Starting of Khantduva or Bhail-Bhailo festival by King Lakshmi Chandra

Starting of Khantduva or Bhail-Bhailo festival by King Lakshmi Chandra

(History of Kumaon from 1000-1790 AD)

(History of Chand Dynasty Rule in Kumaon)
History of Uttarakhand (Garhwal, Kumaon, Haridwar) – Part 177

By: Bhishma Kukreti

Mantra Accomplishment (Mantra Sadhana) by Lakshmi Chandra
Lakshaman Chandra /Lakhmi Chand or Lakshmi Chandra got Kumaoni /Champawat crown in 1597. Most probably Lakhmi Chandra attacked on Garhwal in 1597 just after his taking over the rule. There were seven attacks on Garhwal kingdom by Lakhmi Chandra or Lakshmi Chandra. It means his seventh attack on Garhwal was in 1602 as according to folklore, Man Shah the Garhwal king reached Champawat in 1602 AD. Lakshmi Chandra was humiliated by Man Shah.

Lakshmi Chandra or Lakshman Chandra started accomplishing Mantra Sadhana from 1602 to 1605.
It is said that the ‘Pinus’ carrier farmer said that if King would have have been religious he would have not seen so embarrassing position. The sarcastic remarks by Pinus carrier affected Lakshman Chandra. He called his court Guru and told him that he was becoming Sanyasi and ready to hand over kingdom to other. Guru told to the king Lakshmi Chandra to wait for one year. Guru brought black magic from a Guru of Bengal. The Mantra was given to Lakshmi Chandra.
In the mean time, Lakshman Chandra built three Shiva temples as Lakshmeshwar temples in Almora and Bageshwar. King Lakshmi Chandra donated land to temples of Bageshwar, Jageshwar, and other places.
Now, King Lakshmi Chandra was sure that he would win over Garhwal due to Mantra power. King Lakshmi Chandra made strategy to attack on Garhwal eighth time. He ordered to keep dry grass on hills of Kumaon from bordering region of Garhwal till Almora that as soon as he won Garhwal there should be fire on Grass on all hills. His idea was that as soon as he won the Garhwal kingdom the fire from one hill to other hill would inform his winning Garhwal.
It is most certain that when on Ashwin Sankranti , Lakshmi Chandra attacked on Garhwal and looted the bordering villages of Kumaon l the people burnt grass in each hill and this way information reached to Almora where grass were burnt too. From that day, people celebrate ‘Khantduva’ festival on Ashwin Sankranti day in evening by burning grass piles.
People in night dance with following folk song –
Bhail Bhailo ji , Bhailo Khantduva
Gaida ki jeet , khntad ki har
Gaida pado shyol, khantad pado bhel
Gaida Bisht was Kumaoni army commander who was migrated from Garhwal. Khantud Singh was a Garhwali Garhi army in charge. Gaida killed Khatad Singh. It was a very small win by Kumaoni king over Garhwal. However, the King magnified it as if he had won whole Garhwal.
It is still a discussion point that it was a Viajyoutsav (festival of win) for Kumaoni king and people and the name of festival is on the name of Garhwali commander. It might be that initially the name would be Gaida-Khantuduva but in later stage the name Gaida name was forgotten.
Today, Bhail Bhailo is also celebrated in Garhwal on after eleventh day of Deepawali. With changed words –
Bhail Bhailo ji , Bhailo Khantduva
Gai ki jeet , khntad ki har
Gai pado shyol, khantad pado bhel
The day was Ashwin Sankranti of 1605, when Lakshmi Chandra attacked Garhwal eighth time.

Copyright@ Bhishma Kukreti -bckukreti@gmail.com 31/10/2013


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(The History of Garhwal, Kumaon, Haridwar write up is aimed for general readers)

History of Garhwal – Kumaon-Haridwar (Uttarakhand, India) to be continued… Part -178
History of Kumaon (1000-1790) to be continued….
Middle Himalayan, Indian Medieval Age History of Chand Dynasty rule in Kumaon to be continued…
(Middle Himalayan, Indian Medieval Age History (740-1790 AD to be continued…)

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