Wednesday August 22, 2018

Tracing roots of divinity in Himachal Pradesh: An abode of powerful deities

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By Srishti Jaswal

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Everyone knows that Himachal has high mountains and deep valleys, but the startling facts about local Himachali Devi-Devtas (deities) are rarely known to the masses. The Himachali valleys are believed to be home to powerful and majestic souls. It’s believed that these deities can wreak havoc upon everyone as well as reestablish anyone. The people of Himachal worship them with true and unwavering faith.

It’s believed that these divine beings were very powerful rulers of various places in Himachal once upon a time. After their death, their soul, or ‘aatma,’ was transferred into idols which are carried over their ‘Rath,’ or chariots. Each chariot is carried by four men on their shoulders. Many people invite these local deities to their homes to purify or inaugurate various ceremonies.

All over Himachal, many festivals and fairs are organized in which the whole community of Devi-Devtas are respectfully invited. In Mandi, a town in Himachal Pradesh, every year a Shivratri fair is organized in the month of February. It is believed that all these Devi Devtas visit Mandi every year to meet other deities and to celebrate Shivratri.

There is a caucus of deities during the ‘mela,’ also known as ‘jaleb’ in the local language. During the seven day fair of Shivratri, ‘jaleb’ is held on three alternate days. All the important dignitaries are present during ‘jaleb,’ including the DC and sometimes Chief Minister of H.P.

It’s believed that these deities can actually control their ‘Rath.’ If they do not want to visit any place, no matter how much force people exert and try to take them there, they don’t move from their places; if they want to visit some other place than planned, they start exerting force in that direction.

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Many people have witnessed these supernatural powers in ‘Rath’ of these divinities. At times, they bend their ‘Rath’ to bless people. ‘Dev Kamrunaag’ is considered one of the most powerful Devtas. It’s believed that if someone with a true heart wishes and donates a piece of gold in this deity’s lake then his wish will surely be granted.

Locals of Himachal usually worship Lord Kamrunaag for their heir. Another powerful Dev is ‘Prashar Rishi’; it’s believed that he was lord ‘Parshuram’ of Mahabharata. A lake located in the western Himalayas called, ‘Prashar jheel,’ is named after him. There is a small islet in the middle of the lake which revolves and completes a circle of the lake in twelve months.

There are a lot of supernatural phenomena hidden in the hills of Himachal Pradesh which are attributed to these divinities. A lot of research is going on to figure out the significant causes behind these portents. Let’s see what science uncovers.

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Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to Fund Himachal For Biodiversity Conservation

Himachal Pradesh will manage and improve its forest ecosystems under a Rs 800-crore project funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), official sources said on Sunday.

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The 10-year project on 'Improvement of Himachal Pradesh Forest Ecosystems Management and Livelihoods', which began this fiscal, will be implemented in 61 ranges. Wikimedia Commons

Himachal Pradesh will manage and improve its forest ecosystems under a Rs 800-crore project funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), official sources said on Sunday.

JICA-India official Katsuo Matsumoto will visit the state capital on Monday for the launch workshop of the project, where Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur will also be present.

The 10-year project on ‘Improvement of Himachal Pradesh Forest Ecosystems Management and Livelihoods’, which began this fiscal, will be implemented in 61 ranges in seven forest circles in Kinnaur, Shimla, Bilaspur, Mandi, Kullu and Lahaul-Spiti districts, an official spokesperson told IANS.

He said a loan agreement for the project was signed in Tokyo, Japan, on March 29 in the presence of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.

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JICA headquarters, Osaka,Japan. Wikimedia Commons

The project provides for 80 per cent loan and the remaining amount will be state equity. Of the loan component, 90 per cent will be a grant from the Centre.

Also Read-Conserving Pandas can Enrich Biodiversity along with Fighting Climate Changes: Study

The project aims at sustainable management of forest ecosystems, biodiversity conservation, livelihood improvement support and strengthening institutional capacity.

The JICA is already providing a Rs 321 crore assistance to the state under a crop diversification project since 2011 for bettering the socio economic condition of farmers in Mandi, Kangra, Hamirpur, Bilaspur and Una districts. (IANS)