Sameshwarotsav or Sameshwar Utsav is an annual fair held during the Hindu month of Bhadrapada (August-September) at Uprikot village in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand. It is a three-day fair starting normally from 15th August till 22nd August.
The main attraction of Sameshwarotsav is the practice of certain rituals by the shaman during the fair. In the course of the three days, the shaman engages in marking and aiming at mulberry and walnut trees located at the back side of the temple, walking barefoot on the battle axe, and carrying out rituals for sacrificing goats and sheep.
How is Sameshwarotsav celebrated?
Day 1: Traditionally, on the first day of the fair drums are played, rolling loudly near the sacred and mystical stone present at the front courtyard of the temple. The stone is called Lamtidhung or Namtidhung by the local people. The shaman dances on the beats of the drums.
He is given a bow and arrow and with that he goes to the backyard of the temple and aims the arrow at the mulberry and walnut trees. It is necessary that the arrow hits at least one of the two trees as the fair continues only after the successful completion of this ritual.
Day 2: The central feature of the second day of Sameshwarotsav is Doli Nritya. Doli Nritya is a form of dance where the idol of god is placed in a decorated palankeen and people dance carrying the palankeen. Along with Doli Nritya, sheep and goats are sacrificed on this day.
The shaman climbs the hill top at the back of the temple and chooses two sheep and two goats from the grazing cattle of the nearby villages. He selects the animals to sacrifice by throwing wet rice among the cattle. The animals that get hit by the rice are marked and all the grazing cattle are brought to the temple’s courtyard. The cattle take 7 rounds of the temple with the marked ones leading them in the front. The marked cattle are then taken to the temple’s terrace and sacrificed. The sacrificed meat is distributed to the entire village after puja.
Day 3: On the night of the third day, the last remaining marked goat is sacrificed and with that the fair concludes.