Especially, I want to draw your attention towards significance of Lohri in Duggar Pardesh, as the same is fading day by day in Duggar Land due to little knowledge about our Folk Culture. The festival of Lohri is marked by the worship of Kuldev, God of Fire, and God Sun, the festival of Dugar Pradesh.
Today this style does not include people of all religions and castes as a result of this, our important style, is on the verge of extinction. I have heard, danced and sang this mode in the village with the elders in Udhampur district of Jammu province.
Haran and Chhajja, Dandaras connect us with our clan gods, Haran – of spiritual power and having a beautiful lion (Batvud) in the head, is considered the king of the jungle, and the peacock, the sacred and peace, Saraswati, is the symbol of education. Our elders used to tell that the deer king Mandlik who protects us from negative energies. You will be surprised to know that Raja Mandlik was forgotten; his kingdom magic by Queen Sirgala, of Godh Bengal, the friendship of the Kalibeer and Raja Mandlik was Commendable.
Now we call the special, folk stage styles of our region Jammu Haran, Chhajja, Dandaras , due to lack of complete knowledge, due to not being used according to the spirit of the style, these styles are prone to disappear, moving towards. You will know On the day of Lohri, artists of all religions, gathered, carry Haran from house to house, to wish for prosperity and happiness in the houses, for a bright future, because in our homes Raja Mandlik, Baba Kaliveer’s, place in our homes. Having Punjab bordering J&K, we accepted the story of Dulla Bhatti of Punjab, Sundar-Mundariye, and we are forgetting our rich Traditional Lohri style (Haran and Chhaja, Dandars ) in Duggar Land. The second balcony, which is a symbol of knowledge and Saraswati, also belongs to Raja Mandlik, Queen Sirgala. Because in the garden of Rani Sirgala in Bengal all the processions were made deer, peacocks, partridges and other animals and by the order of Guru-Gorkh nath, Baba Kaliveer, all those captive animals were freed and since then this deer Chhaja tradition, in our Duggar culture started. Since then, there has been a tradition of sketching peacock on the wall with cow dung in our houses. We can say that the festival of Lohri is a symbol of the worship of our family deities. We should not leave folk music to a particular caste or religion to care-take, although it is a common heritage of all people.
The legendary story of Lohri Festival:
Lohri is symbol happiness, deity, grace, innocence, intuition, quickness and gentleness, stamina, virility, leadership, and regeneration, Lohri remind us to be gentle with ourselves and others around us. It is celebrated before the Makar Sakranti i.e.13th January every year. On this day people go in different groups. There are 8 -10 members in a team. The wooden mask (Deer) -placed on the actor’s (Raja Mandlik) head and the sticks are held in his hand. Another actor (Kaliveer) grabs her by the waist. His body is covered with a sheet and thus the deer’s disguise is ready. Four to 6 dancers (Boys in female costumes) dance in front of the deer. In these, a person wearing a long cap on his head also comes in the middle of the dance. In the end, a sage with a figured beard also comes. In these, dialogue and dance go on all three. The Nath Vimis (Yogi) seem to have played a role in popularizing this legend in the region as the word ‘Alakh’ used in its dialogues and our faith towards Raja Mandlik and Kaliveer) Kuldev confirms this the story of Raja Mandlik and Baba Kaliveer as we have been hearing the same from elders, Galriees,Yogies and Naths.
As per my experience, the day of Lohri, the artists of all religions, gathered carried Haran from house to house, to wish for prosperity and happiness in the houses, for a bright future, because Thans of Raja Mandalik, Baba Kaliveer’s, Kalis in our houses of Dogra Community and Haran and Chhaja are the symbol of Raja Mandlik and Kaliveer, and we are forgetting our rich style folk theatre form Haran. Actually the story is Queen Sirgala with Deer (Symbol of Raja Mandlik), Sirgala her wife (married in presence of Guru Gorkh Nath) Peacocks and others, birds enjoyed for 12 years at Ghod Bangale, then the sister (Gugdi) of Raja Mandlik, requested the Baba Kali Beer, to release him from Magic of Bengal. Then Baba Kaliveer requested the Guru Gorkhnath with the power of Guru Gorkhnath all the processions were made deer, peacocks, partridges and other animals and by the order of Guru-Gaurakhnath, thunder storm rain came and Raja Mandlik release from Magic. Since then Haran and chhajja tradition, is practiced in Duggar region. Since then, there was a also tradition of making peacocks on the front walls in our houses as the pea cock (National bird) is the symbol of grace, beauty, Brahm Yogi ride of Kartikeya (Philospher worrier) like the elder son of God Shiv and Parwati . We can say that the festival of Lohri is a symbol of the worship of our family deities. We need to pay attention to this. It is a festive occasion with everybody participating in fun and merry making and moving on braving the cold weather. In present times, this dance is also performed on the eve of celebration of national days and social functions.
