Halog village keeps tradition alive, celebrates ‘Pathar mela’

SHIMLA: The ‘stone-pelting festival’ or ‘Pathar mela’ was celebrated with fervour and enthusiasm at Halog village, the capital of the erstwhile Dhami estate, near here.

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Tribune News Service

Shimla, October 28

The ‘stone-pelting festival’ or ‘Pathar mela’ was celebrated with fervour and enthusiasm at Halog village, the capital of the erstwhile Dhami estate, near here.

Many people from nearby villages assembled at Halog village to participate in the ancient fair known as the “Pathar mela”. It is held a day after Diwali every year. As per local folklore, the practice of playing with stones in a friendly manner was started to end the tradition of offering “human sacrifice” at the Bhadrakali temple in the village. The stone pelting, takes between two factions — Katedus and Jhanogis, started around 3 pm and was over within 20 minutes as a youth, Divanshu Kashyap, was hurt. His blood was used to tilak the deity.

“One of the queens of the Dhami estate decided to end the practice of human sacrifice and the ‘Pathar mela’ became its substitute. Stones are pelted in the air in a friendly manner and the moment it hits someone, the goddess’ tilak is done with the injured’s blood and the stone pelting is stopped,” said Kanwar Ranjit Singh, general secretary, Mela Committee.

The moment the tilak is done, the stone pelting stops and people indulge in dancing and singing. “We have tried to maintain the sanctity of the fair and ensure that no anti-social element try to vitiate the atmosphere,” said Jagdeep Singh, a member of the royal family. Many people from the adjoining villages and other places visit Halog to witness this unique fair, a tradition which has been kept alive by the locals.

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