Located in the Purola region of Uttarakhand, Singtur Range (Patti) is famous for its traditional rituals, fairsand festivals. One such fair celebrated at the time of Makar Sankranti is Gendua Fair.
The villages in Singtur Patti is divided into two regions- Pansai and Sathi. Pansai represents the Pandavas and Sathi represents the Kauravas. In this region, the number of Kauravas are believed to be 60, instead of 100.
Where is Gendua Fair Celebrated ?
Every year on the day of Makar Sankranti, Gendua Fair is held at the villages of Dewara or Maichwana.
History of Gendua Fair
In ancient times, a king named Karna, the warrior of Mahabharatha, used to rule this region. Karna used to organize a fair during Makarsankranti. On this day, a competition was held among the ‘Malla’ people and the wrestlers of the entire region would participate in football. The fair was called ‘Hilkuwa’based on the name of one of the Malla people.
The fair was organized by the Rawaat, Rana, Rangad/Panwar, Khas, and Rajput goldsmiths along with Khatris. The fair was inaugurated by the Manis.
How is Gendua Fair Celebrated ?
According to tradition, when a cow dies in Dewara village, its skin is used to make a ball in the shape of a football. The priest facilitates the process with prayers. The ball is coated with a red paste made with natural ingredients which is so durable that the paint doesn’t wear off despite the ball being repeatedly thrown around in the mud. After the preparation is complete, the ball is carried across all the villages in Singtur region. In the process, every household of the villages contributes some amount of rice in a bag. The collected rice is kept at a household in Dewara village.
The ball is then kept at a platform near Dewara Temple.
On the day of Makarsakranti, both Pansai and Sathi people dress up and gather on the ground located between the villages of Dewra and Maichwana and cheer for their respective teams. The event starts with drums and songs played by the Khash and Thani people.The players from both the team enter the ground. The standard dress for the game is briefs as the ground remains filled with mud.
The co-ordinator starts the event by throwing the ball from the platform towards the ground. Purohit priest blows the conch shell and ladies shower flowers to the players. The players then start their quest to get hold of the ball. The ground is divided into two sections each belonging to the two teams and both the teams strives to get hold of the ball and throw it towards their area. If they are successful in doing so, they earn 1 point. The players play 4 rounds of the game and the team with the more number of team wins.
In case of a tie, the ball is hanged in the hooks of two poles placed in the middle of the ground. A player is chosen from each team and each player uses their sticks to pull the ball towards them. The player who succeeds in doing so leads his team to victory.
The event is celebrated with great zeal and fervour. Alcohol, mutton, and delicious cuisines are prepared and dried mushrooms are cooked.