Harna Harna Shaali De
Sutte De Bajali De.
Harna Ditti Latte Di
Choodh Pajji Khatte Di
Other region Chhajja (Pea Cock Dance): Day time God Krishna and Maa Saraswati depicted with peacock feathers adorning his head. Peacock is the symbol of Totemm Spirit ,Omens and beauty success luck and carrier in Hindu mytholog Carrying the Chhajja, lads perform ‘Chajja dance’ and move from house to house in the villages/towns singing and shouting’ Bhambora Bhai bhambora. Sometimes, the boys dressed as girls dance in a circle and one as a joker performs this dance at every house in the vicinity. Most people consider it auspicious to give them something and ensure that they don’t leave their home empty handed. The children lavish praise on those people who give them good gifts and money by singing’ Dabbabharya leeranda/ Aegharamiraanda’, (The box is full of cloth strips/ This house belongs to rich people) and for those who refuse to give them anything, the boys sing’ Hukka bhai hukka/ Aegharbhukha’ (Hukka! Ae Hukka, this house belongs to the misers). They are in high spirits and keep on dancing merrily and happily. Peacock also ride of Karthikeya symbolizes a union of polarities. He is handsome warrior and described as a celibate yogi. He uses his creative martial abilities to lead an army against Taraka and other demons, and described as a philosopher-warrior like Raja Mandlik and Kalibeer. Elder of the houses they visit great them enthusiasm and offer them gifts like Gajak, crystal sugar jiggery, peanuts and popcorn in abundance. In the evening people use to gather and lit bonfire and put the offering of Peanuts, Gur Gajak ,Til Chawal and waiting for Haran processions in the night.
The Third region the Dandaras Dance is yet another colourful dance performed on Lohri in Jammu and Kashmir with sticks known as Dandras, this is also performed in Rajasthan, Chamba Kangara with the Haran and Chhajjaja folk theatre form. This dance is generally performed on the eve of Lohri Makar Sankranti or during the season of harvest. In this dance, the dancers carry sticks of bamboo or other material and strike them with the sticks in the hands of their fellow performers. Each performer step forward to hit sticks with their partner, then they move to the next person switching partners. For the movement to be continuous, each person at the end of line and joins the line opposite to them. The dancers form a semi circle and initially make slow moves but gradually as it catches pace as the dancers become highly energetic with the fast musical beats of the drums and moves which are well choreographed. It is a form of dance that is performed without any song but only music and the performers need much practice to perfect this form is played with various traditional instruments, while the dancers move in clockwise and anti-clockwise direction, swinging their arms to powerful drum beats. Dandars is the symbol of warriors like Raja Mandlik and Kaliveer.
Fourth region Lohri Always celebrate on 13th January before Makar Sankranti and later, Baba Kaliveer was called by his sister Gugdi sent him to Bengal (who assumed the form of a crow) and brought Raja Mandlik free from the spell. And the friendship of Raja Mandlik and Kaliveer is very commendable. Which protects us from various negative celestial forces. The Sun moves from Mesh Rashi to Makar Rashi, from darkness to light. Which we call Makar Sankranti and celebrate it with gusto. The other reason of the Festival is the arrival of longer days after the winter solstice Word Lohri comes from “Tilhori i.e. till meaning sesame and rori meaning Gur or Tircholi. It is believed that these both food ingredients help cleanse the body bringing renewed energy of the New Year. That’s why food like Gur Tircholi, Gajjak offered to as way of paying gratitude nature. Lohri festival proves religiousness of the people. Baba Kaliveer was called by his sister Gokula and brought Raja Mandlik free from the spell song “Kaliya Kanwan Ve Saneha Ja” depict this episode, Sister of Raja Mandlik Garlanded Dry Fruit Mala to Raja Mandlik when he reached home after being freed from Magic of Queen Sirgala of Bohr Bengal. Since then this tradition is in practice in our Duggar Pardesh.