Bhadarwah is a cultural epicenter. You can find a blend of cultures, making it distinct
from the rest parts of the country and not only from the different cultural forms,
but from geographical,demogeographically,ethical,social entities,forming a distinct
spectrum of diversity.Its different cultural forms like art and architecture,
fair and festivals,rites and rituals,seer and sagas, language and mountains, embedded
in ageless period of history,speak volume of unity and diversity with unparalled
cultural cohesion and cultural service.
Bhadarwah is rightly
said to be Switzerland of India. It is nature's grand finale of beauty. In this
unexplored paradise of earth's seasons is in strong individuality vie with one another
in putting up exquisite patterns of charm and loveliness. Nature has left an indelible
mark on the folk performances of Bhadarwah as they are intimately interlined with
the moods and movements of the seasons.
This place has been the seat of Rajas and Maharajas whivh has cemented and enriched the cultural,historical and social bonds of all these diverse etthnic and linguistic division. The ancient archeological monuments and remnants speak volume of the cultural traditions of the region. There is a team for every religious activity to be performed. The Leader of the team is Guru ji, he is the most important person of this team.
Some of the popular traditions:-
Dheku or Kudd:
In the town of Bhadarwah and its hilly roads, there are number of holy places and memorials of pious religious priests. Their doors are closed on the eve of Dussehra and opened on the day of Shivratri. Then devotees start their pilgrimage to these deities and perform 'Dheku' folk dance.Before commencing the pilgrimage the folk dancers worship the big drum called 'Dhol' with flowers,fragrance,Nazva etc. This folk dance is performed in two ways, somewhere it is performed around the bonfire and at some places in the light of the three burning 'Mashals'. The folk dancers stand around 'Ransingha','Dhonsa','flute' and many other musical instruments. With the music of 'Ransingha' the folk dance starts, the dancers dance with artistic movements of their long steps and with loud roaring sound "Oh-ho Oh-ho". They dance waving their arms artistically in the air as if the high trees are moving in the wind.Some-times they keep their hands on their waiste, the women folk dancers move the upper part of their body like men to the right and then to the left and give movement to their feet on the musical sound of the instruments.
Musadhe:-is basically songs with rythm and tune.These are religious and historical
songs that mostly picturize some historical event in the form of a song. It is sung
on the rythms of Kindhri and Dhapli.These songs describes the pride and truthfulness
of Ramyana,Mahabharata,Raja Harish Chandra that are loved by the listeners.
In the east of bhadarwah there is a town named "Bhalesa".The women folk dancers of this area are known as 'Ghurai'. It is on of the distributery of folk dances of Bhadarwah. It is sung by a group of married women on the occasion of Kunchouth. These are religious songs which are sung to worship 'Gori Godess'.The verse of these songs tells the story of marriage of Lord Shiva and Parvati Mata. All the married women except widows in colourful dressess sits in a circle and then sing Ghurai / Churaian and dances along the circle. These songs contains prayers for the long life of their life partner.
Gujjar Folk Dance:-
Gujjar and Bakarwals are nomads.Like the Guddies they come down to plain and barren areas of Jammu during winter.During summer they go deep in the mountaineous valley including Bhadarwah with their cattle.Some Gujjars have become wealthy and they carry out business of milk,cheese and ghee. On the occasion of marriage and'Khatna' the Gujjars perform their folk dances.
It is a harvesting folk dance of the hilly area in the remote area of Kishtwar,Bhadarwah and Doda. There are peculiar way to get grains of Wheat,Joe etc. they make small bundkes of harvested crop, by keeping then in the centre five or six men stand on one side while five or six women stand opposite to them. they sticks in their hands tied with "Ghungurus". These sticks are called "Chhini".In this dance the only musical instrument is the"Ghungrus". First party takes a step ahead and beats the bundle of Harvesting crops with "Chhini" then the group standing opposite to them do the same. This movement of folk dance continues, there is a same movement of every folk dancer's feet. The people standing near by sings song.
The first day of the month chaitar according to Panchang is celebrated as a new year in Bhadarwah..The prepration begins at night before this day. After dinner, rice is filled in a huge pot, and this heap of rice is decorated with silver coins,gud,flowers and fruits and kept in the kitchen.It is called "Sheehkatta" or "Kamrath" in Bhadarwahi language.This day is called the day of Dharm or Punya.On this day before the sunrise,a male member of the family goes to the source of water, after bathing there he take water in a pot and bring it home.On the main door of his home he says to the head of the family "Pumav Bhoy" and the head replies "Nich punav". The male member then goes in the kitchen where the Kamrath is kept,he looks at each thing kept there and prays to get all those things in life,then he took a little gud and eat it.After him every member of the family do the same.On this day farmers starts working in their fields,all the family members together worships the Dharti Mata(Eatth),their Ox and all the instruments used in farming.It has same importance as Baisakhi has.
In this ritual food is prepared in the name of Lord Shiva. This is a special type of food made of Wheat flour, Ghee and sugar and are called "Rott". After the worship of Patter and Gur, on the permission of guru ji food grains are filled in a copper pot called patter.this ritual is performed by the head of the family.after filling the pot every family member do the same.In this ritual only Guru ji and the Family takes part.
Roshera is a holy place of Mata Shitla. people continuously thronged the spot from Chamba,Bani Bilowar,District Kathua for paying obseience and had the hair of their children cut in full musical sounds. The largest and biggest Mela is observed in 'Nav Roshera' an the Navratras(Ashtami) nad people in thousands join this yatra.
The culture of Bhadarwah has a great effect of 'Nag kalt'. Along with Shiv-Shakti People adore Naag devta equally.In the month of March Naag pujan begins with prayers of Subar Nag.The doors of Subar Nag temple are opened after the passage of Sharad month of hindu calander. On this day people in different groups from various villages of Bhadarwah (like Chinta,Manva,Sherora,Bhalara etc.) meets at the Temple
Yuddha or Leela of Ram-Raavan-Naach:-
This dance is performed mainly in the eastern parts of Bhadarwah in Bhalesa area during the month of November and December. It is the only folk dance in Jammu Province which is performed by weaving masks.People call this dance as 'Yudh or Mehrekha' dance on the musical rythm of 'Dhol' the two groups of the folk dancers come running and they stand opposite to each other. They have Masks on their faces made out of wood.One group have black woolen robes whereas the other group have white woolen robes.They have heavy 'Ghungroo' tied arround their ankles.They have bow-arrows in action in their hands. The musical group have a big bronze bowl,a dhouns and flutes. On the rythm of music one-group steps ahead with bow and arrow while other group steps back.Victory loud sound is made.The folk dancers narrate the epic of Ram Na Raavan through their songs in their own mother tongue.
It is a festival of children. On this night all children collects woods at a place called Dhundhu-Kundhu,and on next morning before the sunlight appears they collect at that place,burns the woods and enjoy singing and dancing arround it.It view like a camp fire.On this day, before sun rise children in different groups goes to every house of the village and the villagers have already prepared special food for them like Poi,Ghee and Honey.Then all the children recollects at the place of Dhundhu-Kundhu,they give the first bit of the collected food in the name of a witch Dhandha,then enjoy their food happily