Hundreds of devotees converged in ancient Shiv-Bani Temple to participate in the annual Nag Mela here at Bhaderwah town on Tuesday.
People throng to Shiv-Bani meadow temple in Noori-Hanga area to celebrate and to pay obeisance at historic Shiv temple located at a height of 7,000 feet from sea level, in the lush green meadows surrounded with thick coniferous forests to mark the traditional event.
In continuation to the traditional celebrations which started a day before Baisakhi with Subar Dhar Mela followed by Nagni and Gatha festival, a symbol of Nag Culture in mountainous Bhadarwah Valley with full religious fervor and gaiety came to an end today with Shiv-Bani festival.
The ancient festival marks the beginning of sowing season in this hilly region after harsh winters, symbolising the ancient Naga cult of Bhadarwah.
Although devotees and tourists started gathering since early in the morning with opening of the Kewaars (doors) of historic Shiv-Bani temple at Noori-Hanga, 10 km from Bhadarwah town, traditional celebrations started in the afternoon with the festival formally declared open by retired Master Tek Chand, which was followed by ancient ‘Dekhu dance’.
Hundreds of Nag devotees converged at hill top meadow surrounded with snow peaked mountains after trekking 5 km in dense woods to pay obeisance to the lord Shiva and Vasuki Nag.
“According to our belief, the Shiv-Lingha was installed here by Pandavas during their exile period. So, this place is of historic importance. Besides, everybody is enjoying the traditional Dekhu dance in the mundane beauty of this place,” Thakur Yudvir Singh, the chief organiser of the festival said.
He added, “Although we tried to facilitate the visitors on our own, but government, especially BDA, should come forward to provide some basic infrastructure and develop this place as major tourist attractions as this place can be made a trekking destination.”
According to the figures available, a total of 4500 devotees had darshan at the ancient temple including 3000 women. It is pertinent to mention here that besides being one of the most anticipated and popular festival, surprisingly none of the officers from BDA, police or civil administration was present there.