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Himachal

Posted at: Feb 14, 2018, 12:02 AM; last updated: Feb 14, 2018, 12:02 AM (IST)

Key deity Kamrunag arrives for Shivratri fair

After paying obeisance to the chief deity, he will stay at temporary camp at Tarna till February 21

Dipender Manta

Tribune News Service

Mandi, February 13

As the week-long Shivratri fair is set to begin from February 15 onward, deities from different parts of the district have started arriving here.

Deity Kamrunag, main guest of the event, arrived in the town today along with hundreds of devotees. Later, the devotees visited the premises of the chief deity of the fair, Madho Rai, to pay their obeisance. DC Rugved Thakur, who is the chief of the Shivratri fair committee, and Kardar Sangh greeted the deity.

The followers of the deity had started journey from his native place on February 7 on foot and arrived in the town here today. After paying obeisance to chief deity Madho Rai, he will stay at temporary camp at Tarna till the conclusion of the festival on February 21.

People have deep faith in the deity that it may bring good fortune to them and fulfill their wishes. Locals say if someone tries to steal any item of the deity, he may lose his eyesight. The deity is known as rain god in the region.

Other deities, including Shukdev of Thatta, Shukdev Hanogi, Goddess Baglamukhi and Budi Bhairva of Pandoh first reached Paddal Ground. After a spiritual get-together, they proceeded to pay obeisance at the Madho Rai temple.

A group of musicians playing traditional instruments will accompany every deity along with caretakers and devotees. All deities, after reaching the town, first pay obeisance at the temple of Madho Rai, the presiding deity of the town.

The confluence of deities was eye-catching where a large number of devotees joined them. The devotees will stay in temporary camps with their deities till February 21. A majority of deities is from far-flung areas. Some deities are still on their way and will arrive in a day or two.

The observance of this festival as a fair, starting with Shivratri, is linked to its ruler Ishwari Sen. Ishawri Sen was held a prisoner for 12 years after he lost his kingdom in the war waged by Sansar Chand of Punjab in 1792. He was released by the Gurkha invaders who had invaded Kangra and Mandi states. Afterwards, the Gurkhas restored the Mandi state to Ishwari Sen. He was given a reception on the occasion of his return to Mandi, his state capital.

On this occasion, the King invited all hill deities of the Kingdom and held a grand celebration and this day happened to be Shivratri. Since then the practice of holding the Mandi fair during Shivaratri has been observed every year at Mandi.

During the week-long festival three shobha yatras will be taken out. A large number of deities will take part in the procession led by chief deity Madho Rai.

This year, the district administration has invited a total of 216 deities of the district to take part in the event.

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