The Minjar Mela in the Chamba district of Himachal Pradesh, where it is celebrated, has a fairly long history dating back to the year 935 AD. This is held on the second Sunday of Shravana, which usually falls during July-August. It is one of the most important state fairs of Himachal Pradesh and is promoted by the state tourism department. It is an occasion for joy and splendor with people from all over India participating in the festivities.
Origin and History of Minjar Mela
Minjar has its origin from the Hindi word Manjari which means maize flower or green shoots of maize. There are many versions regarding the historical origin of this festival. In one of the popular versions, it is said that in 935 AD, when the Raja Sahila Verma of Chamba came back victorious after defeating Raja of Kangra in a battle, he was welcomed with bundles of paddy and maize by the people of the kingdom.
Overwhelmed with joy and to commemorate the victory, the King ordered a full week of celebrations. It is also said that it starts on a Sunday because the Raja belongs to the Rajput Suryavanshi dynasty. Since then, it has been a custom to celebrate this period as an annual festival. This is celebrated during Shravan Maas when the green shoots of maize and paddy cereals emerge in the middle of the monsoon season. This is similar to the different harvesting festivals celebrated in various parts of India to express gratitude to God for the bountiful crop. The celebrations continued even during the British rule. The Raja was central to this Mela until the country became independent when all kingdoms merged with the country.
Another legend says the River Ravi was earlier following a different course between two temples, and the people in the kingdom used to face a lot of difficulties because of this. To help the people, the King requested a saint to perform a Yagna for 7 days, after which the river changed its flow to the present course. This auspicious period is continued even now and celebrated.
How to reach Chamba
Air can reach the place with the nearest airports at Pathankot and Kangra around 120 km away. The travelers by train have to go to the nearest railway station at Pathankot and travel by road to the place. The town is well connected by road with plenty of State road transport corporation buses that are available from various locations within and outside the state. The road is decent and motorable to travel by private cars and taxis.
Chamba is a region that has many historical temples and monuments depicting ancient Indian architecture, culture, and heritage.
Celebration of Minjar Mela
Minjar is a silk tassel worn on the dress of both men and women and normally tied around the waist, or as part of the headgear. Minjar Festival is a weeklong Mela celebrated in a colorful festive spirit when the locals showcase their beautiful culture and heritage.
The district administration organizes the Minjar Mela. The festival begins with an offering of Minjar, which is silk threads wrapped in red fabric, along with coconut and fruits to the God and river Ravi. The entire population is attired in their most colorful dresses, the atmosphere in the attractively decorated town is electric and a sight to behold. The weeklong celebrations include cultural activities, sports, and trade fairs. The choicest of the artistic wares from local artisans and other interesting items are available for the tourists looking out for special occasions or daily wear and exotic souvenirs to carry back for posterity.
Highlights of the Festival
The week-long festivities have many highlights.
- Manjari’s offering to God signifies the start of the festival.
- A procession is taken to the Raghuvir Temple in the King’s palace to offer prayers.
- An offering is also made to the Lakshmi Narayan Temple.
- The procession reaches Choughan, where the Minjar flag is hoisted.
- A hugely popular exhibition is held, where traditional wares from the local artisans in different trades are displayed and sold to the public.
- The exhibition also showcases various projects from different departments.
- Numerous musical programs like the rendering of the popular and traditional Kunjari Malhar are organized.
- Cultural programs like traditional folk songs and folk dances can be observed.
- Sports activities
- Distribution of prizes to the participants in events like sports, cultural activities and trade fair
- The festival ends on the following Sunday, the third of the month of Shravana, with the immersion of Minjar. It culminates with the procession of the Shobha yatra of Lord Raghuvir.
Celebrations of Minjar Mela 2021
Minjar Mela 2021 date is starting from 25th July. While the festivities in 2020 was a low key affair with the participation of outsiders banned because of the corona pandemic. Minjar Mela Live coverage was available on various cable TV networks and some TV channels to benefit tens of thousands of people who couldn’t participate and witness the festivities this year because of the restrictions. In 2021, people are expecting the condition to be normal again, and Minjar Mela to be back with its grandeur.
The Minjar Mela and Chamba town are must-visit for those looking for a trip rich in ancient Indian culture and art. You can rely on redBus to take care of all your needs related to travel bookings, hotel bookings, and commute from your place. You can download the redBus app or visit the ‘redbus.in’ website to book your tickets to have a memorable trip.
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