Suhi and Saho Jatar Fairs of Chamba Attain District Level Status

Chamba district rejoices as Suhi and Saho Jatar Fairs are recognized at the district level.

The recent announcement that the Suhi and Saho Jatar Fairs have been elevated to district level status has brought great excitement to the people of Chamba. These fairs have a rich history that dates back over a thousand years and are an essential part of the region's cultural heritage. They are now emblematic celebrations of Chamba's diverse folk art and culture. 

Long-awaited Recognition

The residents of Chamba have been tirelessly advocating for the district-level recognition of these fairs for many years. It has been a long-standing demand of the local community, and finally, the government has responded to their ardent petitions. With the declaration of these two fairs as district level, local artists, craftsmen, artisans, and self-help groups will receive more assistance in earning their livelihood. This highly significant milestone marks a momentous occasion for the people of Chamba and celebrates their unwavering determination and perseverance.

Read about : Suhi Mela

Saho: A Cultural Gem

On the right bank of the Sal River, there is a beautiful village called Saho which is known for its cultural heritage. The village's spiritual legacy revolves around the temple of Lord Chandra Shekhra, also known as the moon-crowned God, Shiva. The temple is situated behind the locality in a tree grove. 

Architecture of Temple

The temple is an ancient one with its core dating back to at least 1200 years old. The temple is built in the Himachali Pahadi architectural style with a pent roof and wooden beams. The walls of the garbha-griha are built of stone, but the roof is wooden. Two magnificent images of Shiva can be seen at the entrance, and a huge Shivaling is enshrined in the sanctum. In front of the temple is a life-size Nandi bull carved with fine details. According to Sarahan Prasasti, "The temple was constructed by Stayaki, a local Rana, to establish friendship between his wife, Somprabha, and the daughter, Parvati." It is believed that the temple dates back to a period before the transfer of the seat of power from Bharmour to Chamba in the 10th century. The present structure is attributed by Laxman Thakur to be one thousand years old, but the core and the Shiva Linga are older. Three sides have the customary rathas housing Ganesha, Parvati, and Kartikeya. 

The Shiva Linga is huge and is one of the largest in the hill temples of India and the largest in Himachal. The temple has been standing at the heart of the village for over a thousand years 

The Vibrancy of Jatar Fairs

Every year, during August or September, Saho transforms into a vibrant hub of festivities with the onset of the Jatar Fair. This fair coincides with the revered Manimahesh Yatra and attracts pilgrims and revelers alike. During summer, Saho is covered in a golden mantle of wheat crops, while in August and September, the fields turn lush green with paddy crops. The spring water of Saho is believed to have medicinal value.

Jatra is a local name given to the fairs in Chamba district. Various jatras are observed in Chamba town and elsewhere in the district. The general feature of jatras is the worship of the deity of the occasion, often accompanied by traditional performances by the chela of the deity. The chela is believed to get possessed by the deity on certain occasions and answers the questions and prayers of the devotees.

Cultural Extravaganza

The Jatar Fair is not just a religious pilgrimage, it is also a cultural extravaganza that features folk singers entertaining the crowds with traditional melodies. Cultural programs are organized during the fair, and in the evenings, the Guru of the deity in the temple invokes the deity and blesses the devotees. Hundreds of people come to worship on this occasion, congregating with bhajans, discourses, and meditation sessions that are held at the temple for about a week.

In Conclusion

The decision to elevate Suhi and Saho Jatar Fairs to district level status is not merely a bureaucratic one, but rather a way of reaffirming the rich cultural legacy of Chamba. As these fairs continue to flourish, they serve as a poignant reminder of the enduring spirit of community and tradition that defines the region.

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