Uttarakhand Jaatras (Processions): Nanda-Devi Raaj Jaat (नंदा देवी राज जात)

Jaat refers to procession; so whenever we talk of a jaat, it means huge gathering.

The legend of  Nanda Devi Raaj Jaat is an important event from the sprituo-cultural point of view as the shrines of Nanda Devi are scattered all over the Central Himalayas.

The devi is considered as the Isht-Devi (family goddess) by the hill folk. The royal family of Garhwal conducts the Nanda Raaj Jaat to please the Isht-Devi, in order to seek blessings for a prosperous kingdom and the defeat of their enemies. Her relationship with the people is just the same as that of Sita with Mithila, similarly Gaura is known to be the daughter of Uttarakhand.

Daughter of the king of mountains, Himavat; Gaura was married to the ash-smeared, leapord skin wearing yogi. It is popularly believed that according to the Indian calendar, during the Krishna Paksha of Bhado (2nd week of August) the Devi visits her mother’s place every twelve years.  This event is celebrated with the performance of special rituals and prayers on Nanda Ashtami in numerous Nanda Devi temples spread all over the Garhwal and Kumaon regions.

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