Basant Panchmi once occupied an important place in Delhi's cultural milieu. However, the tradition is slowly fading away over the years.
Sensing the importance, heritage lovers have decided to revive it. The panchmi, the fifth day of any month of Hindu calendar, that comes as the winter end and marks the arrival of spring, Basant and hence the name Basant Panchmi. This year it falls on February 8.
Usha Kumar from Anjuman Sair-e-Gulfaroshan — that holds the annual Phool Walon Ki Sair — says, "There was a tradition where in Hindus and Muslims went together to offer chadar at the mazar of Aamir Khusro. It is also believed that earthen lamps were lit at Nasiruddin Shah Dehlvi's shrine at Chirag Dilli."
The group plans to offer Saraswati puja at Gauri Shankar temple at Chandni Chowk and then head to Nizamuddin to offer chadar at the mazar's of Nizamuddin Auliya and Aamir Khusro. From garlands, to chadars to safas, everything would be yellow.
Old timers remember the fairs that were held across the city to mark Basant Panchmi. Recalls RV Smith, a diligent chronicler of Delhi, "Yellow flags were hoisted atop the Yogmaya temple at Mehrauli to gauge the direction of winds. The weather on that day indicates the weather conditions till Holi."
"People also flew kites at the Bhooli Bhatiyari ka Mahal, a protected monument inside the central ridge, again to know wind direction and hence the weather," Smith says and adds, "Till recently, a Basant Mela was being held near the Firozshah Kotla and near the garden at the well at the Dhaula Kuan."Said Kumar, "The Mayor has assured to join us at the Gauri Shankar temple while union minister of state for tourism sultan Ahmed would be coming at the mazar of Aamir Khusro on February 8."