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Baba Chamliyal fair celebrated along Indo-Pak border after two years

SAMBA: Thousands of devotees from different part of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab thronged the annual fair of Baba Chamliyal Thursday near the International Border in Ramgarh sector of J&K's Samba, which returned after a Covid-induced break of two years.

Devotees paid obeisance at the shrine of Baba Dilip Singh Manhas (Baba Chamliyal) in the ‘no man's land' along the border, nearly 42 km from Jammu city, Billu Choudhary, president of Mela committee said.

Reports said the entire shrine and local area had been fully illuminated and decorated for the fair which falls on the fourth Thursday of June every year.
While it is held for three days at the shrine complex on the Indian side, it is also held for a week on the opposite side of the border in Saidanwali village of Sialkot district in Pakistan.

Till 2018, Pakistan Rangers used to hand over a "chaddar" (ceremonial cloth) and sweets to BSF who in return presented "shakkar and sharbat'' that many believe cured skin ailments. However, India did not host any delegation from across the border following the killing of four BSF personnel, including an assistant commandant in a ceasefire violation by Pakistani Rangers on June 13, 2018, which also led to the cancellation of the fair.

However, it was held in 2019 without the traditional exchange of sweets, "shakkar and sharbat''. This year also, there was no exchange between the border guards of the two countries.

Before the 1971 Indo-Pak war, Pakistani devotees were permitted to visit India's side of the border. However, after that only Pakistani Rangers were permitted to take part in the fair to offer chaddar on behalf of the Pakistani populace.

Baba Chamliyal, after whom the village is named, lived more than 320 years ago and is revered by people of all faiths because of his saintly qualities and spiritual powers. The shrine is barely one and a half kilometers from the Zero Line.



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