Mandi gears up to celebrate Shivratri fair from 11 March

Mandi, a beautiful town of Himachal Pradesh, in India is known for its unique grand celebration of Shivratri that starts from 11 March this year. Thousands of religious Hindus are expected to flock the town to offer their prayers to more than 200 deities who are invited through worships and yagnyas here during the seven-day celebration which manifests the glory of past, the importance of religion in rejuvenating humanity and claims to carry the heritage of culture from generation to generation.

mandi shivratri fair

Deities at the Mandi Shivratri Fair

The Mandi Shivratri fair starts with Shivratri every year on the Krishna Paksha 13th day which falls in February to March according to the English calendar and in Phalgun according to Indian months. The festival is so widely know and popular that it can be called as international celebration. People assemble here at the banks of Beas River and all deities are invited from the 81 temples that are spread across the entire Mandi town. The deities are called around Bhootnath temple, where Lord Shiva is worshipped followed by which every other god and goddess is worshipped according to their rank and status.

The festival has its own historical and cultural glories. Chariots of different gods and goddesses are moved around the town and visit king’s places to pay respect. People of different caste follow the chariots according to their social hierarchy along with their deities and finally all assemble at Bhootnath Temple. Beautiful lights, sound of drum beats, chorus of hymns, fragrance and perfumes with thousands of people singing their folk songs present magnificent views during Chariot movement called as Shobha Yatra  or Zareb in local language and entire town of Mandi looks like some huge venue of joy.

The seven day celebration of Mandi Shivratri fair starts with praying at Madho Rai Temple where Lord Vishnu is worshipped. Then after, prayers are offered at Bhootnath Temple. Dancers present different folk lore in their colorful attire narrating legends that link up with this festival and the 81 temples located in and around Mandi. The confluence of Beas and Suketi rivers transforms into heaven of religious processing and witnesses wonderful exhibition of cultural heritage.

The Shivratri fair presents a wonderful occasion for people of Mandi to interact with each other and share their happiness. For most of them, the fair presents a respite from the boring day-to-day life. Economy of the town gets greatly benefitted with overwhelming crowd pouring into the festival. Many tourists love to visit Mandi around this time just to glimpses of such grand celebration irrespective of their own religious backgrounds.

Also, the shivratri festival provides a wide range of trading and business. Local handi craft and cottage industry products like wool, opium, honey, walnut, ghee and many other things made in Mandi are quite famous in Himachal Pradesh and outside. Many merchandise come from other districts such as Kullu, Kangra, Shimla, Bilaspur and also from Punjab to get benefits from the festival.

Mandi Shivratri fair thus, present an occasion of assimilation and remembrance of historical, religious and cultural heritage that Mandi owns and wishes to preserve forever.