Chamba :: International Minjer Fair Chamba 2009
Minjer Fair in Chamba Himachal Pradesh is Originally this traditional fair was linked with the maize crop for which people of Chamba area use to worship for better crop but today Minjar Fair has assumed cultural and historical importance and got status of National Fair in which a glimpse of rich cultural heritage could be seen. There are various beliefs regarding the origin of the festival. Some believe that it is celebrated to worship Varuna, the God of water. According to a legend, in the 10th century, the river Ravi flowed through Chamba town and the Champawati temple stood on the right bank of the river and the Hari Rai temple on its left.
It The Raja and the inhabitants of Chamba asked the saint to make arrangements to enable everyone visit the sacred Hari Rai temple. The saint told the Raja and his subjects to assemble at the Champawati temple. With the assistance of some Brahmins from Banaras, he arranged a yajna for seven days. The Brahmins prepared a cord of seven different colours and named it Minjar. When the Yajna was completed, the river changed its course and everyone was able to visit the Hari Rai temple. According to another legend, an old woman wanted to meet the king of Chamba to pay her regards. The old lady was too poor to offer anything to greet the king. So she took maize flowers called 'Minjar' in local dialect with her.
The king was very pleased at the affection shown to him by the old lady. He ordered the day to be celebrated in the form of 'Minjar Fair'. Minjar fair starts on the last Sunday of July to the next Sunday at famous lush green Chowgan of Chamba with religious fervour. Prayers are offered in Lakshimi-Narain temple and Malhar recited. During the week long celebrations, people wear a silken tassel with stalks of Minjar, the maize plant as a symbol of their prayers for a bountiful harvest. Minjars are sent to friends and relatives together with fruits, sweets and money.
The immersion ceremony, which is the most important part of the festival, is preceded by a colourful procession, which starts from the Raghunath temple in the ancient Akhand Chandi-Mahal of Raja of Chamba. The idols of Raghuvir Verman and various other Gods and Goddesses in palanquins are taken out from the palace and people in thousands take part in the procession which is followed by the old Shahi Flags of the Raja of Chamba. When the procession reaches the place of immersion on the river bank, the Chief Guest stands on a decorated platform. Amidst the chanting of mantras, he throws minjars, a rupee, a coconut, some drub (grass) and flowers into the river as an offering to the rain-god. After this, all the people throw their minjars and offerings into the river. After performing this ceremony, the fair is declared closed and the idols of Gods and Goddesses and Shahi flags are taken back to Akhand Chandi Mahal.
The highlights of the week long Minjar Fair is cultural programme by the cultural troupes from within and outside States, sports in which team of repute participate even from neighboring states. The various departments and organizations put up exhibition stalls. People in thousands participated in this week long fair from within and outside of the State.