Fairs & Festivals of Garhwal Himalayas
The Himalaya is often referred to as the abode of Gods. Its serene atmosphere snow clad peaks, swift flowing rivers and green valleys spread over vast areas are touched by a common undercurrent of spirituality. the Garhwal regions are dotted with ancient temples. On auspicious occasions, these centers of faith turn into venues of fascinating festivals, when people from far and wide gather there to offer their obeisance to the deity and give musical expression to their joy and happiness. This brochure present a brief description of the fascinating fairs & festivals of the Garhwal regions, that reflects not only the innocent expressions of jay but also provides an insight into the rich cultural tradition of the regions.
Jhanda Fair is held every year at the historic Guru Ram Rai Darbar in Dehradun City on the fifth day after Holi in the sacred memory of the Guru. The fair begins with putting up a new Jhanda (Flag) on the staff located in the compound of the historic complex. Besides local peple, a large number of devotees turn up from Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, U.P. and Himachal Pradesh etc.
Tapakeshwar is a legendary place located on the eastern bank of the river Tons. Lord Shiva is the reigning deity of the ancient temple located here in a cave. In the Skandapurana, the place has been referred to as Deveshwara. It is believed that during Dwaparyuga this place was abode of Guru Dronacharya who livd here with his family. Since then, the cave was known as Drona Gufa. One of the famous heroes of Mahabharata and osn of Guru Drona, ashwathama, was born here. When Ashwathama was very young, the poor father could not find any milk for him. The Guru was too poor to afford a cow. It was a matter of worry to the great master. One day, when young Ashwathama was crying for milk the helpless Guru advised him to pray and worship Lord Shiva who would bless him with milk. Ashwathama did so. Pleased with the young boy’s tough penance, Lord Shiva appeared before him in the garb of Brahmin and enquired about his wish.
Little Ashwathama asked for milk. Lord shiva blessed him and said theat milk would be made available here. Ashwathama found milk falling on the Shivalinga, drop by drop.
Ashwathama had prayed to the Lord by the name of Tapakeshwar and hence the place was known by the same name.
A big fair takes place here on the Shivratri day. Thousands of devotees congregate at this place on the day to offer prayers. Tapakeshwar is approachable from Dehradun by City Bus or Three Wheellers. It is about 5 kms. from the Railway Station.
Lakshman Siddha Fair
Lakshman siddha is one of the four siddhpeeths around Dehradun. It has immense religious importance. It is about 10 kms away on Dehradun-Rishikesh Road. It can be easily approached by city bus or three-wheelers and is located about 1 km off the road inside jungle. It is mainly a local religious fair held every Sunday, but last Sunday of April has a special significance, when people turn up in very large number and congregation of 20 to 25 thousand people can be seen offering obeisance to the samadhi here.
This fair is held at the Jhanda ground in contonment area of Chakrata block of the Dehradun district. It is about 3 kms from Chakrata. The fair reflects cultural heritage and tradition of Jaunsari tribe. A large number of people turn up in this fair from nearby Tehri, Uttarkashi and Saharanpur districts. The fair marks harvesting season in the area and reflects the happiness of the local people.
Mahasu devta’s Fair
Mahasu Devta’s fair is held at Hanol which is about 120 kms on the Chakrata Tyuni road. The fair takes place in August every year, when Mahasu devta (deity) is taken out in a procession Musical prayers continue for three days and nights. The haven samagri (offering material) is arranged by the Government of India. This is a local fair of jaunsari tribe. Thousands of participant throng the place on the occasion from the adjacent Tehri, Uttarkash and saharanpur district.
Shaheed Veer Kesri Chandra Fair (Chakrata Fair)
This fair is held at Ramtal in Nagau gram sabha of Chakrata tehsil in Dehradun district. Ramtal is a beautiful natural tank of about 30 mts. length and 30 mts. width, located on a hill and is connected with a 700 mts. long motorable road. The tank is surrounded bty a green ground which is the venue of fair. Every year during navrataras (April) a big fair is held here. A temple and a memorial dedicated to the freedom fighter Veer Kesri Chandra is located at this spot.