Renuka Fair: Divine Festival of Sirmour

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Shimla, Nov 8: Amid the voices of trumpets, drums, runsinghas and other traditional musical instruments, the five-day-long state-level Renuka fair will commence on Saturday, Nov 8.

Besides its holy tradition, the fair will also be an occasion of religious fervour on one hand and an opportunity for brisk trade activity on the other. Renuka, well-connected by roads, is only 40 km from Nahan, the headquarters of district Sirmour. The fair attracts a large crowd of pilgrims and enthusiasts from Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal and Rajasthan, among other states, every year.

Of all the lakes in Himachal Pradesh, Renuka is the biggest lake with 2.5 km circumference. It is situated at a height of 672 m and is 123 km away from Parwanoo and 60 km from Poanta Sahib. The sunrise and sunset make the lake charmingly beautiful with reflections of wild palm trees grown on river bank. Boating in Renuka lake is one of the major fascination for the tourists visiting Renuka.

People look upon the lake as an embodiment of Renuka, wife of Rishi Jamdagni and mother of lord Parshuram. On one occasion, Rishi Jamdagni got annoyed with his wife. He asked Parshuram to behead Renuka. The dutiful son could not disobey his father and carried out the order. However, he could not withstand the loss of his mother.

Later, the Rishi was repentant and aggrieved over the tragic incident and asked his son, to revive Renuka. The son, who was the incarnation of Lord Vishnu, took no time to accomplish the otherwise impossible task. The legend avers that Lord Parshuram, following the incident, proceeded to Mehendra mountain for his meditation. As he promised to pay annual visit to his holy mother, the Renuka fair made an occasion to commemorate the event and has been held on over centuries.

During the fair, idol of Lord Parshuram in the decorated palanquin is taken out in colourful procession, which starts from Jamu village and terminates at Dadahu. The procession is also joined by local ''deities viz Kattaka and Masu.'' After getting a traditional welcome at Dadahu, the lord proceeds to his abode 'Parshuram Temple'.

On Ekadashi, the lord is the guest of his mother Renuka and the next day he returns to Jamu.

Being a weeklong fair, performances by cultural troupes are also held. The exhibitions put up by various departments and developmental agencies also attract the visitors.

UNI

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