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Over 2,000 Musicians perform traditional ‘bajantri’ on Mahashivratri in Himachal Pradesh

Lord Shiva (representational image), Wikimedia

Mandi, Feb 26, 2017: In a record of sorts for this Himachal Pradesh town, on Sunday over 2,000 musicians played the traditional ‘bajantri’ at the same point of time, an official said.

The performance by 2,023 players of ‘bajantri’ — the ‘shehnai’ like traditional folk instrument — during the weeklong festivities of Mahashivratri is set to enter the record books, Mandi Deputy Commissioner Sandeep Kadam told IANS.

The folk instrument players participated in the “Dev Dhawani” programme, a musical concert, at the Paddal ground here in the presence of Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and his cabinet colleagues.

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Dressed in traditional Himachali attire, the ‘bajantri’ players accompany the hill deities during their sojourn to Mandi town every year during Mahashivratri. They lead the chariot and play folk instrument tunes.

Kadam said a total of 1,806 folk instrument players performed during the Mahashivratri festivities last year and entered the Limca Book of Records.

Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh lauded the efforts of the Mandi administration in conducting the mega musical event that saw instruments like kettledrums, ‘shehnai’, a woodwind instrument, and drums being played.

He said Mahashivratri here was particularly famous as the special fair, which transformed this town into a venue of grand celebrations when gods and goddesses from nearby villages and towns gathered, to celebrate it.

Mandi town, popularly known as ‘Chhoti Kashi’, sees a gathering of over 200 deities from hundreds of temples during the festivities of Mahashivratri every year.

The celebrations date back to 1526 when this town was founded during the rule of Ajbar Sen (1499-1534). He had ‘invited’ all the local deities to bless the founding of the new town.

The weeklong Shivratri fair began on Saturday. Nearly 200 deities are participating in the festivity that will conclude on March 2.

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Mandi, located on the Chandigarh-Manali National Highway-21, is dotted with more than 80 temples built in typical hill architecture. The prominent temples are those of Bhutnath, Triloki Nath, Jagannath, Tarna Devi and Jalpa Devi.

Ever since the rule of princely states came to an end, the district administration has been following the practice and inviting deities to the Mahashivratri festivities here.

The administration also offers an honorarium to the “kardars” — the attendants of deities – and the instrument players for participating in the festival. (IANS)

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Concerned Over The Rise of Drug Usage In The State: Himachal Governor

A three-day horse trade-cum-exhibition was organised before the beginning of the Lavi Fair.

drugs, himachal
There are countless mothers who have been constantly tormented by drug-dependent adolescent children. Pixabay

Himachal Pradesh Governor Acharya Devvrat on Sunday expressed concern over the rise in drug addiction, particularly among the youth in the state, and called for concerted efforts to tackle the menace.

“Effective steps have been taken by the government and police administration, but we all need to work together in this direction,” he said at the inauguration of the centuries-old Lavi Fair in Rampur town, which was once a centre of barter trade with Tibet.

He called upon the people to promote natural farming. The state government has made a provision of Rs 25 crore to promote natural or organic farming to produce chemical-free food.

The 400-year-old Lavi Fair has undergone a sea change with the rural folk’s changing lifestyles and aspirations, resulting in a greater sale of gadgets and automobiles than traditional items such as farm implements, livestock and dry fruits.

‘The traders from across the border have stopped coming’ Pixabay

The fair dates back to the time when Raja Kehari Singh of Rampur Bushahr state signed a treaty to promote trade with Tibet.

Rampur, 120 kilometres from state capital Shimla, was once a major trade centre as it is located on the old silk route connecting Afghanistan, Tibet and Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir.

“People have stopped buying farm implements, horses and sheep. Now, they prefer to shop luxury goods like television sets and automobiles,” trader Ishwar Goyal told IANS.

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur will preside over the concluding session of the fair on November 14.

Another trader Deepak Negi said Rampur was a centre of trade before the 1962 India-China war.

The traders from Tibet used to bring raw wool, butter, herbs and leather products and bartered them for wheat, rice, farm implements and livestock.

Rampur, 120 kilometres from state capital Shimla, was once a major trade centre as it is located on the old silk route connecting Afghanistan. Pixabay

“Now, the traders from across the border have stopped coming. Indian multinational companies come here to sell their products. The fair has largely lost its relevance,” he added.

A three-day horse trade-cum-exhibition was organised before the beginning of the Lavi Fair. The main attraction during the exhibition were the Chamurthi horses – an endangered species known as the ‘Ship Of the Cold Desert’. Being a surefooted animal, it is mainly used for transporting goods in the Himalayas.

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The Chamurthi horse traces its origin to the Tibet region. In India, it’s bred in the villages of Himachal Pradesh bordering China.

The fair sees several folk artistes from Punjab and Himachal Pradesh perform. (IANS)