FESTIVALS OF BHADARWAH

Serial No.
Date
Yatra/Event
1
15 -18 -June
Festival of Bhaderwah
2
Dec 25 - Jan 15
Snow Festival
3
18- 28 Aug
(26,27, 28 Chhari Mubarak)
Machail Yatra
4
27-August
Kailash Yatra
5
19 August
(18 Aug Charri Mubarak)
Mani Mahesh Yatra
6
Roushera Mata Yatra
7
3-4 September
Mela patt

 

  Local festivals of Bhaderwah

                  Bhaderwah is famous for its local festivals. The mood of festivals remains throught the year.

 

Bhadarwah is not beautiful because of its pastures, mountains, valleys and ravines alone it’s because of its rich culture and traditions as well. Some of the fairs and festivals of Bhadarwah are unique. Bhadarwah has its own language, which has certain words that no other language of the world has. Bhadarwahi translation of Bhagwat  Geeta  by Late Pandit Gauri Shanker Shashtri and that of Mahabharta and Ramayana episode by late Master Hans Raj Sharma from a precious part of literary treasure of Bhadarwah. To promote Bhadarwahi , a literary society called Bhadarwahi Sanstha has published some books namely: Hian(1973) Bhadarwahi Lok Sahitya (1975) Gontho (1997) Bhadarwahi Lok Geet (2002) besides “A study of Bhadarwahi Folk songs (1969) Bhadarwah has remained a kingdom of the Naga dynasty. Though Bhadarwah has no written history, its rich past is depicted in its fairs, festivals and other unique rituals. The practice of Village Gods has not allowed to change the age old traditions and rituals continue even today though they are gradually getting faded up in the glare of rapid modernization. Besides celebrating national  festivals like Dewali, Dusehra, Eid and Janamasthmi, many  local fairs and festivals are celebrated   in   Bhadarwah

Kan Choth:This festival is particularly of women and falls in the month of february. Like Karwa Chouth that is celebrated in plains, Kanchoth is celebrated in hilly Bhadarwah. Both are celebrated by women to pray for long life of their husbands. Style is almost same. The only difference is the timing. Where as Kanchoth falls in winters, Karwa Chouth is celebrated duringsummer. Also that on Karwa Chouth women break their fast when the moon appears while as in case of Kanchoth the fast is broken after Gouri Pooja during the day. Ladies clad in their best suits and ornaments gather at the nearby water body, perform pooja and then sing Ghurai and dance one by one.

The festival though is of one day yet the festivity remains for three days. During these three days, ladies go in the neighborhood to offer ‘Thel’(respect) to one and all irrespective of creed and caste; age and sex and get in return their blessing ‘Suhagan Bho’(Live long your husband). The ladies are supposed to take food in every house they visit. In some cases it so happens that they have to take their meals in scores of houses each day. In the night ladies gather, sing Ghurai and dance at their tune. During these three days the kitchen is managed by husbands.  On hilly terrain covered by snow when ladies dressed in their colourful traditional dresses move in a line from one village to another, it gives a feeling as if fairies from sky had descended on the earth

MACHAIL YATRA: In the month of August a religious procession called “ CHHARI” of Chandi m,ata starts from Chinote Bhadarwah to culminate at Machil in Padder. In this procession  thousand upon thousands of devotees pouring in from all parts of the state to participate .

BAISAKHI FAIR: Unlike elsewhere,Baisakhi in Bhadarwah is  celebrated in parts.   On   April  12th  every  year,   a grand Mela is held at Subhar Nag in  which   thousands   of  people participated.   Next day i.e. on   13th of April   another grand Mela of Nagni Mata is held at Manthala where people from all around pay obeisanc, sing Bhakti songs and dance in order to please Mata for good crops. The Lake in the adjoining Chamba district of Himachal Pardesh. The yatra takes at least 15 days as the devotees have to tread the long journey on foot. This yatra mostly comes in the month of August. At home, people perform yajna in the form of Payal, Bagni, Ghanehk, Khadha etc. in order to get the blessings of Lord Shiva.As has already been mentioned, Naga rulers ruled this valley for a pretty long time with Naga cult deeply effecting culture and civilization of Bhadarwah. People erected temples of their Nag Devtas such as Vaski Nag temple at Gatha, Nagar, Nalthi and Bheja, Subar Nag temple at Subar Dha, Mehal Nag temple in Bhelesa and so on. Every Nag diety has its own “Yatra”, but Kailash Yatra and Ashapati Yatra are very famous annual pilgrimages.


