Fairs and Festivals
LOHRI (January 13,Every Year)
This festival is also known as Makar Sankarnti. It heralds the onset of spring. The whole of Jammu region wears a festive look on this day. Thousands take a dip in the holy rivers. ‘Havan Yagnas’ light up nearly every house and temple in Jammu. In the rural areas, Custom requires boys to go around asking for gifts from newly-weds and new parents.
A special dance called the ‘Chajja’ dance is held on the occasion of Lohri. It makes a striking picture to see boys along with their ‘Chajjas’ elaborately decorated with colored paper and flowers move on the street in a dancing processio. The whole atmosphere comes alive with the pulsating drum beats.
BAISAKHI (April 13 or 14)
The name Baisakhi is taken from the first month of the Vikram calendar. Every year, on the first day of Vaishakh, the people of Jammu-like the rest of northern India-celebrate baisakhi.
Baisakhi is also known as the harvest festival and is considered auspicious especially for marriages. Rivers, canals and ponds are thronged by devotees who unfailingly take a ritual dip every year. Many people go to the Nagbani Temple to witness a grand new year celebration.
Numerous fairs are organized and people come in thousands to celebrate the beginning of the new year and watch the famous bhangra dance of Punjab. For the Sikhs of Jammu, Baisakhi is the day their tenth Guru Gobind Singhji formed the Khalsa sect in 1699. The Gurudwaras are full of people who come to listen to Kirtans, offer prayers and feast on the parsad from the common Kitchen(Langer).
BAHU MELA (March-April and September-October)
A Major festival is held at the Kali Temple in Bahu Fort(Jammu) twice a year.
CHAITRE CHAUDASH (March-April)
Chaiter Chaudash is celebrated at Uttar Behni,about 25 Kms. From Jammu. Uttar Behni gets its name from the fact that the Devak River(also known as Gupta Ganga locally) flows here in the northerly direction.
PURMANDAL MELA (Ferbruary-March)
Purmandal is 39 Kms. from Jammu city. On Shivratri, the town is transformed for three days as people celebrate the marriage of Lord Shiva to Goddess Parvati here. The people of Jammu also come out in their colorful best to celebrate Shivaratri at peer khoh, the Rainbireshwar Temple and the Panjbhaktar Temple.
In fact, if you visit the Jammu region during Shivratri, you’ll find a celebration on almost everywhere.
JHIRI MELA (October-November)
Baba Jitu was a simple, God loving and honest farmer who preferred to kill himself rather than submit to the unjust demands of the local landlord to part with his corp. He killed himself in the village of Jhiri,14 kms. from Jammu. A legend has grown around the Baba and his followers congregate at Jhiri on the appointed day from every him for his compassion, courage and honesty and hold an annual fair in his name.