Uttaranchal Festivals

CHANDRABADNI FAIR : This fair has a legendary background. Gautam Rishi used to go for a sacred bath in the Ganga every morning. For him, this had become part of his everyday life.
Once, the king of Gods- Indra asked Surya (Sun) as to who was the most beautiful woman on the earth. The Sun parried the question and said " Most of people are busy in their work when I shine during the day and it is very difficult for me to judge as to who is ugly and who is beautiful". Indra asked the same question to Chandradev (Moon God) who said that Ahilya, the wife of Gautam Rishi residing at the confluence of Yamuna and Tamsa was the most beautiful woman on the earth. Hearing this, Indra was overtaken by evil and lust and made up his mind to acquire Ahilya by hook or crook.
Unbecoming of the king of Gods as he was, Indra entered the Ashram (hermitage) of Gautam at midnight and mimicked the call of a cock. Unaware of the wicked designs of Indra, Rishi Gautam set out for bathing in Ganga as usual, mistaking as the dawn. Finding Ahilya alone at home as soon as the sage left, Indra knocked the door and impersonating as Gautam, tried to bluff her. Ahilya was a pious hearted lady. She sensed the evil designs of Indra and cursed him to be a leper with a thousand eyes.
Meanwhile, Gautam reached Ganga and entered the holy water for bath. The river Goddess was pleased with the punctuality and devotion of Gautam. She asked him to return home immediately as his wife was in trouble. The Rishi turned back in a hurry, leaving his Kamandal (sacred pot) there. Later, the Goddess Ganga herself returned the Kamandal, filling it with holy water, which was set up in the Ashram in the form of a sarovar (tank). She also gave a boon that the tank's water will be equal in holiness to the actual Gangajal and those who have a holy dip in the tank will earn the same blessing as one who has a holy dip in the Ganga. Since then, this place, which is about 8 km on Dehradun-Saharanpur Road, is a holy bathing place of religious importance. Thousands of devotees visit the spot in April and October, when a big fair takes place here.

Ardh Kumbh Kumbh Mela : Though all the Hindu festivals are celebrated here with pomp and gaiety, it is the Ardh Kumbh Kumbh Mela, which attracts the mind of any tourist to this place.
The history of Kumbh Mela dates back to the creation of the Universe legends. Mythological state that the Gods and the Demons once churned the ocean to retrieve the Kumbh (pot) containing nectar of immortality (Amrit). As Dhanvantri, the divine healer appeared with the Kumbh containing nectar in her palms. A great fight followed between the Gods and the Demons to wrist the pitcher. During the fierce battle in the sky, a few drops of nector fell at four different places, Prayag, Hardwar, Nasik and Ujjain. Since then devotees converge to commemorate this divine event.

The Ardh Kumbh is held every six years and than after six years Kumbh Mela is held. It is said that a holy dip in the river Ganges during the Kumbh Ardh Kumbh gives you Moksha or Nirvana. People gather in huge number to take the holy dip during these holy days. There are Saints, Naga Sadhus, Politicians almost every one is here. The city is overflowing with people. If going to Hardwar during the Kumbh or Ardh Kumbh then avoid the over crowded ghats. Every there are reports of stampedes and the various factions or Akharas of Sadhus clash with each other. Ensure your accommodation well in advance if going during the Kumbh.

Mata Murti Ka Mela held in the Champavat region in September is the unique festival. On this day the mother of Badrinath is worshipped, and a large fair held at the Badrinath Temple. Among the four sacred places of India where the Kumbh is held, one of them is Haridwar in Uttaranchal. The Magh Mela during Sankranti in the Kumaon region is another important festival.

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