Local Culture & Festivals

History: Jaunpur is part of the Tehri Garhwal region in Uttarakhand. Jaunpuris have a long and old tradition of food, clothes, language and culture. The Jaunpuris are known to welcome guests and treat them really well. They are known to have small and big festivals throughout the year. The Jaunpuris are famous for their local dances (raansu, tandi).

The famous Shiva Temple

The famous Shiva Temple at Devalsari, is said to have been built in the 1600's, is surround by tall deodar trees. Six hundred years ago, the area had no deodar forests but was used to grow Jowari. The land belonged to Pujaldi, Bangseel, Kinsu and Theek villages. At one time, the legend goes, the chowkidar met a sadhu. The sadhu said "I need place to build a kutiya (small hut) and I need to make it today." The month was September and Jowari was ripening in the fields. The chowkidar dealt harshly with the sadhu and turned down the request. The sadhu got angry and said that by tomorrow I will convert your Jowari to Devari (Deodar) and left. The next morning when the chowkidar came to the land, the entire land had changed. The Jowari had changed from Jowari to Devari. A shivling, some idols and an oak tree had suddenly appeared in the middle of the land. When people found this, and the people in those days were religious and wanted to make a temple there. However the temple never got built. One of the village folks had a dream in which the sadhu said "I am Lord Shiva and this place's name will be Devalsari. Till the time I am here, Deodar will always be there and conserved. At the right time a temple will be built here. The temple will be built in the name of Koneshwar Mahadeo." Two hundred years later, Lord Shiva appeared in another dream.

Village Kinsu's cow used to put its milk at the shivling. People used to wonder where the milk is going in the morning and evening. The cow's owner hit the cow and it ran away to the Mandir. The man took his axe and hit the shivling and broke it. The axe bounced back and hit his head and got fixed there. The man walked back with the axe in his head and on removing the axe from his head at night, he died on the spot.

People felt Lord Shiva was angry and decided to make a Mandir. Lord Shiva again appeared in another dream. Lord Shiva said that temple will be built as well as my doli. The doli will go to all villages other than village Kinsu. If it goes to Kinsu, then the village will face destruction. Nature's wrath will befall the village.

Hence a temple was built here. The miracle-Baikal ki jhadi: grows locally. Normally a bush, but here it grew into a tree with 60 wood pieces. These pieces were used to make the important parts of the temples including the entrance, and the location where the idol was placed. The rest of the temple used deodar in its construction. The yellow tilak used in the Mandir is from deodar's flowers.

The temple's other woodwork, which had rotted was refurbished in 2014.

One year the festival (Kaalratri festival held in September, attended by 12-15000 people every year) is held at Bangseel and the other year at Devalsari. Food for the festival for Devalsari is managed by Pujaldi gaon and at Bangseel by the same village folks.

In Jaunpur, most temples are Nag Devta, but Devalsari has the temple of Lord Shiva.

Local festivals

Old Deepawali: When Lord Ram came to Ayodhya, Diwali is celebrated. It is said that in the hills of Uttarakhand, the news of Lord Ram's arrival was delayed by a month. So Old Deepawali is celebrated exactly one month after Bagwali (Diwali). For 3 days and nights, the Old Deepawali festival is celebrated with dance and music. During Old Deepawali, bundles of Deodar deadwood (Bhailu) are attached to chains and lit and swung around by all the villagers and youth together making for a magnificent sight during the nights and during the day.

Baisakhi: Baisakhi is celebrated from on 14 April. For a whole month from 15 March to 15 April, every morning, the youngest member of every family offers flowers at the village temple. The flowers offered are native to the area, and the offering of flowers is also used to spread the message of nature conservation.

Shiva Festival: This festival is celebrated in September every alternate year at Devalsari and Bangsil temples. Nine days of prayers take place. Daily, prayers are offered four times during the day accompanied by local instruments such as the dhol (drum), shank (sea shell) and ghanti (bell). On the eighth night, festivities continue the whole night along with food, music, dance and plays on the Pandavas. During the Shiva festival, the palki goes to four different villages-Pujaldi, Bangseel, Theek and Tewa.

Dubadi festival: Local women tie rakhi to corn plants in order to wish their brothers a long life. This festival is also associated with nature conservation and protection of local crops and associated biodiversity.

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