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Weeklong International Shivratri Mandi Fair begin in Himachal Pradesh

The weeklong International Shivratri Mandi Fair, also known as "Chhoti Kashi" was inaugurated on Saturday by Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh

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Mandi, Feb 25, 2017: Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh on Saturday inaugurated the weeklong International Shivratri Mandi Fair in this town popularly known as “Chhoti Kashi”.

Speaking on the occasion, he announced a medical university would be set up here.

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Earlier, the Chief Minister participated in religious ceremonies in the ancient temple of Lord Madho Rai, an incarnate of Lord Vishnu and the chief deity of Mandi.

Accompanied by his cabinet colleagues, he led the colorful procession that also saw participation of nearly 200 assembled deities from hundreds of temples located in the region.

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The assembled deities follow the chief deity in beautifully decorated palanquins, as per protocol.

The festivities of Mahashivratri began here a day later when celebrations ended in other northern states. It will conclude on March 2.

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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 mark the founding of the new town.

Two more such processions, locally called ‘Jaleb’, would be taken out — another in middle of the festivity and the last on the concluding day of the fair.

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.

The Chief Minister announced an increase in the ‘nazarana’ or honorarium of deities by 10 per cent.

He said the life of the people of the state revolves around the local gods and goddesses, which are are an inseparable part of life and participate in almost all the activities. “We should perform all the religious ceremonies as per the traditional practice.”

Transactions worth millions of rupees are conducted during the festival. Kullu and Kinnauri shawls, handicrafts, carpets and dry fruits are a major attraction for the customers. (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.

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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.

Himachal
‘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.

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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.

Also Read: Quitting Junk Food May Cause You to Suffer Withdrawal Symptoms Similar to Drug Addition

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)