Sankri Devta Mela and its Significance

Fairs are considered as the part and parcel of Indian culture. These festivals and fairs attract scores of people from different regions to assemble at one place and celebrate the occasion. Few famous fairs in J&K state include Jhiri Mela, Bahu Mela, Hemis Gompa Mela, Sankri Devta Mela etc.

One among these famous fairs is Sankri Devta Mela which is usually held at Sankri in Meer village, which is approximately 37 kms from Udhampur. The mela is organized in the month of August-September every year on Thursday or Sunday that comes after Bhadon or Bhadrapada Amavasya. This particular mela lasts for about three days. Besides that, the yatra to Sankri shrine has been going on since a long time.

Legend

As per the legend, once an elder person was grazing cattle in the field when he suddenly shifted his sight to a handsome built man so he asked someone about this strongly built boy but the stranger did not speak anything. On consistent persuasion, the boy told that his name is "Sankri" and he has found a suitable place for his home so he had promised their "Kuldeva" and the devta will fulfill their wishes only if the boy keeps his promise. The boy explained that he is ordained to give shastras or vaans such as Dudaana vaan to the Pran's family, Trishul to the Suri family, Gungraal vaan to the Kamali family and Gurj to be placed at Thunal. He later demanded sacrifices and told them that a "yatra" is must to be carried out every year in the month of Bhadon. After telling all these things, the stranger disappeared from that place and it is being told that after few days a stone idol miraculously appeared on that rock. The people tell that idol then reappeared at the place called ‘Truta Sankri' and then it resurfaced at its present position. That is how the Sankri devta temple came into existence.

Activities organized at the Mela

The Sankri Devta Mela lasts for three days with the atmosphere of enthusiasm and exuberance all around. On the first day, thousands of people from length and breadth of the state assemble to take the blessings of Sankri Devta and then after the inauguration of the fair by a local minister, an Indian Style Wrestling Match or Dangal is organized.

On the second day, the Department of Youth Services and Sports organizes sports events in which the students from different schools take part and many folk artists charm audience with their songs and dance performances.

On the concluding day, the vaans such as Dudana vaan, Trishul, Gungraal, Gurj and other vaans are taken to the holy shrine and ceremonial pooja is performed. Later, the Prasad is distributed among all the devotees. Various Departments such as Floriculture, Health and Medical Education,etc. set up stalls of their respective departments to enlighten the people about various Government schemes. The whole atmosphere is a mix of religious fervor and enthusiasm with people singing local folksongs and chanting bhajans. The whole Sankri Devta Mela is a feast for the eyes because watching live Dogra art and culture is an enthralling experience.

 

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