BHADERWAH - Jatra

Jatra

This is a totally unique festival which is celebrated only in the villages - especially hilly villages of Bhaderwah. This festivals starts from Raksha Bandan and ends on the full moon day of November . These ‘Jatrans’ are celebrated villagewise or in some case two/three villages celebrate on same day.. This starts on day one in one village, then on the second day in another village, on the third day in some other village and so on till all the villages are covered. Like on a particular day this festival takes place in Nalthi village, then on the other day in village Sartingal, followed by village Linga, village manthla, village Mathola, village Bhalra, village Kondra, village Chinta and so on. On this day people invite their relatives from all over to their residence. Relatives generally start reaching in the evening and stay for night. Delicious food is cooked in every house which includes sheep and goat meat, chicken, Rajma chawal, and also a special dish called in Bhadarwahi (Chhloi) is cooked, which is eaten with honey and ghee. In the mid night, in some villages like Dandi, Dugga Chinta, Mathola a pooja is organised in the honour of the village diety 'kul devta' is organized. This is also called 'Kud' in the local language.

Around a huge bonfire infront of kul devta mandir of the village, people sing and dance to the beats of local dhol called 'Dhouns' and trumpets called 'Narsinghe' and chant 'Jai Bole vasuk naag ki Jai', 'Jai Bole Sanche darbar ki jai', 'Bole ga jaikara hoyega satkara bol sanche darbar ki jai'. The local poojaris of the area called 'Chelas' do what is called as 'dlani' in local language. It is said that when 'chaila' does 'dlani', the kul devta himself enters his body and listens to the problems of local people and also makes some forecasts which often are found true.

In the moning the local poojaries 'Chelas' take out 'Mala' for peoples darshans and pooja and also walk bare footed on red hot coals of the bonefire lit in the evening. This is called 'zagru'. (See video)

Approximately 20-25 such melas are held in Bhaderwah and Bhallessatehsils annually on different dates in the harvesting season. The last mela is called 'Malcha' held at Chinta and Rowtran at Gatha in the month of October. Both the Jatran and Malcha festivals are held at night time accompained by Kud (Dhekku) dance and fire jumping ceremony in the early morning. The festival of Rowtran at Gatha is worth seeing particularly. Groups of people at the fall of night led by one person with a timber made long burning torch in hand march from different adjoining villages and converge at villages and converge at village Gatha in the ground in front of Vasuki Nag temple. The view is very fascinating to observe in pitch darkness. The burning timber made torches are thrown into the burning heap of timber with folded hands where the local pujari (Chela) jumps in the next morning into the burning coal heap and crosses the burning heap of coal in full public view without suffering any harm. Slogans are shouted in favour of the diety (Vasuki Naag ji).



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