By OUR STAFF REPORTER
MUSSOORIE, 27 Nov: The festival of Bagwal, also known as the traditional Diwali, was celebrated with fervour, here, at Banglo ki Kandi at Kempty and across the Garhwal region. People from Jaunpur, near Mussoorie, celebrate the festival, which falls a month after Diwali is celebrated across the nation. Villagers reached Banglo ki Kandi, Kandikhal and Kimoi villages situated about 4 kilometres from Mussoorie and joined the festivities by dancing around the bonfire, known as ‘dibsa’ and ‘bailu’, and exchanged greetings. Villager Naresh Nautiyal said Bagwal is celebrated a month after the Diwali festival. Warlord Madho Singh Bhandari, a legendary figure in the history of Garhwal, returned to his village from a battle a month after Diwali. Hence, to honour the legend, the festival of Bagwal is celebrated. Another legend about the festival is that it is held to commemorate the ‘samudra manthan’ carried out by the gods and demons, in which a snake was coiled around a mountain. The churning took place between the two warring factions. The festivities began with the pre-Bagwali celebrations, known as ‘Askya festival’. Special sweet delicacies prepared from ‘jhangora’ (local rice), pakoras made of ‘urad dal’ were served and villagers danced and sang. As part of the tradition, women threw walnuts from their houses and youths rushed to pick them up as it is considered auspicious. Villagers celebrated ‘baraaj’ and ‘bhaand’, a form of tug-of-war, in which a rope made of local grass was used. The festivities ended with ‘Pandava nritya’ and ‘mandaan’ carried out late at night in various villages around the region. The tradtional dance and song items are performed during the festivities.