Devidhura Fair(Bagwal)

Devidhura, situated at the trijunction of three beautiful hill stations of Uttarakhand- Almora, Nainital and Champawat is not only well known for its beauty but for the Bagwal mela. It is held in the compound of Maa Varahi(Barahi) Devi temple on the day of Raksha Bandhan.

Bagwal is played between four different groups of people. These groups are called "Khams". These Khams are- Lamgariya Kham, Valig kham, Chamyal Kham and Garahwal Kham. Only people of these Khams can take part in this Baghwal . On the day, when Baghwal is played one by one all the four Khams enter the compound with the "Jai kare of Maa Barahi" and do the Parikrama of the compound with the Jai Kare. After each Kham has done the parikrama , each Kham place themselves to each corner of the compound.and then the priest of the temple gives the signal to start the fight with the sound of "Shankh". And then the Baghwal fight starts which is witnessed by thousands of people. The fighters of the four Khams brings sticks, stones and cover (known as farra*). As soon as fight starts fighters throw stones to each other and no matter how much injury has taken place , they won't stop until the priest ask them to do so by blowing the shankh. After the Baghwal Fight ends , fighters of each Kham then hug each other and then with the sound of the "Jai kare of Mata Varahi" baghwal fights end.

*Farra: Farra is a cover made up of wood used in the Baghwal fight by fighters to protect themselves from the stones. Farra is built by the local villagers.

Mythology behind Bagwal Festival:

In ancient time, Bali (a man as a gift presented to god for appeasement) presented to goddess Barahi every year, which became a tradition among people in that part of the world. Every year a man was gifted to Maa Barahi from a group of people called Kham. One year, an old woman's turn came, but she was helpless because she had only one grandson and she was reluctantly sacrificed him to goddess.

Goddess Barahi granted to leave her grandson but gave an option of gifting blood equal to the blood present in the body of an average man. The Bagwal festival was originated from this exception day an since the time it is celebrated in particular place every year. Although it sounds an unusual story, but people of Uttarakhand have deep faith in the legend and goddess Barahi.

How to Reach:

Devidhura is 45 km from Lohaghat.

Nearest Railway Station is Kathgodam.

From Delhi : There are trains available from Delhi to Kathgodam and from Kathgodam to Devidhura its approx 100 km. One can easily take taxi or bus from there.