Travel is important to people. We are communal creatures of the same species, but our location determines social actions based on cultural and governmental laws. Travel is important for one’s happiness and mental health. Research shows that in today’s highly demanding world where individuals are constantly under the stress of maintaining work, relationships and family, travel can be a great mental and physical stimulus. Traveling to places full of language and cultural barriers, learning emotional rules, and more. The Army is one such fine organization that builds a “hands on experience” in its personnel to overcome the hiccups created by the vicissitudes of terrain, people, languages and cultural diversity, all of which in essence enhance mental and physical resilience in the bargain. within the country and even abroad. This opportunity, which allows a person to accept all the above-mentioned impossibilities during the journey, is imprinted on his psyche for life and eventually forms his personality. In one of my previous articles, I have focused on the royal estate of Rampur Bushehr in general, but the present article focuses specifically on the fairs (melas) and tourist attractions, which are like jewels on the necklace of one of the greatest. former estates of what is now Himachal Pradesh as I recall.
Having had the opportunity to serve in the general area of ’Kinnaur’ in the mid 90’s, I had the chance and opportunity to visit many places including ‘Rampur Bushehr’ which is my current subject of interest. As mentioned in one of my earlier articles on Rampur Bushehr, being one of the largest royal estates of HP, created as a union territory in 1948, the place still has its old world charm, intrigue, fairs, temples, and tourist attractions that are not yet on the tourist map. Fairs and festivals are part of our ancient civilization and are infinitely precious to us. They act as a bridge of humanity for generations. An important tool to help youth showcase their handicrafts, artworks/artifacts as well as cultural events accompanying such events. Himachal Pradesh is bequeathed with an incomparable number of fairs and festivals that travel throughout the year for an avid traveler to explore. acting as a catalyst for local residents to showcase their talents. The changing times and the socio-cultural environment have of course affected the brilliance of such events, but then kudos to the local population, the ‘standard bearers’ who often preserve the essence of such fairs and festivals, with their keen participation.
Rampur Bushehr primarily has three (3) main consequence fairs that it can identify its existence namely “Faaq Mela (fair), Lavi Mela and Sahara Dusshera mela”. ‘Faaq Mela’ was the main fair and was the exclusive domain of the royal house of Bushehr to go with the time and flow of events and ultimately survive. When the property was merged into HP, the Rampur city council took it upon itself to maintain the same pace of celebration every year. The day after the festival of ‘Holi’ is generally known as ‘Faaq’ and in ancient times the celebration was a joint display of bonhomie and camaraderie between the ruler and the ruled. During these festivities, the “local gods” in human form, a peculiarity of Rampur Bushehr, danced with the homosexuals for three days with their dance troupes. On the second day of the Faagmela festival, these local deities took to the streets, lanes and lanes of the city with their musical instruments. The same celebration norms are maintained today. Bushehr is famous for still continuing the old ritual of local deities gathering at the “Padammahal” where the Bushehr royal house and city council finally distribute wealth in cash and kind. In the olden days, the “Rajmata” (queen mother) of Rampur Bushehr used to invite all the notables connected with the royal family to attend the final festivities at Padammahal. Besides drawing attention to the second most important fair of Bushehr, i.e. Lavimela, the reader will be interested to know that this fair is a token of the “Treaty of Friendship” signed earlier between Rampur Bushehr province and Tibet. 1681 year. But in 1962, the Sino-Indian conflict pushed this famous Lavimela to the limit of its existence.
Readers will be surprised that even today this Lavimela is known as the largest business mela/fair north of Delhi considering the numerous business transactions that take place in the mofussil areas of Utranchal, the entire Himachal Pradesh. The origin of the word “Lavi” is derived from the local word “Loi” (wool blanket) and with the passage of time and usage it has become the distorted word “Lavi” to this day. Every year from November 11 to November 14, this festival/fair is celebrated with the usual pomp and show. The Mela was recognized by the state in 1994 with an international label in 1984 by late CM of HP Mr. Veer Bhadrsingh. It was during the reign of Maharaja Kehrisingh (1639-1696) that a treaty of friendship was signed between Rampur Bushehr and Tibet, which was a fortuitous act. Maharaja Kehrisingh is said to have marched deep into Tibet with a large force infiltrating through the Shipki La pass, where he encountered a Tibetan general and a brief skirmish ensued. This skirmish paved the way for an armistice, which later became a treaty of friendship. According to the 45-line Tibetan official record Namgya, this treaty of friendship eventually shaped the business environment between the two nations, and they went further and established a culture of permanent trade relations that culminated in today’s Lavimela. .
