hill-yatra

This is one of the most popular festivals of Uttarakhand and is celebrated with much fervor in some parts of the Pithoragarh district. It can be regarded as a festival of pastoralists and agriculturalists. This festival came from the Sorar region of West Nepal to the Sor valley and was first introduced in the Kumaour village. It is regarded by the locals of Uttarakhand as a living tradition and care should be taken to preserve its style in a rapidly changing society. Animal sacrifices also form an important aspect of this much-awaited festival. Recitation of religious hymns and performance of circle dance also known as `Chanchari` are added attractions.

Hilljatra, Festivals of UttarakhandHilljatra, essentially a festival of agriculturists and pastoralists, is extensively celebrated in parts of Pithoragarh District in the state of Uttarakhand, India. It has basically come to the Sor valley from Sorar (Mahakali) region of West Nepal. This festival was first introduced in the Kumaour village. In the developmental process, the aathon (eight day of bhado) and Gawra Visarjan also became the part of Hilljatra. The Jatra was also accepted by the people of Bajethi, which is another village near Pithoragarh town and with minor modifications it was also introduced in Askot and Kanalichhina regions as Hiran Chital.

TLegends have it that this festival is also connected with the victory of the Champawat ruler. Another story says in the 15th Century during the regime of Chand King, Karu; the representative of the Chand King, went to Sorar (in Nepal) to take part in hilljatra festival. He won the festival by his intelligence and bravery and was able to sacrifice a buffalo with horns covering the neck. Hence people became happy and joyful and wanted to present Karu with a gift. Karu pondered about introducing this festival in Sor Valley and also asked for four masks, two bullocks, Lakhia Bhoot, Halwaha, and one implement – the Nepali plough. This was actually the way by which this festival was introduced in Sor.

TIn the first part of the Jatra, rituals like animals sacrifice is performed, and dramatic presentation of pastoral and agricultural activities are done in the second part. The masks are very communicative and this happens to be the most entertaining part of the festival. In presenting “Hill Jatra” Lakhia Bhoot is exhibited as con trolled by two body guards and the controlled energy is used for genuine purposes is the main theme.

TIn the last part of the festival however, dances and songs are performed. The dance is performed in circle known as Chanchari Dance. The celebration of dance goes on late in the night. The songs that are played are generally traditional and in some cases popular songs are also played. Beside this the center of attraction of Hill Jatra is white clothed deer which is worshipped as regional god. The hilljatra is a living tradition and all care should be taken to preserve its style in a rapidly changing society.