Faith triumphed over fear as thousands of devotees attended the annual fair at the most revered shrine of Baba Chamliyal which is situated on the International Border in the Samba district of Jammu and Kashmir.
The shrine of Baba Dalip Singh Manhas, known as "Baba Chamliyal", is respected by people on both sides of the border. Popularly known as "Chamliyal Mela", the event is organized at the shrine every third Thursday of June.
The annual fair saw a huge rush of devotees on Thursday as it was being held after a gap of two years due to COVID.
According to a police official, nearly 50,000 devotees from different parts of Jammu and Kashmir and neighboring states have visited the shrine.
"The fair is held with traditional fervour and enthusiasm after a gap of two years," the BSF's Deputy Inspector General Surjit Singh Sekhon told reporters after offering a "Chadar" on behalf of the force at the shrine.
"Elaborate security and other arrangements have been put in place for the devotees who have been thronging the shrine since early this morning amid improved weather conditions," said Anuradha Gupta, the Deputy Commissioner of Samba said.
Significance of the holy Shrine
Situated on the IB, Baba Chamliyal Shrine is the most revered holy place in this region as devotees from both sides of the border participate in a special fair held every year on the fourth Thursday of June to keep the Indo-Pak bonhomie alive.
Every year, devotees from both sides converge at the border, near the shrine's sanctum sanctorum, to pay obeisance to Baba Dalip Singh Manhas, a saint popularly known as Baba Chamliyal. Baba Chamliyal, after whom the village is named, lived about 324 years ago and is revered by the people of all faiths because of his saintly qualities and spiritual powers.
Baba Chamliyal was beheaded by those who did not like his growing influence. They dropped his body at Saidanwali village in Pakistan, around 300 metres from the border, and the head on the other side, now famous as Chamliyal.
The legend has it that where his blood fell, the soil turned fertile and a well was dug at the site where his head was dropped. Later, his devotees built a tomb in his memory at the spot. Devotees from both sides of the international border believe that the soil and water from the shrine cure skin diseases.
This year no exchange of "Chadar" and Shakkar with Pakistan
Officials said there was no traditional exchange of "Chadar" and "Shakkar/Sharbat" between the two sides at the shrine due to tension.
Devotees from the Pakistan side of the border were gathered in large numbers at Saidawali village in Pakistan to mark the occasion.
Earlier in exchange for "Chaddar", Pakistani devotees are given "Shakkar" (soil) and "Sharbat" (water), which are believed to have the power to cure skin diseases. Before the Indo-Pak war in 1971, Pakistanis were allowed to visit this side of the border for the event.
#BabaChamliyalMela— Deputy Commissioner Samba (@dcsambaoffice) June 23, 2022
Devotees thronged in huge numbers at famous Chamliyal Mela at Baba Dalip Singh Ji Shrine near Zero line border of Ramgarh District #samba.
Prayers for peace and prosperity in the area offered and also reviewed the facilities for devotees. @diprjk pic.twitter.com/BDENffId7O