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Friday, April 6, 2012

Chaitola festival celebrated in Pithoragarh, Lohaghat areas

A sacred umbrella of the local deity being worshipped.
A sacred umbrella of the local deity
being worshipped.

Pithoragarh, April 6
To get a good rabi crop and remain healthy and prosperous throughout the year, villagers of Lohaghat and Pithoragarh areas took part in the traditional Chaitola festival to receive the blessing of the local deities. The festival began on April 1.
More than 30,000 devotees participated in the Chaitola festival in the Lohaghat area of Champawat district on the sixth day of the festival today. “The local deity, Chamu, is carried to all villages of the Gumdesh area of Lohaghat subdivision in a palanquin, as, according to legends, Chamu was the original settler on this fertile land, which was occupied till then by some man-eating ‘rakshasas’. The diety eliminated the ‘rakshasas’ to make way for his people to settle there,” said Jagat Singh, a devotee of Chamu deity at Baskuni village in the Gumdesh area of Lohaghat subdivision.
The yatra of the deity began from Mad village and reached Baskuni village after passing through Pulla , Pokhari, Jindi and Sirkot villages, where a large number of youths in marshal attire followed the palanquin to get a chance to carry it on their shoulders. “The deity in response blessed them with prosperity and good crop,” said Jagat Singh. There is a belief that the youths get their wishes fulfilled by touching the palanquin of the deity.
In the villages of the Soor valley in Pithoragarh district the festival, which began today, is celebrated for two days. The palanquin of the deity, Bhumia, began from Bin village and after passing through 22 villages of the valley would be brought at the temple of the deity in Chaisar village. “The villages are said to be part of the land which was at first brought under cultivation by the ancestor of the local people, who is now worshiped as deity Bhumia,” said priest Chandra Shekhar Bhatt.
“The villages where the palanquin cannot reach, an umbrella symbolising the deity is carried and the devotees worship it after observing fast for the day.
Bhumia, which is considered a follower of Lord Shiva, gives blessings for a good crop and prosperity to the devotees in all 22 villages,” said the priest.

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