Today's episode is the first part of the 3 part series about the unique and lesser known festival of Magh Maroj that is celebrated in Uttarakhand's Jaunsar Bawar region. It is one of the remote, least explored yet breathtaking regions of the state. Magh Maroj is one of the prominent festivals of the Jaunsar people. that is marked by an animal sacrifice ritual, feasting, singing, dancing and drinking.
To experience it we set out to Jansar Bawar from Dehradun with our host Navendu Raturi. The first pitstop of the journey was Jaunsar Bio Kiosk in Sahiya. It is a government backed shop that sells jam, pickles, juices, preserves and honey manually processed by the local womenfolk. After trying some amazing stuff presented by Gopal Ji, we left to meet Anil Ji at Dawa Pul. They have invited us to savour Ulwe or traditional rice steamed cakes that are made on this day prior to Maroj. In Anil Ji's community this day is known as Laagdey. People gather together and prepare for Maroj celebrations. After an endearing chat with the genial family we left for Kali Mata temple in Indrouli village.
After paying our reverence to the deities we met some of the locals who had gathered around a bonfire inside the premises. They all were gripped by the festive fervour. More so because this festival is all about visiting your families and acquaintances. Soon we left for our homestay closer to Kandar village. We stopped at Kandar village to absorb the unique and beautiful traditional homes. To our great fortune, we met Tikkam Singh Ji, a local resident who invited us to his house for a friendly conversation. What followed was an overview about the culture and lifestyle at this place and Jaunsar Bawar in general. Watch it for all the fascinating details and brace yourself for Maroj festival.