By: Swaran Deepak Raina
Chamba (July 24): Ages of rich tradition, warm and cordial people, a landscape of incredible variety and gorgeousness, all are combined together and reflected in variety of fairs, festivals and celebrations. There are somany deities worshipped in Himachal and numerous fairs and festivals are held in their honors.
MINJAR is the one of the most popular fair of Chamba which is attended by a large number of people (one lakh approx in a week ) from every nook and corner of the district and from all over the world. MINJAR Fair is held on the second Sunday of Shravan month( July).
The international Minjar festival started off here amidst much enthuiasm. The highlights of the festival will be cultural programmes by troupes from within and outside the states, and of course the traditional ceremonies associated with the festival.
Kunjri Malhar folk singing and dancing is a special feature of the fair. The fair begins when the hoisting of Minjer flag at historic Chowgan ground. The town of Chamba wears a colorful look during the seven-day festivities.
Most part of the Chowgan is converted into markets and people to brisk business during this week. Sports and cultural programmes are organized. On the third Sunday the gaiety, colour fulness and eagerness reaches its upsurge when the colourful Minjar procession of the deities accompanied by dancing troupes, traditionally attired locals, traditional drum beaters along with Police and Home Guards band, begins its march from Akhand Chandi Mahal for the venue near the Police Lines. A great convergence of people is also witnessed there.
When the procession reaches the place of immersion i.e. Manjri garden on the river bank, the chief guest (local raja) throws a coconut, a rupee, a seasonal fruit and a Minjar tied in a red piece of cloth Lohan – as offering to the river. Earlier there was a tradition to throwing buffalow into the Ravi. This is followed by prayers in Lakshmi-Narain temple. During the week-long celebrations, people wear a silken tassel with stalks of Minjar, the maize plant as a symbol of their prayers for a bountiful harvest.