Jattrain:- This festival is celebrated on a single day and keeps on migrating from villages to villages.i.e; it is celebrated in some specified villages on a day and then some other specified villages on next day. First jattrain begins on last amvasya of savan to purammashi of of kartika.


Chatroi:- a noodle lile sweet dish is prepared on this day and is offered with desi ghee and sweetened water.Flesh dishes are also prepared on this day. In  the nights people gather for dhaku dance.This festival is particularly meant to gather all the family members. The main jattrain are:-
"Shadu:"- its celebrated in the villages of Ghuraka, Cheka, Chattra, Kari.
"Malcha:"- it is celebrated in the valley of Chinta


DHARAMDEES
: Agriculture has been the basic profession in Bhadarwah. Paddy, maize, musturd, potato, knol -khol and variety of vegetables are grown here. Quality of Rajmash is so high in Bhadarwah that Rajmash of other places are sold in market by calling them as being  Bhadarwahi. Agriculture activites begin on first of Chet every year. After a long spell of winter when earth becomes clear of snow, people  irrespective of their creed and cast take their own oxen to the near by field, perform their puja by putting a ‘tilak’ on their foreheads and ‘Gur’ in their mouth and plough the land. The ritual is done by every male of the family including small children. Women  folk dig the land with ‘Kudali’. The day is called Dharamdees (Pious Day). In the preceding night a large ‘Thali’ filled with rice , cion and Gur is placed at the feet of the family deity. Next day, before dawn someone from the family goes to the near by ‘Bawli’ to fetch fresh water. It is supposed that one who fetches the water first of all is blessed by God almighty. The pot of fresh water is then placed near the ‘Thali’ called Kamrath and some gur eaten from it. This is done by every one from the family one by one. On Dharamdees people avoid going to each other’s house believing that their going would caste good or bad effect on the family for the whole year.                      

SHAKTI PUJA: Bhadarwah has been the land of God and Goddesses also. Its famous Gods and   Godesses are- Chandi Mata, Shitla Mata, Bhola Shanker and Vasuki  Nag. Among them Chandi and Shitla have a great significance for the people of Bhadarwah. Every village has a temple of either of the two deities and presence of their Nishanies (Tridents). At every hill top, every cave and under old trees bears testimony to the fact that the two deities have had a great impact on the civilization of the Bhadarwah. Though people throng the darbar of Chandi Mata at  Nalthi, Chinote, Haddel and Kansar round the year to pay their obesience, the main fair is organized at Rehoshira Sitla Mata temple where on eighth Novratra of autumn every year thousands of people from across Bhadarwah and adjoining Chamba district of Himachal Pardesh, Bani Basholi of Kathua and Ramnagar and Dudu-Basantgarh areas of Udhampur reached to offer their respect to the diety Goddess. Perched on the hill top , a long and tiresome trekking to Rehoshira makes the journey memorable. The fair becomes all the more interesting because on this day hundreds of  rams are offered to Mata as sacrifice. They are beheaded,their meat cut in pieces and distributed among the devotees as parshad to be relished at Dinner.Amidst chanting of bhajans in praise of Mata the devotees spent the night on the hill top.


PYALA: Pyala is attributed to lord Shiva.Like Kanchoth, it is also celebrated by Bhadarwahi people .worship of lord Shiva  is also an important aspect of Bhadarwah i culture . Every year manimash yatra begins from
Bhadarwah  to be culminated at Manimahesh . Paste of Kodra flour in boiling water is made and then put in a large earthen pot called ‘Matt’  for three days to ferment. The fermented substance is  ‘Pyala’ and is considered as Parshad of ShivJi. ‘Pyala’ is prepared by selected team of experts called ‘Bhandharies’. On the third day relatives and other people from adjoining villages are invited to take the parshad. On the occasion feast is served to the guests that generally comprises of meat of the rams slaughtered as sacrifice in the name of ShivJi.
Similar function is organized by Brehmans and other backward classes separately. Whereas in case of Brehmins it is called as Bagni. All   the three functions are conducted under the guidance of head priest  called ‘Guru’ and he is from Yogi family of Bhadarwah a tradition that has been going on for centuries together. Shivratri is also celebrated in Bhadarwah with full gaiety.

