Friday, November 11, 2011

Kangdali Festival- Dharchula- 2011

Kangdali Festival is a festival held by the rung tribe of the Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand state in India. This festival coincides with the blooming of the Kandali plant, which flowers once every twelve years. It is held in the Chaudas Valley between August and October. It celebrates the defeat of Zorawar Singh's army, which attacked this area from Ladakh in 1841. There also goes a regional Folklore related to this festival

The Ritual
The women go out in procession in their traditional attire to destroy the Kangdali plants, where the soldiers were hidden. The demoralised army returned along the Kali River, looting the villages on the way. The women resisted them and this is re-enacted to this day. Another version, comes a folklore, which tells of a boy who died upon applying the paste of the root from a shrub known as Kang-Dali on his wound. Enraged, his mother cursed the shrub and ordered the Shauka women to pull up the root of the Kang-Dali plant off its ground upon reaching its full bloom, which happens once in twelve years.
Since then, a victory dance is performed every twelve years upon the decimation this shrub in its blooming period. The women with lead the procession, each armed with a ril, a tool which was used in compacting carpet on the loom. The children and men armed with swords and shields would follow closely behind. As they sing and dance, their music echoes in the valley, and upon approaching the blooms, warlike tunes are played and war cries are uttered. The women, fierce as they were, attacked the bushes with their rils. The menfolk will follow up and the bushes are hacked with swords, who will uproot the bushes and take them back, as the spoils of the war. In turn, victory cries are raised and rice grains are again cast towards the sky to honour the deities with the prayer that the people of Chaundas Valley may be ever victorious over enemies. After the victory dance and the extermination of the shrub, the festival is concluded with a feast. Kandali last bloomed in October 1999 and next festival will be held in October 2011.

The Invitatoin which was a great help in the planning the trip

Rung villagers on the way for Kangdali

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