By : Swaran Deepak Raina
A fair commencing from July 27th will last for seven days till 3rd August 2014. Namely the International Minjar fair is a splendid carnival held in Chamba town of Chamba district, Himachal Pradesh. Known to be a real fun fiesta, the fair comes as a welcome break to the locals and tourists both who throng the region during the fair. Celebrated with a marked enthusiasm, the fair comes as a cultural binding force as it totally rejuvenates the ethnic spirit of the people of this region.
Deriving its name from the maize flower, the Minjar Fair finds a lot of legends and folklore’s attached to it. It is believed that an old lady wanted to meet the contemporary king of Chamba and was too poor to buy a nice gift for the king, so the lady took a maize flower along and presented it to the king. The king was so greatly moved by the simplicity of the lady that he declared the day to be feted as maize day or Minjar day.
Since then, the day began to be celebrated with great pomp and show. Those festivities take place in the form of Minjar fair at Chamba. It is also said that Raja of Chamba went to Kangra and won the battle. When he was coming back from Kangra via Bhatiyat, the season of Dhan was in full swing, people of the area were busy in their fields, thus, they presented the flower of that Dhan to the Raja. When Raja crossed the Jot and entered other side of Chamba, people were busy in maize crop and they presented the maize flower to the Raja.
In another story it is said that pooja of Varun devta is performed these days as major crop of the area is maize. Thus, the Minjar Fair is celebrated.
Upto 1947 it is said that one buffalo was sacrificed in the river Ravi, and it was said that if buffalo crossed right bank of the river then it will be not good for the people of Chamba town, and if crossed left bank of the river it is a good sign for the Chamba. After independence this legend was banned.
Minjar mela have now been changed a lot, it has been declared as International fair, in the earlier days Raja was the main hero of the last day procession he used to come on elephant, and all the people of villages use to come here to see His Highness. Now with the changing of time Chief Minister along with his ministers participates in the procession. So many cultural troupes and Chamba people also participate in the last day procession.
Mirza family specially authorized to make a cord of reshmi dhaga which is called minjar. They offer it to the Lord Raghuvir, and Bhagwan Laxmi Nath before giving to the market. Procession also started from the Akhand Chandi Palace of Chamba.
During nights, cultural programmes are organised in which many bollywood artists and local artists performs. Whereas, during day time, sports activities are performed which are main attraction of the Minjar Fair.
According to the Sandeep Kadam, Chairmain of Minjar committee cum Deputy Commissioner Chamba, said that this time many additions have been made to make International Minjar Fair more attractive.