Today's episode is about day 2 of the Magh Maroj festival in Uttarakhand's Jaunsar Bawar region. It is the main day of the month-long festivity. The highlight of this day is the animal sacrifice ritual and folk song and dance. To witness the gaiety we reached the village of Oli with our host Navendu and our friend Prithviraj. Here we visited the home of Suraj Prakash Ji for the festive breakfast. It is a beautiful village with harsh terrains and living conditions.
Over a cup of steaming hot tea Suraj Ji informed us about their lifestyle and the beliefs behind this festival. We came to know about the local legend behind the animal sacrifice ritual. Soon we joined the family for breakfast inside their beautiful traditional house made of stone and wood. On Maroj the locals eat a simple khichdi made of Black gram lentil and rice that is topped with kisar and ghee. The meal was simply divine all because of the pure ingredients.
Then we headed to Mohna village with another friend Mohit. Here we first visited the Chalda Mahasu Maharaj Temple which is a significant shrine. Next we went to Mohit's relative's place for some tea and snacks. After this we went out to witness the animal sacrifice ritual in the village. As per tradition, each family gets a goat for sacrifice, whose meat is consumed at home, offered to the visitors and presented to the family members. For this they dry most of it inside their houses. After paying reverence to the local deity, the gathered villagers help each other in the ritual.
From there again returned to Suraj Ji place in Oli which was approx 2 km away from Mohna for the next festive meal consisting of this ritualistic meat. Meat pieces were hung inside the rooms to dry and a portion of it, mostly the offals, was being cooked as a curry. As the meal was getting ready, Suraj Ji treated us to some grilled meat that had been roasted over the woodfire. He had mixed it with pisyun loon to add a zing. This was followed by some sur, a traditional alcoholic drink. The meal platter consisted of roti, bhutwa and rajma. The curry prepared with a handful of everyday spices was super delicious. This was followed by a song and dance event at a neighbours place where the whole village had gathered.