Teej Mela-Celebrating rains and greenery.

A couple of days back, on my way back, I was struck in a traffic jam. It was quite taxing and I was constantly cursing myself for taking that route.

But what I saw across the road blew my mind away. It was a huge ground buzzing with loud folk music and dazzling with bright colorful lights. I already was feeling so much better but till then I didn’t know that I was in for a treat. I don’t quite like the idea of gate crashing but it didn’t look like a wedding or some party to me. So I decided to take a U turn as and when the traffic starts moving and find out for myself. As destiny would have it, in 10 minutes from then, I found myself parked right outside that very ground. And woahh it was a Teej Mela !!!!!!


The word “ Mela” is common in many Indian languages such as Hindi, urdu, Punjabi etc. It is derived from the word “ Mel” which literally means “ coming together”. It is thus a form of social gathering. Melas have been an integral part of Indian culture for a very long time. In rural traditions melas or village fairs were of great importance to facilitate trade. Till date melas are a “ in” thing and of great recreational value. They are specially sought after for the variety of food vendors, hand crafted goods of different states, puppet shows, folk and cultural programs, rides , mehndi body art etc.

There are  melas in all parts of India from time to time on several occasions. Indians just need an excuse to celebrate and have fun. And given the varied and rich culture of India, there is no dearth of such occasions. So this one that I bumped into the other day was a Teej Mela.

Teej is a popular festival in India celebrated by the Hindus in the month of Shravan (as per Hindu Calendar).It is celebrated most enthusiastically in North India and signifies the arrival of monsoons after a long spell of summer season. The water starved drying plants become lush green which is a very soothing sight. Therefore it is also called “ Haryali Teej” and the word “ Haryali” means “ green “ or “greenery”. Teej also has a mythological and religious connotation. It is believed that this day marked the reunion of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Thus, on this day, married women primarily in North India pray for the well being of their husbands. Fasting, colorful new costumes, religious rituals, song and dance, swings and mehndi ( famous form of Indian body art) are all salient features of the Teej festival in India.

So this mela was a happening place and my mood instantly changed from gloomy to upbeat. It was full of life. Though, in today’s times the corporates in the city define the lifestyle of the people, which is very metropolitan, but on and off festivals and fairs like these are still a major cultural glue for people in the cities. There was so much happening there that I couldn’t stop sighing. There were folk and cultural performances, there were interesting handicrafts for exhibition and sale, there were just too many options of Indian street food to binge upon, there were rides , there were bangle sellers and women were too busy getting mehndi/henna done.

My fun doubled when I bumped into few of my old friends there and then like you can imagine, there was no stopping us ! We were a bunch of fancy free footloose people gallivanting and painting the town red. And if that wasn’t enough, it started to rain and we had an impromptu rain dance session. It is also considered auspicious if it rains on the Teej Day. We just felt blessed and rejuvenated. But like they say, all good things come to an end. I had my cindrella moment when I accidentally looked at the time and gathered it was already too late. I hastily bid farewell to my fellow mates and rushed to get back home lest my folks give my name in missing. Yes, when you are having so much fun, you usually forget to call your folks and inform them where you are !! I am sure, its just not me. Sighhhhh !!!!

PS : Since Mela is also a flea market of sorts, some of the tips that I shared regarding grocery shopping in one of my earlier blogs, do apply here as well. Carry Cash and lots of change, preferably your own carry bag, bargain hard and most importantly, Have Fun !!!!

Teej Mela pictures

Author: Richa Arora

Comments

  1. Thanks for using the time and effort to write something so interesting.

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