Gauchar Mela is an annual trade fair held on 14th November in the hilly town of Gauchar, located in the left bank of Alaknanda River in the Chamoli district of Uttrakhand. Gauchar falls en route Badrinath Temple. Gauchar Fair is one of the largest trade fairs of Uttarakhand wherein regional products produced from the cottage industries of Uttarakhand are showcased and traded. Along with trade, Gauchar Fair showcases different types of regional songs, dances, and cultural performances and hence holds a special place in terms of a cultural fair.
History of Gauchar Fair
Gauchar Mela started in 1943 and was inaugurated by the then Deputy Commissioner Mr.Barnedi. Traders from the Tibetian regions of Dapa, Diphu, Gyaning, and Tholing would sell wool, deer musk, shilajit, black salt, along with numerous ayurvedic products. However, due to problems with India and China in 1962, the trade with Tibet stopped.
Due to the leveled flat land of Gauchar, it served as an airstrip in the past. The queen of the region while returning from Badrinath decided to use the land as a grazing field. She bought the land from the villagers and since then, it was used as a grazing field. The name Gauchar originated after that. Gauchar was the property of Panwar kings until they donated the land to Badrinath Temple. The land is still under Badrinath Temple and it is not supposed to be used for any type of agricultural or agricultural related activities.
Significance of Gauchar Fair
Gauchar Mela is one of the most important trade fairs of Uttarakhand. The fair begins on 14th November and continues for a week or so. As Gauchar Fair exhibits the arts and crafts of different regions of Uttarakhand, it plays a vital role in promoting trade and culture of Uttarakhand. Particularly an industrial fair, Gauchar Fair encourages cottage industry by providing a platform for the people to display their products in front of local inhabitants, traders, and tourists. All the state government departments take part in the fair where they flaunt modern agricultural methods.