The festivities and the celebration with an abundance of striking colors in the backdrop of snow and evergreen forests, the fair and beautiful people smiling and laughing, girls with rosy cheeks dancing and feasting resemble the glimpse of the paradise. This is the picture anyone on earth can watch by a visit to Jammu and Kashmir during the festive season that comes too often to be missed by the visitors. The enthusiasm, the zeal and the excitement brighten up the whole state. There are major Indian festivals like Holi and Diwali celebrated with a traditional fervor and joy and there are a few local festivals celebrated in special Jammu style. Lohri and Baisakhi in February, 3-day Jammu Crafts Mela during Baisakhi in April and Bahu Mela celebrated twice a year, to name a few.
The name 'Baisakhi' was derived from 'Vaisakh', the first month of the Hindu calendar. Normally celebrated on April 13th, it is the harvest festival of northern India and is considered auspicious especially for marriages. Every year, devotees throng to the rivers, canals and ponds of their region to take a ritual dip. During this festival, numerous fairs are organized. It also marks the beginning of the New Year and holds special significance for the Sikhs of Jammu. On this day, their tenth Guru, Gobind Singhji formed the Khalsa sect in 1699. The Sikhs, therefore, celebrate this festival as a collective birthday. Bhangra dance is generally performed as part of the celebrations.
Celebrated to welcome the Spring with a special fervor in Jammu region, it is celebrated on 13th January, one day before Makar Sankranti. Thousands of devotees take a holy dip in the holy river. 'Havans' and 'Yagnas', the rites and rituals, are performed in nearly every house and temple in Jammu. In the rural areas, it is customary for the boys to go around asking for gifts from newly-weds and new parents. 'Chajja' dance is performed on this occasion and the boys along with their elaborately decorated 'chajjas' with colored paper and flowers, dance in a procession on the street accompanied by pulsating drumbeats.
Jhiri Mela (Oct- Nov)
Jhiri Mela, Kashmir Baba Jitu was a simple and honest farmer who preferred to kill himself rather than give in to the atrocities of the local landlord and part with his crop. He used to live in the village of Jhiri, 14 km from Jammu. It is believed that Baba and his followers gather together at Jhiri on the appointed day from every corner of North India. He is revered for his compassion, courage and honesty and an annual fair is held in his honor.
Celebrated twice a year in March or April and September or October, it is a major festival held at the Kali temple in Bahu Fort of Jammu.
Mansar Food and Craft Mela
J&K Tourism organizes this 3-day Mela annually during the Baisakhi season. The picturesque Mansar Lake serves as the venue of the fair, 60 km from Jammu. People and visitors throng to this place to see a wonderful display of the local crafts and cuisine at the fair site.
39 km from the city of Jammu, Purmandal is transformed for three days as people celebrate the marriage of Lord Shiva to goddess Parvati on Shivratri. It falls usually in February or March. The people of Jammu come get dressed in their best attires and throng to the shrines such as Peer Khoh, the Ranbireshwar Temple and Panjbhaktar Temple.
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