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The festivals of Jammu and Kashmir have a very religious significance in the life of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. These festivals are an essential part of the state and observed with great enthusiasm and fun in which the people of all caste and religion participate. Today, these festivals are perhaps the only occasion when the culture and tradition of the Jammu and Kashmir region come alive. Some of the festivals which are celebrated in Jammu and Kashmir are the Lohri Festival, Baisakhi Festival, Bahu Mela, Jhiri Mela, Puramandal Mela and Navratra Festiva


Lohri Festival

The Lohri festival marks the onset of spring and is also known as Makar Sankranti. The whole region wears a festive look on this day. Thousands of devotees take a dip in the holy rivers. 'Havan Yagnas' light up nearly every house and temple in Jammu. In the rural areas it is customary for young boys to go around asking for gifts from newly-weds and parents of new-borns. A special dance called the 'Chajja' is held on the occasion of Lohri. It makes a striking picture to see boys along with their 'Chajjas' elaborately decorated with coloured paper and flowers dance on the street in a procession. The whole atmosphere comes alive with pulsating drumbeats.

Baisakhi Festival

The name Baisakhi is taken from the first month of the Vikram calendar. Every year, on the first day of ‘Vaishakh’, the people of Jammu, celebrate Baisakhi. This festival is also known as the harvest festival, and is considered auspicious especially for marriages. Devotees who take a ritual dip every year, throng the rivers, canals and ponds. Many people go to the Nagbani temple to witness the grand New Year celebration. The occasion is marked by numerous fairs and people come in thousands to celebrate the beginning of the New Year and watch the famous ‘Bhangra’ dance of Punjab. For the Sikhs of Jammu, Baisakhi is the day their tenth guru, Guru Gobind Singhji, formed the Khalsa sect in 1699.

Bahu Mela (March-April & September-October)

Bahu Mela is a major festival which is held at the Kali Temple in Bahu Fort, twice a year in the month of March-April and September-October.

Chaitre Chaudash (March-April)

Chaitre Chaudash is celebrated at Uttar Behni, about 25 kms from Jammu. Uttar Behni gets its name from the fact that the Devak river, locally also known as Gupt Ganga flows here in the northern direction.

Purmandal Mela (February-March)

On Shivratri, the Jammu town wears a festive look as people celebrate the marriage of Lord Shiva to Goddess Parvati. This festival is celebrated for three days in Purmandal which is about 39 kms from Jammu city and known as Purmandal Mela. The people of Jammu also come out in their colourful best to celebrate Shivratri at Peer Khoh, the Ranbireshwar Temple and the Panjbhaktar Temple. In fact, if one visits Jammu during Shivratri, one finds a celebration going on almost everywhere.

Jhiri Mela (Oct-Nov.)

Jhiri Mela is an annual fair which is held in Jhiri in the name of Baba Jitu, a simple and honest farmer who preferred to kill himself rather than submit to the unjust demands of the local landlord to part with his crop. He killed himself in the village of Jhiri, 14 kms from Jammu. A legend has grown around the Baba and his followers congregate at Jhiri on the appointed day from every corner of North India as they revere him for his compassion, courage and honest

Navratra Festival (September-October)

Though the yatra to the shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi is a round-the-year event, the one undertaken during the Navratras is considered the most auspicious. This festival is celebrated in the month of September-October. In order to showcase and highlight the culture, heritage and traditions of the area during this period, the State Tourism Department has instituted the Navratra Festival as an annual event to be held during September-October for all the nine auspicious days of Navratras. A large number of pilgrims pay their obeisance to the deity during the Navratra festival. This festival showcases the culture and traditions of the region among the millions of pilgrims who visit the Vaishnodeviji Shrine during this festival.


 

 

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