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The Chhapaar Mela is celebrated in the village of Chhapaar in the district of Ludhiana every September. A village fair that originated, as a small gathering of locals to worship snake embodiment of Guga 150 years ago has emerged as a mega festival in the past three decades. This weeklong fair is organised on Anand Chaudas, the 14th day of the bright half of Bhadon in honour of Gugga Pir in Chhapar village of Dehlon block of Ludhiana district. An impressive shrine, Gugge di Marhi, was built in memory of the Pir in 1890. Gugga Pir was a Chauhan Rajput and folklore has it that he descended into the bosom of Mother Earth along with his steed, and never returned. He is said to possess special powers over all kinds of snakes.
On the day the fair begins, villagers scoop out earth seven times, invoking Gugga Pir to protect them against snakes. This shrine is believed to cure people of snakebites.
The legend narrates a story of a boy and a snake born together in an agricultural family of Chhapar village. The serpent and the boy were so intimate that if one suffered a pain the other used to cry.
One day the mother of the child went to the fields after laying him on a cot. To save him from the scorching sun, the snake stretched its hood over him. Mistaking that the snake is going to bite the child, a passerby killed it with a stick. The child also died immediately after the death of the snake that left the family in sorrow. The family was advised by the elders to perform religious ceremonies to worship Guga and Sidh and a he-goat was left free to mark the place of worship by striking at a particular place.
The place was recognised as Mari Guga where people from all walks of life have been worshipping Guga on the fourth day of the month of Bhadas every year. The farmers of the Malwa belt recognise the fair to the extent that they change the agricultural chores according to the dates of the mela. People also narrate another story regarding the second fair known as “Minor Mela Chhapar.” On the onset of the 20 century, the then Maharaja was said to have banned the mela on a complaint by some farmers. But soon after the ruler banned the event, his horses started dying mysteriously and the misfortune stopped only after the ruler announced to organise the minor mela following the major one.
According to another story, a faqir once anchored a twig after cleaning his teeth. A local person uprooted the twig in a fun. The faqir then cursed the people of the local area that the place would witness a heavy camp here, which would be followed by a deserted look.
Though originally the fair had started as a small congregation of the devotees of Guga, it has now transformed into a big festival.
Jarag Mela :
This fair is held in Jarag, a village in Tehsil Payal. It is held in Chet (March-April) in honor of the goddess Seetla. It is also known as the Baheria fair. Sweet gulgulas (jaggery cakes fried in oil) are prepared one day earlier and then given in offering to the goddess and thereafter to the donkey who is her favorite. After propitiating the goddess, the family members cat the remaining savory gulgulas with great relish. This festival is observed in Malwa and Powad but the fair is held only in Jarag. There is a pond where the devotees of Seetla gather. They scoop the earth and raise a small hillock, which is accorded the status of the goddess's shrine. Potters specially bring their donkeys decked in colored blankets.
Roshni Mela – Fair of Lights :
Baba Mohkamdin Allah came to Sirhind from Noni Sahib Mankala Mohalla, Lohia tehsil in Valtoha district. He became a disciple of Hazarat Khawaja Abbas Sahib. He meditated for 12 years at Ratti Khera, near Faridkot. Finally, he settled at Agwar Gujjran here. Mughal Emperor Jehangir too sought his blessings for a son. He named his son Shahjahan at the behest of Baba Mohkamdin.
This mela is held on 13th of Phalgun. Devotees from far of places visit the dargah and also of Mai Zeena situated about 500 metres from the dargah. Mai Zeena was one of the wives of Baba Mohkamdin. She served as watchman of Baba Mohkamdin during his period of meditation. Mai Zeena used to answer questions of devotees.
This fair is held in Jagraon from the 14th to the 16th of Phagun in honor of a Muslim Pir, Abdul Kader Jalani. It is held in the vicinity of his tomb. Although it is a Muslim fair in origin, the Hindus of the area also flock to the site of this shrine. Even after Partition, this fair has been held regularly. Circus, magic shows, swings were the main attraction of the historic Roshni Mela.
It is called the 'fair of lights' because innumerable devotees who come to visit the place light earthen lamps at the shrine of the pir. The lights are visible from long distances. It is believed that whatever wish one sincerely makes at the shrine of this pir is granted. Young people sing bolian and perform dances, thus adding to the gaiety and glamour of the fair. It is sheer delight to villagers performing dances and singing songs to the sweet strains of the flute and the one-stringed instrument called Toomba.
Prof. Mohan Singh Mela :
Prof. Mohan Singh Mela is a cultural festival, where artists, writers, poets and dancers from all over Punjab gather and perform. The aim of this festival is to promote Punjabi culture, language and literature.
It is a unique fair of cultural confluence of Punjabi artists, writers and folk performers- kind of a feast that may, again, be called typically Punjabi. Alongside this cultural extravaganza noted writers and artists are honoured for their contribution to the promotion of Punjabi literature, language and culture.
The birth anniversary of Prof Mohan Singh has been celebrated during the past 29 years. Soon after the departure of the great Punjabi poet on May 3, 1978, an ardent admirer, Jagdev Singh Jassowal, started holding a cultural mélange (mela) every year on October 20, the date of his birth. At this annual festival, the emphasis has always been as much on the contribution of the poet to Punjabi literature as on the cultural heritage of Punjab.
The poet had spent the last phase of his life in Ludhiana, first as Emeritus Professor at PAU and later leading a quiet retired life. His association with Ludhiana is as significant as that of Sahir Ludhianvi as both of them delineated the name of the city on the literary map of India.
Kisan Mela : Punjab Agricultural University organizes a Kisan Mela in Ludhiana every year, where new techniques of farming are shown to the farmers. New hybrid quality seeds of food grains are displayed and sold. The unique features of the Kisan Mela are agro-industrial exhibitions, field demonstrations and question-answer session, besides, provision of diagnostic services, sale of seeds, and sale of farm literature.
Apart from this, the various departments of the Punjab Agricultural University showcase their technologies, which is a regular feature of the Kisan Mela at PAU. The farmers of Punjab are always very enthusiastic about the Kisan Mela. They use to come from different parts of the State; dressed in traditional attire.
The list of other Melas held in the district is given below:
|S No.||Name of the Mela||Place where held||Held on/during||Significance of the fair|
|1||Chappar||..||Chapper Mari||9th/11th Sept.||In honour of Gugga the famous warrior|
|3||Dhakam Daki fair||..||Khanna Kalan||August||..|
|4||Grewal Sports fair||..||Qila Raipur||February||Rural activies|
|5||Gugga Naumi||..||Takhran||September||In honour of Gugga-famous Rajput warrior|
|7||Jangpur fair||..||Jaganpur||Ottober||Death anniversary of Budha Shah|
|8||Jarg fair||..||Jarg||March||In worship of ‘Mata goddess’|
|10||Pabbian fair||..||Pabbian||March||Rural chivalry|
|11||Raikot Ashtami fair||..||Raikot||September||In honour of Gugga-famous Rajput warrior|
|12||Roshni||..||Jagraon||24th/26th February||Death anniversary of Baba Mohkam Din|
|13||Roshni||..||Ludhiana||March||Muslim Pir’s death aniversary. It has not been held after partition. Earlier it was celebrated at Dresi Ground.|
|14||S.Santa Singh fair||..||Harion||March||BabarAkali Movement|
|15||Sabha||..||Machhiwara||December||In memory of guru Gobind Singh|
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