Despite bad weather and dense fog, over five hundred villagers gathered at high altitude meadow of Dayara Bugyal in district Uttarkashi to play ‘Holi’ with butter, milk and ‘Chacch’ (buttermilk) on Saturday. The unique butter festival saw big participation in the pristine meadow located at 11,000 feet. Smearing butter on each other and throwing buttermilk, the atmosphere of Dayara turned electric with the laughter of the villagers echoing in the valley.
In a move to reach Dayara on time and not to miss the action, most villagers started their 6 km trek from base village Raithal early on Saturday. Organised by the Dayara Paryatan Utsav Simiti, the Butter festival is locally known as ‘Anduri.’ Manoj Rana, president of Dayara Paryatan Utsav Simiti said, “After so many years we witnessed favourable weather otherwise it used to rain heavily during the festival. As the day progressed the fog cleared and it was a memorable day for the villagers and other participants.”
The participants danced to the beats of traditional ‘Pahadi’ musical instrument- ‘Dhol- Damao.’ The festival is associated with the practice of villagers moving to higher altitudes during summer. For four long months, Raithal villagers move with their cattle to high altitudes for pasture. When winter approaches and it’s time for them to leave the grasslands, the villagers celebrate ‘Anduri’ to express their gratitude to Mother Earth.
Local resident Pankaj Kushwaha said, “Earlier the festival was played by local villagers only but now it has attracted attention of the tourists. Many tourists came this time to see this unique festival.”
The tourists got a rare opportunity to play Holi with butter, milk and ‘Chacch’ (buttermilk) on the lush green high altitude meadow. It is possibly the only festival of its kind in the world. The festival is now being promoted as a tourism product. Villagers carried homemade butter and buttermilk to share with other participants to celebrate the unique festival of Uttarakhand Himalayas.