Jukaru Festival In Pangi Valley – Himachal Pradesh is called the land of Gods because Gods reside in every corner of this place. Himachal has been a hilly and ancient place associated with civilization. Here the local people celebrate festivals and fairs with great pomp. The 12-day Jukaru festival has started from Saturday in Pangi tribal area of Chamba district. Now Jukaru festival will be celebrated in Pangi valley for 12 days. The festival is considered a symbol of mutual brotherhood.
On Friday midnight, people of the valley will paint the picture of Baliraja on the walls of their houses. Its life will be consecrated. The first day of Padid is celebrated as Silah. On this day the Pangwal community whitewashes their houses. In the evening, the head of the house makes Bhares Bhangri and goats made of flour. No one talks to anyone while making this. Puja materials are kept in a separate room. Cow dung will be smeared after dinner.
At around 3 o’clock in the morning, after sprinkling of Ganga water and special puja, the life of Bali Raja is consecrated. After this, people of Pangi valley worship Baliraj for 12 days. A square is placed in front of Baliraj. After sprinkling cow urine and Ganga water, the pavilion is written with wheat flour and barley sattu. Which is called Chauka in Pangwali language. The idol of Baliraj is installed on the wall in front of the pavilion.
It is called Jan Baldano Raja in the local dialect. Goats, rams etc. made of dough are kept in the pavilion with the support of straws. The mandap builder worships King Bali. The residents of the valley will prepare goats (chauk) made of flour and offer them to King Bali. By setting up incense sticks and lamps, they will worship King Bali for 12 days.
During this period, no family deities or other deities are worshipped. Today people are visiting each other’s homes and taking blessings of elders. Which is called Padid in the local language. On Saturday morning, people wake up in Brahma Muhurta, take bath and bow before King Bali. After this, the younger members of the house worship the feet of the elder members. The elders bless them, the king brings water from Panghat for the sacrifice, people also worship the water god.
On this day, the head of the house also worships ‘Chur’ because he is used to plow the field. ‘Jukaru’ starts as soon as the morning of Padid dawns. Jukaru means respect for elders. People go to meet each other’s house. Another meaning of this festival is that due to cold and snow, people were locked in their homes, after this the cold starts to subside, people hug each other on this day and say ‘Takda’. ‘Thiya’ na and at the time of leaving say ‘Mathe’ ‘Mathe’ wish. People first go to their elder brother and then to other relatives.
The third day is celebrated as Mangal or Panhei. ‘Panhei’ is celebrated in Kilar Pargana while ‘Mangal’ is celebrated in Sach Pargana. There is no special difference between ‘Mangal’ and ‘Panhei’, only the name is different. The purpose and method of celebration is the same, the only difference is that in Sach Pargana, Mangal is celebrated on the third day of Jukaru and in Panhei Kilar Pargana it is celebrated on the fifth day. On the days of Mangal and Panhei, people gather at a designated place for Bhoomi Pujan. On this day, Sattu, Ghee, Honey, ‘Mande’ flour, Goats and seeds of barley, wheat etc. are brought from every house. Liquor is also brought at some places
These worship materials brought from their homes are distributed among themselves, Bhoomi Pujan is done and at some places dance and songs are also performed. After this festival, Pangwal people start working in their fields. This fair is also known by the names ‘Uvan’, ‘Iwan’ etc. This fair is celebrated for three days in Kilar and Dharwas Panchayat.
On the first day, the fair is celebrated for the king, on the second day for the people and on the third day for the snake god , this fair is celebrated in the month of Magh and Phagun. During Uvan, mime dance is also performed. On this day, the snake god’s character is made into mime . Swang is brought to the fair with a long beard, a crown on his moustache, long dreadlocks on his head and a dagger in his hand. After dancing throughout the day, the swan is taken to its home and with this the Ivan fair ends.