Baba Chamliyal: The Zero Line India-Pakistan bonhomie

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An Indian devotee applies ‘Shakkar’ (sacred clay) on his face during the ancient shrine of Dalip Singh Baba Chamliyal annual fair at zero line international border at Ramgarh sector about 45 KM from Jammu, the winter capital of Kashmir, India, 22 June 2017. Thousands of people gather annually to receive 'shakkar and sherbet' (sacred clay and water), which is said to have the miracle power of curing skin diseases, from the shrine of Baba Chamliyal, situated at the border with Pakistan.

The yearly Mela at the Shrine of Baba Chamliyal is organized with religious zeal as thousands of followers come from all over the state and outer areas to search for the blessings and healing for spiritual and physical ailments. The Mela is held near the International Border located in Ramgarh of the district Samba which is nearly 42 kms away from Jammu.
The district administration keeps in consideration the constant increasing rush of the devotees and has made detailed preparations for the Mela which includes medical facilities, traffic regulation, drinking water facility, additional buses and security arrangements to control the rush of devotees.  The district administration also arranges an exhibition which highlights the programmes and schemes being executed by different departments.

At this juncture, sweets are also distributed to start the annual festivity of the Mela of Baba Chamliyal. Thousands of pilgrims stand on either sides of the border to see a glimpse of the ceremony of offering of a Chaddar to the officers of BSF by the rangers of Pakistan to lay this Chaddar on the Dargah of the Baba Chamliyal. The administration and officers of BSF distribute the sharbat and shakkar to the thousands of pilgrims who eagerly waits for these things on the either side of the border.

This divine Baba Chamliyal Mela is being celebrated since last 320 years on either sides of the International boundary. The BSF for India and its antitype Pakistan’s Chenab Rangers mainly handle the yearly fair and helps people on both side of the border to receive the sacred ‘Sharbat’ and ‘Shakkar’, which are considered to have healing properties against different skin ailments. Each year in the village of Saidanwali on the Zero line of the Pakistan side, people arranges a 3 days Mela and wait for sacred ‘Sharbat’ and ‘Shakkar’ of the Dargah of Baba Chamliyal.

As pilgrims from Pakistan are not permitted to cross the border of India and Pakistan, every year they assemble at the Saidanwali village, situated on the international boundary. Before the war between India and Pakistan in the year 1971, Pakistanis were permitted to visit India’s side of the boundary, but now the border police called Pakistani Rangers are permitted to take part in the fair and they offers Chaddar on behalf of the Pakistani populace.

It was reported that Mela Chamliyal is organized to commemorate Baba Dalip Singh Manhas each year in the month of June in the Chamliyal village on the border of Indo – Pak which is nearly 42 kms away from Jammu. The exceptional feature of this fair is that Baba Chamliyal is honored by people on both the sides of the international boundary. People of all religious conviction come to the shrine as a large crowd during the celebrations. A gathering of the BSF and the Ranger of Pakistan is organized on this day at the international Border. The Rangers of Pakistan presents chaddar for the Dargah of the Baba. Populace from other states such as Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan come in a large number to pay respect at the shrine.

Time for the celebration of the Baba Chamliyal Mela

The Mela called Baba Chamliyal Mela is usually celebrated on the fourth Thursday of June every year. People from different state of India like Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan etc. come to the Holy Dargah of Baba Chamliyal to show their gratitude at the Shrine and also to enjoy the Baba Chamliyal Mela. Different stalls of Agriculture, handlooms, Horticulture, Animal husbandry, handicrafts, and the stalls of social welfare and employment departments are installed there at the Mela compound to make people alert about the plans which are put into practice by the various departments.

Baba Chamliyal Dargah and Mela

The holy Dargah of Baba Chamliyal is nearly 320 years old. It is located at the Village known as Chamliyal on the Indian side of the border which is nearly 42 kms away from Jammu. A Mela is organized every year on this Dargah which is popularly called Baba Chamliyal Mela. People from either side of the border take part in this Mela. This Mela is organized for three days.

An Indian Border Security Force (BSF) soldier stands guard along the border fence during the ancient shrine of Dalip Singh Baba Chamliyal annual fair at zero line international border at Ramgarh sector about 45 KM from Jammu
Devotees apply Shakkar (sacred clay) on their body during the ancient shrine of Dalip Singh Baba Chamliyal annual fair at zero line international border at Ramgarh sector about 45 KM from Jammu
A devotee applies Shakkar (sacred clay) on his body during the ancient shrine of Dalip Singh Baba Chamliyal annual fair at zero line international border at Ramgarh sector about 45 KM from Jammu, the winter capital of Jammu and Kashmir
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