Friday, March 31, 2023

Fairs & Festivals


Muktsar fair

The Muktsar fair is one of the largest Sikh fairs held in Muktsar Sahib referred to as Muktsar, the headqaurters of Muktsar Sahib district in Punjab on the occasion of Maghi Mela. The fair is held in the middle of  January on the Makar Sankranti day, usually celebrated the next day after Lohri

The festival is held in commemoration of a battle fought in 1705-1706 by Guru Gobind Singh against the pursuing imperial forces which overtook him here and cut his followers to pieces. The Guru himself escaped and had the bodies of his followers disposed of with the usual rites. He declared that they had all obtained mukti and promised the same blessing to all his followers, who should thereafter, on the anniversary of that day, bathe in the Holy pool which had been filled by rain from heaven in answer to his prayers for water. On this spot,a fine tank was afterwards dug by Maharaja Ranjit Singh and called Muktsar (the pool of Salvation).

One of the greatest of Sikh festivals, the celebrations last for three days. On the first day, the worshippers bathe is the sacred tank.

 On the second day the people go in a procession (mohalla) to the three holy mounds which lie to the north-west of the town, namely, Rikab Sahib, Tibbi Sahib and Mukhwanjana Sahib. The Rikab Sahib, a mound formed out of the handfuls of earth taken from the tank by the faithful and thrown there, commemorates the spot where the Guru's stirrup broke. The procession goes up the slope to the Tibbi Sahib which, crowned with a Gurudwara, is the mound where Guru Gobind Singh stood and aimed his arrows at the imperial forces. The devotes then proceed to the Mukhwanjana Sahib where the Guru is said to have cleaned his teeth with a tooth-stick. Prayers are offered here and the devotes then return. This mound has been built in the same way as the Rikab Sahib. On their return trip people visit the Tambu Sahib  where the Guru's tent was pitched before the fight started, the Shahid Ganj, which is the Samadhi of the forty martyrs and the Darbar Sahib, where the Guru held his Darbar after the cremation of the slain.

 A cattle fair during the occassion, showcases good breed horses, for which Sri Muktsar Sahib is famous throughout Punjab.