MELA CHHAPAR

MELA CHHAPAR

The Chhapaar Mela is celebrated in the village of Chhapaar in the district of Ludhiana every September. A village fair that originated, as a small gathering of locals to worship snake embodiment of Guga 150 years ago has emerged as a mega festival in the past three decades. This weeklong fair is organised on Anand Chaudas, the 14th day of the bright half of Bhadon in honour of Gugga Pir in Chhapar village of Dehlon block of Ludhiana district. An impressive shrine, Gugge di Marhi, was built in memory of the Pir in 1890. Gugga Pir was a Chauhan Rajput and folklore has it that he descended into the bosom of Mother Earth along with his steed, and never returned. He is said to possess special powers over all kinds of snakes.

On the day the fair begins, villagers scoop out earth seven times, invoking Gugga Pir to protect them against snakes. This shrine is believed to cure people of snakebites.

The legend narrates a story of a boy and a snake born together in an agricultural family of Chhapar village. The serpent and the boy were so intimate that if one suffered a pain the other used to cry.

One day the mother of the child went to the fields after laying him on a cot. To save him from the scorching sun, the snake stretched its hood over him. Mistaking that the snake is going to bite the child, a passerby killed it with a stick. The child also died immediately after the death of the snake that left the family in sorrow. The family was advised by the elders to perform religious ceremonies to worship Guga and Sidh and a he-goat was left free to mark the place of worship by striking at a particular place.

The place was recognised as Mari Guga where people from all walks of life have been worshipping Guga on the fourth day of the month of Bhadas every year. The farmers of the Malwa belt recognise the fair to the extent that they change the agricultural chores according to the dates of the mela. People also narrate another story regarding the second fair known as “Minor Mela Chhapar.” On the onset of the 20 century, the then Maharaja was said to have banned the mela on a complaint by some farmers. But soon after the ruler banned the event, his horses started dying mysteriously and the misfortune stopped only after the ruler announced to organise the minor mela following the major one.

According to another story, a faqir once anchored a twig after cleaning his teeth. A local person uprooted the twig in a fun. The faqir then cursed the people of the local area that the place would witness a heavy camp here, which would be followed by a deserted look.
Though originally the fair had started as a small congregation of the devotees of Guga, it has now transformed into a big festival.