Mela Patt

Mela Patt is three day festival that is devoted to Lord Vasuki Naag, the presiding deity of Bhaderwah valley, celebrated on Nag Panchmi every year.

Raja Nagpal first initiated this Mela in 16th century as the ruler of, the then small principality of Bhaderkashi. It is now known as Bhaderwah. Every year the Mela Patt is organized here after the end of the ‘Kalash Yatra’ and people of all castes, colours and creeds participate and witness the occasion.

The fair goes on for three days every year. People belonging to all castes including Hindus and Muslims celebrate the three-day fair with much festivity and joy. From far and near, rich and poor, young and old, kith and kin and friend and foes come to take part in the celebrations. The fair starts 4 am and ends at sunset. Amidst the beatings of drums and blowing of horns, complimented by the harmonious notes of the flute, an energetic person carries the `Patt' (see pictue) or the silk on his head from the house of Raj Guru or the Royal Priest in a procession led by musicians to the dancing compound.

According to Vasuki Puran, Raja Nagpal would not bow before anyone except his Lord Vasuki Naag. The Mughal emperor Akbar summoned Raja Nagpal to Delhi. Since it was mandatory for all small rulers to bow before the emperor, Raja Nagpal was also required to bow before the king, something he refused to do, because for him Vasuki Naag was his only master. So Nagpal entered the Darbar hall and took his seat without bowing to the emperor. This act on the part of Nagpal offended Emperor Akbar. His courtiers suggested stern action against the Raja.

But before Akbar could take any drastic action against the Raja, his ministers tactfully sought Nagpal’s appearance at the Darbar the next day before the Emperor. Raja had a restless night and he saw Nag Vasuki in a dream and got his blessings to attend Akbar’s court the next day.

Akbar’s ministers decided that Raja would enter the hall through a small window, compelling him to bow automatically. Next day, instead of bowing his head, his legs projected from the window. This enraged Akbar and he asked him for proving his spirituality before any action could be taken against him.

In a state of dismay, Raja Nagpal concentrated his mind on Vasuki Naag, mediated and prayed for the solution to his problem. His prayer was granted and to the surprise of everyone, from the colourful turban of Nagpal came out a big serpent with many heads.

The emperor’s wrath was cooled down and he asked Raja Nagpal to pardon his ignorance. The serpent disappeared and Akbar exempted him from offering annual obeisance. Akbar was impressed by the spiritual powers of Raja and accorded him his due place. He was awarded much wealth from the emperor. Akbar offered Nagpal a golden Kalash along with precious stones and costly velvet robes embroidered with gold and silver as a token of his devotion to Vasuki Naag. Raja Nagpal departed with full honour and royal forces were sent along to ensure his safe arrival at his home in Bhaderwah. Thus, the friendship between Nagpal and Akbar was formed.

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