Mela Patt fair celebrated in Bhaderwah in Jammu and Kashmir

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Bhaderwah (Jammu and Kashmir), Aug 28(ANI): Colourful folk dances marked the annual three-day fair 'Mela Patt' celebrations in Bhaderwah sub-division of Jammu and Kashmir's Doda district.

The festival, which concluded on Thursday, is celebrated every year after it was started by Raja Nagpal, the 16th century ruler of the then small principality of Bhaderkashi, now known as Bhaderwah.

The festival begins on Naag Panchami, festival dedicated to honour the snake God.

According to folklore, Mughal emperor Akbar wanted to make Raja Nagpal bow to him, but Nagpal would not bow before anyone except his Lord Vasuki Naag. The emperor summoned Nagpal and ordered to sever his head. But, when king's men tried to cut his head a serpent came out from his turban.

Impressed by Nagpal's spiritual powers, Akbar awarded him with a golden pot with precious stones and costly velvet robes embroidered with gold and silver as a token of his devotion to Vasuki Naag.

Every year during the festival the devotees take out a procession of the gifts presented to Nagpal.

"The pot you see was gifted by emperor Akbar to Raja Nagpal and every year it is taken out for display to the locals," said Hari Krishan, a local.

The festival sees enthusiasts from across north-India, as they believe that their wishes will come true if they pray earnestly.

"Not only people from Jammu and Kashmir, but from people across north India come to see the festival. There is a saying that if someone asks for a wish it comes true," said Naresh Gupta, another local.

People danced to the sweet and melodious tunes of the traditional 'Dhaku' dance, a unique folk dance of the area, a regular feature during the Mela. By Tahir Nadeem Khan (ANI)

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