Traditional fervour marked the beginning of the week-long Swarnim International Shivratri Fair of Mandi on Friday, as thousands of people participated in the procession carrying their local deities dancing all the way up to the historic Paddal ground.
Over 150 deities from Mandi district participated in the ‘Jaleb’, the traditional Shobha Yatra. Addressing people at the Paddal ground, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur felicitated the people of the state on the auspicious occasion of International Shivratri festival, which is being celebrated this year as Swarnim International Shivratri Fair to mark fifty years of HP’s statehood.
He said that the world is yet to come out from the Corona pandemic and we all need to be cautious as the crisis is not yet over. He said that fortunately, the number of Covid-19 cases is declining constantly. He said that this is due to precautions by the people and timely decisions taken by the Central leadership.
Thakur said the recently upgraded Municipal Corporation Mandi would ensure that the Mandi town is developed in a planned and systematic manner.
He said that the three years tenure of his government has been “full of achievements and accomplishments”.
He said that almost every section of the society has been benefitted by the policies and programmes of the state government.
He said that fairs and festivals are an integral part of the rich cultural repository of the state and should be celebrated in a befitting manner. He said that the district administration has been directed to ensure adequate arrangements for the people accompanying the deities.
He said that the State Government has made adequate provision for welfare of every section of the society in the Budget for the financial year 2021-22 despite the Covid-19 crisis. The chief minister announced an increase of 5 per cent in honorarium of ‘Bajantries’ accompanying the deities.
Later, the Chief Minister inaugurated the exhibition at Paddal Ground set up by various Departments, Boards and Corporations and evinced keen interest in the exhibition.
Deputy Commissioner Mandi and Chairman International Shivratri Fair Organizing Committee Rugved Thakur said that Shivratri fair of Mandi is a unique cultural repository of Himachal Pradesh.
He said that the theme of this year’s event is the fifty years of Himachal Pradesh and this year as many as 216 deities were invited to participate in this fair. He said that the exhibition on the “glorious and golden journey” of the state during the last fifty years is the main attraction of the fair. He said that an awareness Rath has also been included in the procession to highlight the “Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao” campaign.