Culture And Festivals In Patnitop
The culture of Patnitop exclusively Kashmiri in its manner and disposition is characterized with several traditional festivals celebrated here with unparalleled zest, gusto and fervor regardless of the discrimination of religion, cast and creed. Some of the most worth mentioning festivals of Patnitop include Lohri, Baisakhi, Bahu Mela, Purmandal Mela, Chaitre Chaudash, Jhiri Mela, Mansar Food, Milad-ud-Nabi, Eid-ul-Zoha etc.
Lohri was traditionally celebrated on the day of winter solstice; even so, presently Lohri is associated with the Makar Sankranti Festival commemorated in the month of January. Lohri is celebrated as the harvest festival that honors the newly yielded Rabi crops. People offer their fresh harvest along with various food delicacies at the feet of their presiding deity as a mark of gratitude for their fine crop. Bonfire is lit at dusk, people offer sesame seeds, jaggery, rewaries, coconuts and sugar candies to the bonfire and sing and dance around it. Young boys go around the town and ask for gifts from the newly wedded couples and the parents of the new born babies. A unique dance named Chajja is performed on the occasion of Lohri.
Baisakhi is celebrated on the first day of the month of Vaishakh which generally falls on 13th or 14th of April. This festival commemorates the day when the Khalsa Panth was established by the Eleventh Sikh Guru; Guru Gobind Singh. Other than that, Baisakhi is also celebrated as the New Year Day when people bathe in the holy water tanks, pay visit to the temples and offer prayers. Baisakhi is also deemed the favorable season for the weddings. People in Jammu and Kashmir pay homage at the Nagbani Temple of Jammu and also partake in the grand fair organized here.
Bahu Mela is organized twice a year (March / April and September / October) at the Kali Temple of the Bahu Fort of Jammu when thousands of the devotees of Goddess Kali horde the fort and participate in the religious and recreational activities.
Chaitre Chaudash is celebrated at Purmandal and Uttar Behni of Jammu in the month of March and April.
Jhiri Mela is celebrated in October or November in the revered memory of Baba Jitu; an innocent and truthful farmer who rather killed himself than submitting to the unfair demands of the local landowner. As Baba Jitu died in the village of Jhiri, the Jhiri Fair is held here every year when the devotees and followers of Baba Jitu congregate here and worship him for his honesty and courage.
Purmandal Mela is celebrated at Purmandal for three consecutive days on the occasion of Shivratri to commemorate the wedding of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.
Milad-ud-Nabi is observed in the month of April or May in the honor of the birthday of Prophet Mohammed. On this day the followers of Islam gather at the Hazratbal Mosque of Srinagar where a lock of Prophet’s hair is displayed in front of the devotees.
Eid-ul-Zoha celebrated in the month of July commemorates the occasion when Prophet Abraham agreed to sacrifice his son to God.