MELA PATT: Mela Patt is an annual fair which is celebrated in the memory of memorable meeting of King Akbar with Raja Nagpal of Bhadarwah. Impresses by spiritual powers of Nagpal, the Mughal King had offered some precious rubies and jewellery to Nagpal as a present, which are displayed during Mela Patt it is begins on Nag Panchmi and continues for three days.


NAAG POOJA:
Besides Shakti and Shiv Pooja, Naag Puja is also an important aspect of Bhadarwahi culture. The process begins with opening of ‘Dara’(gate) of  Nag temple at Subar Dhar on last day of Chet every year. The temple is closed before onset of winter that experiences heavy snow fall making it virtually impossible to reach the place. On that day huge procession of devotees belonging to Bhadarwah and its surroundings villages converges at Subar Dhar temple. They perform Puja of Subar Nag and then  dance on the sprawling hill  amidst blooming mountain flowers and flocks of flying butterflies at the enchanting tunes of traditional music played upon large drums and pairs of flutes. This is followed by Puja of Vasukinag at Vasak  Nag temple is performed at Gatha temple. Puja of other  Nag  deities  like Budha   Nag at Bheja, Chatterbhuj Naag at Mathola, Vasuki Nag at Nalthi, Shantun Nag  at Saringal is also performed on their annual Jaterday separately.
As has already been mentioned, Bhadarwahi is predominantly an agricultural society. The agricultural activity begins on first of Chet and ends in the month of Magher before the harsh winter begins. But the intensity of such activity spreds in two phases. One from sowing up to ‘gudai’ and another harvesting in the autumn. In between farmers are almost idle. During this time people of Bhadarwah celebrate by organizing fairs and festivals locally called as Jater and the process continues  for long three months. Jater are annual celebrations dedicated to Nag deities. On this occasion relatives  and friends are invited for a dinner that comprises of  mutton dishes. In the morning specific puja of rams to be sacrificed in the name of the diety are performed which make them tremble. When the rams tremble they are slaughtered believing that there sacrifice has been accepted by the deity. . Every house perform the sacrifice and during the night a fair is organized AT THE LOCAL Naag temple where people dance at the tune of traditional Dhaku music amidst chanting of devotional slogans. Jaters begin on Ist Amavas of Sawan and ends up on Purnmashi of Katak every year. Hirai, Rotran, Shadu and Malcheare main Jaters of Bhadarwah. During this time some pilgrimages are also undertaken. And Kailash Yatra and Manimahesh yatra are some of them.


MARRIAGES: After harvesting it is time for organizing marriages.Marriages in Bhadarwah are mostly arranged ones. Dowary is not a curse in Bhadarwah. Parents of the bridegroom give whatever is in their means. Though the marriages in Bhadarwah are not expensive, their festivity is far impressive. Relatives and guests arrive on the first day of the marriage i.e. Mehandi and leave only after departure of “Dhullan” or her arrival. For these three days atmosphere in the house of the marriage remains festive and lively.
EID: Bhadarwah has a fairly large number of Muslims also. They celebrate Eid with full fun fair. There was a time when Hindu’s and Muslims would celebrate Eid and Holi together. Muslims would participate in Janamashtami celebrations and perform in Ram Leela. The Malik family of Bhadarwah would even play Holi with his Hindu friends. But the binds

Ms. Mehbooba Mufti

Hon'ble Chief Minister, Jammu and Kashmir

Smt. Priya Sethi

Hon'ble Minister of State for Education, Technical Education, Culture, Tourism, Horticulture, Floriculture and Parks.

Sh Sarmad Hafeez (IAS)

Secretary Tourism.