Pandukeshwar Festival, locally known as Janti Fair or Janti Mela is celebrated every 6 years in Pandukeshwar Temple situated on the left banks of Vishnuganga River. The fair which lasts for 9-11 days begins during Magh Sakranti. Janti Fair is an event of great happiness and devotion to the people.
Where is Janti Fair celebrated ?
Janti Mela is celebrated in Pandukeshwar Temple situated on the left banks of Vishuganga River. The temple lies 12 km ahead of Badrinath Dham in Chamoli district located in the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand.
When is Janti Fair celebrated ?
Janti Mela is celebrated every 6 years at the same time when Kumbh and Ardh Kumbh Mela held in Haridwar. The fair begins during Magh Sankranti and lasts for 9-11 days.
How is Janti Fair celebrated ?
Janti Mela is celebrated with great zest by the people of Uttarakhand. Among other people, the Janjati people of the Simawarti region of Garhwal and the Doriyal people of the Dora region of Almora are important participants of the fair.
On the first day of the fair,a palanquin is carried with the idol of Lord Ghantakarna and Lord Kuber are taken to all the neighbouring villages.
The idols of Lord Ghantakarna and Lord Kuber are decorated and adorned with clean yellow coloured clothes and placed on top of a wooden pole. The people worship and pray to the gods with celebration, dance, and music.
On the night before the last day of the fair, logs are burned and a trivet (metal frame weighing about 3 kg) is kept in the fire. The trivet is kept there till it turns red in colour.
On the last day of the fair, the chosen people, who are known as ‘Pashwa’, jump in the fire, pick the hot trivet (metal frame weighing about 3 kg), and carry iton their heads and dance. The pashwas are believed to take on the embodiment of Lord Ghantakarna and Lord Kuber. They dance with the trivet in their head for a long time.
The trivet is known as ‘janti’ and it is used for worship until the next Janti fair is celebrated. The janti is replaced every 6 years.
The day in which the above event is held, i.e. the last day of the fair is decided by the heads during the fair itself. It falls on either the 7th, 9th, or 11th day of Sankranti.
Significance of Janti Fair
The people celebrating Janti Fair carry great faith and devotion towards Lord Ghantakarna and Lord Kuber. The utmost faith enables them to do things that normally is impossible for a person to do. While Lord Ghantakarna gives the strength to carry the fiery hot iron trivet in the head and dance with it, Lord Kuber gives the endurance to jump into the fire and come out of it unharmed.
People from across the state wait for 6 years and visit the fair in order to witness these miraculous events.