Press Trust of India

Mela Patt kicks off in Bhaderwah: Organisers demand heritage’ status for festival

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Bhaderwah/Jammu: Hundreds of people thronged Khakhal Mohalla here to celebrate the historic Mela Patt, a three-day festival devoted to Lord Vasuki Nag.
The festival commenced on Thursday evening amid tight security arrangements, an official said.
Hundreds of people are taking part in this year’s festival after two years of Covid pandemic-related restrictions in which only necessary rituals were performed, he said.
The organisers appealed to authorities to declare the event as a heritage festival .
Mela Patt, a symbol of Nag culture, is celebrated on Nag Panchami and hundreds of devotees converge at Khakhal Mohallah village in Doda district to pay obeisance to the bravery and spiritual power of King Nag Pal.
First celebrated in the 16th century by king Nag Pal, the ruler of a small principality then called Bhadarkashi (present-day Bhaderwah), the festival is organised seven days after the conclusion of Kailash Yatra. Thousands of people from different parts of Jammu and Kashmir and elsewhere take part in it to seek blessings of Vasuki Nag.
This festival is not only the symbol of the religion but also depicts our proud historical background and mutual brotherhood, Naresh Gupta, the main organiser, told PTI and appealed to the administration led by Lt Governor Manoj Sinha to announce the event as a heritage festival and ensure its inclusion in the annual tourism calendar.
“Perhaps this is the only festival of India which is being celebrated since last more than 600 years without any untoward incident, clearly depicting communal harmony of this area and respect for Raja Nag Pal.”
Gupta also expressed resentment at the attitude of the tourism department, especially the Bhaderwah Development Authority (BDA), for its alleged failure to promote the event.
“We were expecting BDA to promote this festival to attract tourists but they are in deep slumber and there is dire need to wake up them.”
The festival includes the traditional but unique folk dance, locally known as Dikko dance , performed by people irrespective of their religion, caste, and gender to highlight peace, pride, and communal harmony.
“Patt , the royal robe presented by the Mughal emperor Akbar to Raja Nagpal, was also displayed.
District Development Council, Doda, vice-chairperson, Sangeeta Bhagat said, “I was mesmerised after participating in the unique rituals which have got all the ingredients to be showcased to the outer world to attract national and international visitors.”
“We will take up the matter with the concerned quarters to bring this festival on pilgrimage tourism so that the outer world can also experience this unique culture and tradition,” she said.
Bhaderwah Police Station house officer Jatinder Singh Rakwal said elaborate security arrangements had been made in and around the venue.


Press Trust of India

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