Mela Patt of Bhadarwah

Kaushal Kotwal
Bhadarwah usually called Mini Switzerland has its own enriched culture. It is known for the natural beauty and rich cultural heritage. In ancient times, it was known as Bhaderkashi. A land of gods and godessess.
Mela Patt is a sacred famous festival of this place. After Kailash Kund Yatra, Mela Patt is celebrated in Bhaderwah with great enthusiasm at Khakhal Bhaderwah in front of Durga Mata Temple. In this sacred fair, which is celebrated for three days, people irrespective of caste and creed participate in huge numbers all over from Chenab Valley of the State and from other states. Even foreign tourists are also attracted to this mela. Mela Patt is an annual fair which is celebrated in the memory of memorable meeting of King Akbar with Raja Naag Pal, the then ruler of Bhadarwah. According to history, Raja Naag Pal first initiated this festival in 16th Century. As per Holy Vasuki Puran, Raja Naag Pal was the ruler of Bhadarwah and Akbar was the King of India. Akbar used to call the kings to his durbar in Delhi as a matter of routinue. Once on the call of Akbar, Raja Naag Pal also went to Delhi to attend the Royal Durbar. In the Durbar, many kings of other states of India were also present along with their durbaris. When durbar started all the kings after bowing to Akbar took their seats. Raja Naag Pal was as a matter of custom, expected to bow before the king Akbar which he did not. Because for him, Lord Vasuki Naag Ji was his only master so Raja Naag Pal entered the Durbar without bowing and took his seat. On seeing this King Akbar asked Raja Naag Pal the reason for not bowing before him. Raja Naag Pal replied that he only bows to Lord Shri Vasuki Naag Ji. On hearing this Akbar ordered his courtiers that next day Raja Naag Pal should enter the Royal Durbar Hall through a small window. But instead of main entrance. This would make Raja Naag Pal to bow automatically but next day Raja entered through window instead of bowing his head, his legs appeared from the window. This enraged King Akbar and he asked Raja Naag Pal to prove his spirituality before any action is taken against him.
On hearing this, Raja became worried and at his residence felt restless during night Raja Naag Pal meditated and remembered Lord Shri Vasuki Naag Ji. In the sleep Lord Vasuki came Raja’s dream and assured him not to worry, but asked Raja that before going to Royal Durbar next day, he should wear seven coloured turban and assured Raja Naag Pal for his respect.
Next day Raja entered the Royal Durbar wearing seven coloured turban. All the Rajas of other states and King Akbar were surprised and astonished to see seven headed serpent (Naag) emerging out of the coloured turban of Raja Naag Pal. All the raja’s and King Akbar stood up after seeing this unique happening. King Akbar bowed to Raja Naag Pal and Lord Shri Vasuki Naag Ji and begged for pardon for his act.
King Akbar was impressed by the spiritual powers of Raja Naag Pal and he rewarded him with precious stones, gold, silver, a golden Kalash, and costly velvet robes, embroider with gold and silver.
Raja Naag Pal was seen off with full honours and royal forces of King Akbar were deputed with the Raja for his safe arrival to Bhaderkashi now Bhadarwah.
The sacred fair starts at 04 A.M. and ends at sunset. The exhibition of these costly rubies, clothes, robes and royal Kalash are exhibited in the fair every year once in Bhadon month i.e. Rishi Panchmi and celebrations continue all along the Bhadarwah and adjoining areas.
The communal amity between major and minor communities is also an attraction in this mela as people irrespective of caste and creed, rich and poor join the celebrations. The devotes of Lord Shri Vasuki Naag Ji remember the spiritual powers of their deity.