In a record of sorts for this Himachal Pradesh town, on Sunday over 2,000 musicians played the traditional ‘bajantri’ at the same point of time, an official said.
The performance by 2,023 players of ‘bajantri’ — the ‘shehnai’ like traditional folk instrument — during the weeklong festivities of Mahashivratri is set to enter the record books, Mandi Deputy Commissioner Sandeep Kadam told IANS.
The folk instrument players participated in the “Dev Dhawani” programme, a musical concert, at the Paddal ground here in the presence of Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and his cabinet colleagues.
Dressed in traditional Himachali attire, the ‘bajantri’ players accompany the hill deities during their sojourn to Mandi town every year during Mahashivratri. They lead the chariot and play folk instrument tunes.
Kadam said a total of 1,806 folk instrument players performed during the Mahashivratri festivities last year and entered the Limca Book of Records.
Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh lauded the efforts of the Mandi administration in conducting the mega musical event that saw instruments like kettledrums, ‘shehnai’, a woodwind instrument, and drums being played.
He said Mahashivratri here was particularly famous as the special fair, which transformed this town into a venue of grand celebrations when gods and goddesses from nearby villages and towns gathered, to celebrate it.
Mandi town, popularly known as ‘Chhoti Kashi’, sees a gathering of over 200 deities from hundreds of temples during the festivities of Mahashivratri every year.
The celebrations date back to 1526 when this town was founded during the rule of Ajbar Sen (1499-1534). He had ‘invited’ all the local deities to bless the founding of the new town.
The weeklong Shivratri fair began on Saturday. Nearly 200 deities are participating in the festivity that will conclude on March 2.
Mandi, located on the Chandigarh-Manali National Highway-21, is dotted with more than 80 temples built in typical hill architecture. The prominent temples are those of Bhutnath, Triloki Nath, Jagannath, Tarna Devi and Jalpa Devi.
Ever since the rule of princely states came to an end, the district administration has been following the practice and inviting deities to the Mahashivratri festivities here.
The administration also offers an honorarium to the “kardars” — the attendants of deities – and the instrument players for participating in the festival.