Hark back to the days when you walked with a runny nose, baggy pants and wearing the glasses of enthusiasm while exploring the vibrant colours and excursions of the Jhande Ka Mela in Doon, feeling nostalgic, aren’t you? Such fascinating moments those were when having a toy while returning back home from the fair was the moment to live for, loosing patience when your parents performed the puja, gazing at the people going to the fair with zest, the rides we craved for all year sometimes terrified us yet we had an unbounded exhilaration of going round and round on the Merry-Go-Round or the Giant Wheel, the Dangerous Dragon in particular scared the bejesus out of me which, I am sure might have been one amongst your favourite rides in the Fair.
Oh! such blissful days. So this year let’s not just get nostalgic but celebrate the history of the Jhande Ka Mela.
If you’re born and brought up in the alluring Doon Valley, then you surely might know that after Holi is the auspicious time when the Jhanda Fair or Jhande Ka Mela, one of the largest fairs in Northern India is held. The Jhanda Mela dates back to the year 1733 when Guru Ram Rai the eldest son of the seventh Sikh Guru Sri Har Rai Ji, set up a camp or ‘Dera’ in the Doon valley which gave it the name of Dehradun.
He set up a Jhanda which marked the location of his camp. The Jhanda Fair is celebrated on the fifth day of Chaitra which is also the fifth day after Holi. A buck load of devotees (called Sangat) from various cities like Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh come to seek blessings of their Guru. On the eve of Ekadashi, the Sangat is welcomed by the Mahant of the Guru Ram rai Darbar, who goes to the Yamuna river banks at Rainawala in Haryana, 45 km from Dehradun to invite and welcome the Sangat.
For the flag-hoisting ceremony a 27 meter long Sal Tree is brought from the nearby forest at Dhudhali. Which is then bathed in milk and curd and the holy water of The Ganges. It is then wrapped with an approximate of 60 layers of clothing primarily a muslin cloth and the final layer of ‘Darshini Cloth.’ The Devotees tie up a scarf to the pole of the flag to have their wishes fulfilled.
History of Jhanda Mela, Dehradun
Guru Ram Rai Ji was the eldest son of the venerated Seventh Guru of Sikhs- Sri Har Rai Ji. Being blessed with miraculous powers, Ram Rai Ji performed miracles in the court of Aurangzeb, seeing which Sri Har Rai Ji expelled him from Punjab in 1699. Guru Ram Rai Ji then moved to the Doon valley and set up his dera in the town, which gave the town its name of Dehradun. He built a Gurudwara in the city which is known as Darbar Sahib. The Jhanda Fair is hosted every year in Dehradun to pay reverence to Guru Ji.
So this year look back at the days when you visited the Jhande Ka Mela for its plethora of events and this year visit it again and pay your homage to Guru Ram Rai Ji, while celebrating the glorious history of our loving Doon.