primarily for self consumption. Guess I will find out really soon how it tastes, as I bought some for myself.
Before heading back, we chose one of the many food stalls setup at the college ground, run by a group from Hamirpur and gobbled up some fresh Makki Ki Roti and Sarson Ka Saag.