Makar Sankranti Mela: Bihar’s fair of food and kites

Bihar is home to various celebrations, and fairs are one of the major attractions. Let’s get on board with Patnabeats’ journey of exploring ‘Fairs of Bihar’ and to start with, what could be better than our long-lived ‘Makar Sankranti Mela’. Held in the hearts of Rajgir, this is a two-day fair of fun, food and kite flying traditions.

Makar Sankranti falls in January and marks the beginning of the sun’s journey to the Northern Hemisphere (Makara raasi), which stands for the commencement of Uttarayana Punyakalam. It is a day of celebration all over the country. In Bihar’s local language, Makar Sankranti is also called Sakraat or Khichdi. This day starts with people taking holy dips in the waters and worshipping the Sun. This spring period of Sankranti is traditionally considered a fortunate time and it is believed that those who die during this period have no rebirth. This is also a harvest festival.

Long ago, many competitions like horse-race, elephant-race were held at this fair. Due to erosion, encroachment and increasing population of Son river, now the fair has remained confined to a few engagements only. But still, people gather here. Another site associated with this is the Mandar Hills of Banka district. It is believed that once a great Asura tried to threaten the gods. The Lord Vishnu cut off the Asura’s head and piled up the body under the weight of the Mandar hill. The famous panchjanya – the conch shell used in the Mahabharat war is believed to have been found here in the hills.

A proper festive feast is also prepared in these fairs including the seasonal delicacies for the celebration. The feast also includes Chura, Gur(jaggery), sweets made of til (Sesame seeds) such as Tilkut, Maska and Tilwa etc. Kite flying competitions are also organised on a small scale. This fair incites the enthusiasm of people to get together and spend some quality time with their families and friends.

If you are in Bihar or ever get to visit Bihar, now you know where to go in January. Patnabeats shall continue to bring more such stories from the heart of Bihar and you should keep sharing them. Kyunki share karne se hi to pyar badhta hai 😉

Malda Aam

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