The Mandi Shivaratri Fair, a vibrant celebration held in Himachal Pradesh, spans seven days, commencing on the 13th night of Krishna Paksha, heralding the auspicious occasion of Shivaratri. This cultural extravaganza transforms Mandi into a bustling hub of religious fervour, where over 200 deities from the district assemble.
Renowned as the "Cathedral of Temples," Mandi, situated on the banks of the Beas River, showcases its ancient heritage during this grand festival. Scheduled for February, the Mandi Shivaratri Fair 2024 promises a spectacle of traditions, spirituality, and communal joy.
History of Mandi Shivaratri Fair
While nobody knows the exact origin of Mandi Shivaratri Fair, a look at history will tell you about its connection with the royal family. According to history, this festival is linked with Ishwari Sen who, once upon a time, ruled this place.
It is said that he was held as a prisoner after he lost his kingdom in the war with Sansar Chand of Punjab in 1792. He then was released by the Gurkha invaders 12 years later who handed over the state back to Ishwari Sen.
Moreover, he was also given a reception on the occasion of his return to the state capital. To celebrate this occasion, the King invited everybody for a grand celebration and since then this celebration has been known as the Shivaratri festival day.
Why did Observers Worship Lord Krishna During This Period?
As per the legend, during this period, all the sons of a King named Suraj Sen died. It is said that due to immense grief, the King left the kingdom at the disposal of Madhavraiji (the reincarnation of Lord Krishna). He did so because, after the mishap, the King considered himself nothing but a humble servant of Kanha.
This is also considered as one of the reasons why even today, while inaugurating the fair, the CM of the state performs puja of Lord Krishna and only after performing the rituals the celebrations begin.
Major Attractions of Mandi Shivaratri Fair 2024
1. Shobha Yatra. The procession of Shobha Yatra is the main highlight of the Shivaratri Fair in Mandi. The procession mainly starts from Bhootnath Temple where the people carry the deities in their Chariots towards Mandi while chanting religious hymns. This is essentially done to honour Mado Rai who is the local deity and protector of Mandi.
2. Bhootnath Temple. The history of this temple dates back to the 16th century and the story behind the making of this temple is quite intriguing. According to folklore, it is said that the emperor dreamt about Lord Shiva, who is also known as Bhootnath, leaving one of his lingas at the Samkhetar village of Mandi. And the next morning, interestingly, he found the linga exactly where he had dreamt about. Seeing this, he decided to build a temple and named it Baba Bhootnath Temple. From then on, the Mandi Shivaratri Fair started.
How to Reach Himachal Pradesh for Mandi Mela 2024
Situated in Himachal Pradesh, Mandi is a popular vacation destination in India. From Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, this place is situated at a distance of around 429, 1,842, and 2,608 km respectively. Let's see how you can reach here by the following means of transportation.
By Air. If you are planning your trip to Mandi via flight then the best option would be Kullu Manali airport in Bhuntar. This airport is located at a distance of about 60-70 km from Mandi. It is also the nearest airport from Mandi, Himachal Pradesh. This airport is situated on the banks of river Beas. And sometime in 2008, a new terminal was also inaugurated here. It is well connected with other Indian cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru via Air India flights. After you deboard at the airport, you will need to further cover the remaining distance by some means of transportation like a cab or a bus.
List of flights from different Indian cities to Kullu
By Rail. You can travel to Mandi via train as well. The nearest railway station is the Joginder Nagar railway station. Mandi is located at a distance of about 55-75 km from this railway station. It lies in the Kangra Valley Railway line under the Firozpur Railway division. If you are planning to visit here from Delhi, then, you will first need to visit Kirtarpur Sahib via Delhi-Una Himachal Pradesh. And from Kirtarpur you will need to further cover a distance of nearly 134 km which will take you around 3.5 hours, depending upon weather and traffic conditions. After you deboard the train at Joginder Nagar, you can cover the remaining distance via cab.
By Road. Traveling via road is always refreshing as well as soul rejuvenating so you can definitely opt for visiting Mandi via your own vehicle or even by a bus. The journey to Mandi can prove to be one of the best road trips you will ever take courtesy its fascinating landscapes. The town is very well connected via road networks to other Indian cities. From Ludhiana, you will need to cover a distance of around 231 km via NH205, from Chandigarh you will need to cover 193 km via NH154, from Jalandhar you will need to cover an approximate distance of 236 km via NH154.
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Frequently asked questions about Mandi Shivaratri Fair
Q1. What is the Mandi Shivaratri Fair?
A1. The Mandi Shivaratri Fair is a vibrant cultural festival celebrated in Himachal Pradesh, spanning seven days to honour Lord Shiva.
Q2. When does the Mandi Shivaratri Fair take place?
A2. The fair typically occurs on the 13th night of Krishna Paksha, marking the onset of Shivaratri, and lasts for seven days.
Q3. Why is the Mandi Shivaratri Fair significant?
A3. The fair is renowned for its rich deity culture, attracting over 200 deities from the Mandi district, making it a significant religious and cultural event.
Q4. What activities are held during the Mandi Shivaratri Fair?
A4. The fair features elaborate processions, cultural performances, religious rituals, and a bustling marketplace selling local crafts and delicacies.
Q5. How can visitors participate in the Mandi Shivaratri Fair?
A5. Visitors can immerse themselves in the festivities by witnessing the religious rituals, enjoying cultural performances, and exploring the vibrant atmosphere of the fairgrounds.