Bhoondu Ki Zaath is a famous festival of Paddar. Like Dussehra it is also celebrated as a festival of victory of good over evil. It is celebrated every third year in the month of October.
People of Atholi Paddar gather around the temple of Meh Raja ,the king of all Nagas on this day and dance all night with long Bhonds.
Meh Raja is their hero, their Kuldevta who rose against all odds and saved the clan when it was hit with adversities.
This great festival was celebrated on 9th of October this year. People from the length and breadth of Paddar watched this with great zeal and basked in the glory of pride after knowing the legendary story of it.
Stories and legends pump life into the glory of festivals and this is a small exercise of ours in this direction to keep you energized all the time. Here is a great legend of Bhoondu Ki Zaath.
Legend of Bhoondu Ki Zaath:
Sometimes in the past, when the whole system of village was in apple pie order, Aavgaan, a furious demon Commander-in -Chief across from the village attacked Atholi Paddar in the month of Aasauj (October-November).
He came from the other side of the mountain, from the Sharoth Dhar to attack the region. To face this army of demons, the ruling authority of Atholi (Mehraaj) selected a team of 12 commanders to neutralize them.
They moved along the Dhaar from where they had received the information of the bout. This fight took place at the Sharoth Dhar for some days. Mehraaj’s army took the bull by horns and defeated the rivals.
Watching this, Aavgaan tried to escape from the field but before he could do so Mehraaj got hold over him and punished him toughly. He cursed him with two of his soldiers and turned them into stones.
On the other side, people of Atholi got worried about the safety of their army men. To get information about them they sent another person uphill. He went in the direction he was supposed to go but before he could reach the battle field he met all the commanders safe and secure, who were on their way back to the village.
On meeting them they made a joke of him and villagers for doubting their capability and competence. They sent him back and commanded him to go with the wild dhoop that is shangyl (Skimmia anquetilia), to begin the celebration of this grand victory. They themselves returned to the village with long birch tree poles (deciduous hardwood tree of the genus, Betula) to celebrate this day in their own way.
The poles they were carrying gave them the name of ‘Bhonds’.
People of Atholi welcomed them with great honor and respect. They surrounded their leader in the middle and danced all night. Everyone hailed him for his valor and courage. They were proud of their smart leader for his tactics and deftness which saved the land from the hands of demons.
All the other twelve people who had fought in the war with Purple Heart married the girls (kanyas) then after performing the pooja. Villagers arranged their marriage with immense love and respect. Everyone enjoyed the victory profusely. To mark this, they began celebrating the day, every year, with great enthusiasm. All the villagers lived happily thereafter, people believe.
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