Bal, a tribal Himachal festival to seek prosperity

April 17th, 2008 - 6:01 pm ICT by admin  

By Hemant Chauhan
Kilba (Kinnaur) (Himachal Pradesh), April 17 (ANI): Kilba town of Himachal was recently abuzz with a huge confluence of devotees who converged here to celebrate the day-long Bal festival that is organized here once in every five years.
The festival is held for the well-being and prosperity of the region in the Nichar valley of Himachal Pradesh’s Kinnaur District. It is being organized for past one century.
Two deities of the village Viomating and Badrinath participate in this festival.
The festival is marked as the battle between deities and devil and viewed as part of tribals’ cultural heritage. And, traditionally, devotees offer animal sacrifice after the to seek prosperity and happiness throughout the year.
Attired in traditional dresses, the villagers from different tribal regions of the Kinnaur District converge to participate in the festival. Everyone enjoys the dances and food served during the festival.
“We have been celebrating this festival for the prosperity of our villages. The deities come after five years and we seek their blessings and everyone’s welfare from them,” said Devraj Negi, a local villager.
“The festival takes place every five years. We have been celebrating the festival in the traditional spirit by portraying the war between God and the devils, so that it does not lose its significance,” said Omprabha, another local villager.
Locals believe that it is extremely important to preserve the old tradition and culture of the region, especially, at a time when western music and culture have influenced and dominating indigenous rich Himachali culture.
“The festival holds special significance for the people of this region and our relatives from all over the place come here to be a part of the festival. We all celebrate it with great zeal and enthusiasm and enjoy the traditional cuisine,” said Kuldeep, the President of a Village Panchayat (local council).
It is observed in the first month of Chaitra as per Hindu almanac. The date for the festival is stated to be decided by the village deity. This year it was celebrated on April 14. (ANI)

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