Bhaderwah as it is known as Chota Kashmir is popular for the festivals and fairs of every community. It is a region of fairs and festivals in Jammu . Its fairs and festivals have profoundly enriched the culture of the people. Mela Patt is a famous festival of Bhaderwah.
Here are seven things to know about the festival:
1.To commemorate the historic meet between Mughal emperor Akbar and King Nag Pal of Bhaderwah, three day historic Mela Pat started at ancient Mohalla Khakhal of Bhadarwah. Mela-Patt–symbol of Nag culture, is celebrated every year on Nag Panchami and hundreds of people converge at Khakhal Mohalla to pay obeisance to the bravery and spiritual power of Raja Nag Pal.
2. The festival was first celebrated in the 16th century by King Nag Pal, the ruler of a small principality then called Bhadarkashi presently known as Bhaderwah.
3. The historic festival is organized seven days after the conclusion of the ancient Kailash Yatra.
4. On the occasion devotees also performed traditional Dekho dance which is a regular feature of the festival and people irrespective of religion, caste and gender participate in it, which makes this festival a symbol of Peace, Pride and communal harmony.
5. In the evening of “Patharchoth” or “Vinayak Choth” the “Jahari” (the conical metallic pot) is carried by a representative belonging to Raj-purohit family in Bhaderwah. The calmness of the dark starry night is broken with slogans, “Jai Bolo Nagae Basik Ki Jai, Phir Bolo Sanchae Durbar ki Jai,” The procession passes through the Main Bazaars of the town. It concludes at the Vasuki Dhera Temple. Next morning after routine worship in the Temple , the Jahari moves to the house of Rajgurus’ in Mohalla Khakhal. The team of selected person of the locality called “Dashan” prepare the traditional “Patt Jhanki.” The patt, a heavy load of conical shape with Jahari on the top decently decorated with marigold flowers garlands and ‘Haraii’ adorned with hundreds of cloth – pieces of gorgeous colours is now ready for exhibition.
6. With the break of dawn on Nag Panchami i.e. Rishi Panchmi a devoted person carries this “Patt” on his head in a procession led by the ‘Chela’ (Mystic Man) of the deity and the musicians proceed to “Ganesh Math” for paying homage to God.
7.The actual fair starts in the evening at about 5 O’ clock. People form every corner of the region, irrespective of casts, creed or sex come to witness the fair with zeal and reverence, shower flower petals over the “Patt’ and the procession.
This festival is not only the symbol of religion but also depicts our proud historical background and mutual brotherhood. Perhaps this is the only festival of India which is being celebrated since last 600 years without any untoward or ugly incident, which clearly shows communal harmony of this area and respect for Raja Nag Pal irrespective of religion