Minjar Fair in Himachal Pradesh
Minjar ( maize flowers) festival is celebrated in district Chamba of Himachal Pradesh at a place called ‘Chowgan’ in Chamba town. This festival is held in the month of July August and it continues for a week. This is an event that people in the Chamba Valley wait for all year.
The start of fair is announced by distribution of Minjar which is a silk tassel worn on front parts of the dress by men and women alike. The tassel symbolizes the shoots of paddy and maize which make their appearance around this time of the year.
The town of Chamba wears a colourful look with every person turning out in best attire. Most part of the Chowgan is converted into markets and people to brisk business during this week. Sports and cultural programmes are organized. People in thousands participate in this festival from within and outside the State.
On the final day, the third Sunday the gaiety, colourfulness and enthusiasm reaches its crescendo 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 and goes to the bank of the Ravi River.
The Minjar is offered to the river Ravi. A Minjar consists of a coconut, a coin, a fruit, and a few sherfs of paddy are tied in a piece of red cloth. It is a state fair.
After performing this ceremony, the festival is declared closed and the idols of Gods, Goddesses and Shahi flag are taken back to Akhand Chandi Mahal. Traditional Kunjari Malhar is sung by the local artists. Prayers are offered in Lakshmi Narain temple.
The fair started in 935 A. D. when the Raja of Chamba defeated the ruler of “Trigarta,” now known as Kangra. On his return, a celebration was held, and he was greeted by people with sherfs of paddy and maze.
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