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Stone-throwing festival to be played with fruits again

Bagwal, a stone throwing festival of Devidhura, will be played with flower and fruits instead of stones in Davidhura fair this year

dehradun Updated: Aug 01, 2017 20:30 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Bagwal being held in Champawat. (HT File)

Bagwal, a stone throwing festival of Devidhura, will be played with flower and fruits instead of stones in Davidhura fair this year.

The Bagwal fair is held at Devidhura on the auspicious day of Raksha Bandhan every year at Goddess Varahi temple premises, 75 km from the Champawat district headquarters. Local goddess Barahi is worshipped before the start of the main event.

This year, the fair will begin on August 3 but the main attraction will be the ‘Bagwal’ on Raksha Bandhan. Chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat will be the chief guest of the fair on August 7 and witness the Bagwal.

What makes it different and special from other fairs of Kumaon is that Bagwal involves stone pelting by two groups of people from Kumaon and Garhwal regions. At the same time, the men take cover from the stones with the help of large shields made of bamboo. On the priest’s signal, the participants of two groups throw stones at each other, no matter how much injuries take place. It goes up to seven to nine minutes and ends with the priest’s signal again.

Locals believe that blood from the injuries appeases the goddess who fulfils their wishes.

Earlier, the Devidhura fair was held only for one day but now it is hosted for more than 10 days with exhibitions of different government departments. Bagwal attracts thousands of visitors from hill and plain areas who arrive to watch the unique celebration.

The tradition of stone pelting was discontinued in 2013 after intervention of the high court following injuries to the participants in the main event. The fair committee decided to replace stones with flowers and fruits. But it was observed that the participants start with fruit and flowers but switch to stones after a few minutes.

On Monday, the administration and the fair committee gave a final touch to the preparations. CCTVs will be installed in the fair area to maintain law and order and keep vigil on miscreants. Hemant Verma, officiating district magistrate of Champawat, said the administration was expecting more than 50,000 people to gather for watching Bagwal for which arrangements are being made.

First Published: Aug 01, 2017 20:30 IST