Shimla, Aug 5 (IANS) The eight-day-long Minjar fair concluded on Sunday in Himachal Pradesh’s Chamba town on the banks of the Ravi river with the immersion of ‘minjars’, which symbolises the blossoming of maize.
Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur led the ‘shobha yatra’ of Lord Raghuvir, the principal deity of Chamba.
Thousands of locals wearing traditional dresses went in a procession from Akhand Chandi Palace to Manjri Garden on the Ravi bank where the ‘minjar’ (golden tassels) were immersed in flowing water.
The fair opened with the hoisting of the ‘minjar’, depicting the silk tassels that glow like maize blossoms in the sun, flag at the Chowgan or the public promenade in the historic town.
The locals, mainly farmers, gather at the historic Lakshmi Narayan and Raghuvira temples during the festival and offer holy ‘minjars’.
These are exchanged among friends and relatives before they are finally immersed in the river as an offering to Lord Varuna.
Old-timers say the fair is associated with the monsoon, in which the farmers pray for heavy rains for good harvest.
The fair is believed to have first started in the 10th century to mark the victory of then ruler Sahila Varma over the Kangra king, who presented blossoms of maize and paddy to Varma. Chamba town was founded at that time.
Another folklore says that a sage at the Champavati temple on the Ravi bank performed a week-long ‘yajna’ that changed the river’s course and enabled the people to visit the Hari Rai temple across the channel.
During the fair, people put ‘minjars’ on their colourful costumes and pray for timely rain and bumper crop.
The embroidery on the ‘minjars’ is done mostly by the Muslims in the town.