Lavimela in all its splendor with its cultural troupes attracts business partners from far off places like Kullu, Shimla, Lahaul & spiti as well as the tribal areas of Kinnaur. Mela ‘pashmina wool, wool pattus, Gudum, Chilgoza, Dates, Badam etc. to the hinterland of India and vice versa. The same road is now under the name of ‘Hindustan-Tibet road’ or NH- 05 by Lord Dalhousie with a dual purpose of tracking the frontier regions of India as part of the ‘Great Game’ and also promoting the frontier. development of the field in terms of business relations between neighboring states/countries. Rampur Bushehr is also quite famous for its mesmerizing tourist attractions, which have unfortunately been forgotten due to a general sense of neglect and lack of publicity to spice up its USP.
As the Rampur Bushehr valley is full of Doedar, Kail, Texas Baccata trees, the flora of the area gets richer due to the heavy snowfall that starts from October and continues till May. Tourists here can engage in trekking, fishing, river rafting. The region is famous for its many temples and religious places sculpted along the popular ‘Nagar’/Pahari style of architecture. These religious places are not only tourist attractions, but also attract specialists from the fields of architecture and engineering, art and sculpture from all over the world for research and doctoral studies. Padam district of Rampur Bushehr is an epitome of architectural wonder with very high class wood craft, stone craft and exquisite carving work. The entire palace was built of wood and stones brought from the villages of Munish and Dhamred. Mr. Gurmel Singh of Rampur was the chief architect of this Padam Palace. His son Mr. Gurudev Singh has been the lifeblood of this royal estate through his multifarious activities and philanthropic works. Mr. Mansa Ram has been “Male Friday” according to the color scheme of this palace. The stone wall around the Padam Palace was built from stones brought from the village of “Kanhari” and later shaped by a team of 4-5 workers. To create mortar for masonry, it was previously worked on a special paste made from “Mash pulse”. About 42 km north-east of Rampur Bushehr near ‘Saharan’ is the exquisite temple of ‘Bhimakali’ which is associated with the ancient capital city of Shonitpur as explained in our Hindu scriptures.
Sahara Bushehr, at about 7,500 feet above mean sea level, is surrounded by lush green and verdant forests, lakes and roaring hill rivers. This place is famous since “Dawparyug” as mentioned in our Indian mythology. It has an excellent hotel reserved by Himachal tourism as ‘ShriKhand Hotel’ from where one can see the magnificent high rising peak of ShrikhandKailash at a height of about 18000 feet. You can also go to the famous “Nalati Stadium” built in 1917 from Sahara. Nearby is the breeding center of HP state bird – Monal. It is known that there is a beautiful hot water sulfur spring at a place called “JUERI”, which is much-maligned because it is located next to the Hindustan-Tibet road. On my way from Shimla to the Rupa Valley, I had the opportunity to take a quick dip in one of these sulphurous springs. According to Hindu mythology, one of the Pandav brothers “Bheem” fetched water from this place for his mother “Kunti”. It should be understood that all skin problems are cured by this healing water that continuously flows from Jeuri. Jueri is also famous as a pilgrimage center with lakhs of pilgrims flocking to Makarsakranti. A little north-east of Rampur Bushehr, you will find the 3000 meter high ‘Sharaikoti’ peak, on which the beautiful temple of Goddess Durga stands out in all its beauty and temporal existence. From here, one can view the mesmerizing scenes of Narkanda and the British-era rest house in Daranvalley.
Although an article of about 1600 or 1700 words is insufficient to cover all the fine points of travel and tourism exhibited in pristine places like Rampur Bushehr, sometimes a written word with a lot of details is required for avid travelers. So take the road less traveled to off beat places. The need is to bring such places to the outside world to their maximum potential. As Ibn Battuta rightly said centuries ago—- ‘Travel leaves you speechless and then turns you into a storyteller. One can tell the story only if one has traveled.
(The writer is a retired army officer and regular columnist of Rising Kashmir. Email: email@example.com)