Bhalessa Intangible heritage : A Source of amity
Bhalessa is a land where a mosiac cultural heritage is perpetual. Putting aside the barriers the two communities continue to live here and celebrate the divetsity of this trinquil land. The various fairs and festivals are held here which represent the intangible culture of the area.
Folk Fairs and Festivals
Bhalessa is a land where a mosiac cultural heritage is perpetual. Putting aside the barriers the two communities continue to live here and celebrate the divetsity of this trinquil land. The various fairs and festivals are held here which represent the intangible culture of the area :
Eid ul Fitar and Eid ul Azha:
These are a very popular Muslim festivals and this witness the dawn of merriment and joy across the area, annually the Eid ul Fitar is celebrated in Bhalessa (doda) with religious favor. The Eid is celebrated as per the celebrations in other parts of the country and the sub continent. The holy month of Ramadan is practiced by the Muslim Ummah. There is a huge collection of the contributions like Zakat and Sadqa during the month besides the Taraveeh Namaz being offered in all the mosques of the area. The main functions aaree held at Markazi Jamia Masjid Changa Bhalessa, Jamia Masjid Bharti, Gandoh, Akhraie, Kaakoti Gingota, Jaamia Masjid Gandoh, Jakyas, Kahara, Jitota aand many other parts of the area. Another Eid Popularly known as Bari Eid is celeberateed and sacrifices of aanimaals is done by thee umah. Alms are given to the needy on this auspicious occasion. The main functions aaree held at Markazi Jamia Masjid Changa Bhalessa, Jamia Masjid Bharti, Gandoh, Akhraie, Kaakoti Gingota, Jaamia Masjid Gandoh, Jakyas, Kahara, Jitota aand many other parts of the area. Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Azha are the two most prominent Muslim festivals that are celebrated in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. To experience the ultimate Muslim festivities of Eid you have to visit the Kashmir Valley where the majority population is of Muslims. Jammu also celebrates Eid with zeal but Kashmiri Eid is something else. Eid-ul-Fitr is celebrated after a month long fasting of Ramadan or Ramzan. On the day of Eid Muslims offer a six time namaz prayer instead of a five time namaz prayer. It is the most important day of the year for Muslims and they celebrate this day by feasting, exchanging gifts and wearing new clothes. Eid-ul-Azha is the Bakr Eid which celebrates the concept of kurbani that is sacrifice. A goat is sacrificed in every Muslim household on this day. In some places camel and sheep are also sacrificed.
Weekly Islamic Gatherings:
The weekly Islamic gatherings are held on the eve of Friday Prayer at Jamia Masjids locates in the area. On this occasion the Bayan is delivered by the Maulanas, and other Islamic scholars of the area (Ulema) about in line with the Quran and Hadith.
Eid ul Milad un Nabi SAW :
The ceremonies are held in the entire Bhalessa about the Seerat, life and teachings of the Prophet Muhaammed PBUH. The seerat ul nabi conferences are held since ages.
Annual and Weekly Islamic Ijtimaa’s:
The annual Ijtima’s are held in the mosques and localities of Bhalessa regarding the Islamic, Quranic teachings.
There are hundreds of thee Maktabs almost in every hamlet now and the teachings are spread among the people regarding Quran, Hadith and other fundamental principles of Islam. In most of these Maktabs, the daily ceremonies are held in the mosques and localities.
Annual Madersa Functions and ceremonies are arranged in which the ulema of the state/country reach Bhalessa especially from the Dar ul Uloom Deoband, and other places as a special guests. In Bhalessa there is a growth of Madersa education besides being the conventional teaching as an integral part of the curriculum.
Urs Mubarak :
On the eve of the Urs of different preachers of islam the Dua-Majlis is held. The Urs of the Shah Gayas ud Din is held and dua majlis is held by the people. There is a Maqbara (Mazar) of Shah Gayas ud Din (RA) located adjacent to the Jamia Masjid Changa. It is believed that Gayas ud Din (Gaya Sahib) is buried there. Since some schools of thought has rejected this claim. The fact that the entire area of Changa Soti and other areas of Bhalessa were engulfed under the deadly flood of the 1988 which eroded all the agriculture land. The fact that Bhalessa was visited by the saints like Gul Shah, Peer Mahi ud din, and many others since time immemorial. There is a Madersa behind the Jamia Masjid Changa named after Shah Asrar ud Din (RA) of Baghdad whose Maqbaraa is located near Chowgan kishtwar.
Majalis-I-Ulema and Anjuman I Islamia Islamic Court: The Majlis of Ulema is held annually at these places which are addressed by the ulema of the different parts of the country and Kashmir too. The majalis is attended by the large number of the masses and the thrust is on the Islahi Muashra, and other fundamental principles of Islam. There are other organizations at work like Anjuman I Islamia a confederation of all the schools of thought enganged in several public issues besides the construction committees meant for Eidgah and other construction purpose.
A habitation to habitation Jamaat of Tabhligh (Society of the preachers) is visited to impart the teaching of the Islam, and make the people familiar of the six fundamentals of Islam. This transnational sunni Islamic movement (Tabhlegi Jamaat) is prevalent in Bhalessa and is exhorting the fellow Muslims to return to the practicing their religions as per the teaching of Prophet PBUH. Other schools of thought are also prevalent. The Majlis is held in every locality and people are invited to the Namaz and other fundamentals pillars of Islam.
Natiya Majlis is frequently held in different mosques, madersas, Maktabs and is participated by the large number of the people especially children. The recitation of the Naat is done by the students and is rewarded for the best recitation. Such practice is held at Madersa Jamia Gunyat ul Uloom Jakyas Bhalessa, Asrar ul uloon Neeli and other madersas.
The Shab I Qadar (The Night of Pardon) is held at every household and mosques, the Markazi places of Bhalessa and the Prayers are held overnight. Muslims believe that the Night of Qadr comes with blessings and mercy of God in abundance, sins are forgiven, supplications are accepted, also known as Laylat al-Qadr, commemorates the day that the verses of the Quran were first revealed to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
The shab I Barat is celebrated in all the parts of Bhalessa annually. It is held in almost all the Mosques of Bhalessa. Shab-e-Barat is considered a major event in the Islamic calendar, where Muslims collectively worship and ask for forgiveness of their wrongdoings. It is believed to reward them with fortune for the whole year and cleanse them of their sins.
Urs of Hazrat Ghulam Rasool Owesi :
The Urs is Bhalessa's typical Muslim Festival. Urs are held on death anniversaries of Muslim saints and generally celebrated in shrine. Some popular Urs festivals celebrated in the region include Urs of Ghulam Rasool Owesi sb etc. These Urs are very popular and celebrated with great enthusiasm despite of the rough weather in the region. It is celebrated in many places in Village Dharevery Bhalessa.
Religious shrines in Bhalessa :
There are several shrines like the shrine of the Hazrat Gaayas ud Din (RA) located in the Change adjacent to the Jamia Masjid Changa. It is believed that grave of Hazrat Gaayas ud Din (RA) is located there. It is maintained by a local committee. Other shrines are also located in Bhatyas and Dhraveri (Maqbara) of Sheikh I Tareeqat Haazrat Ghulam Qadir Ganipuri RA and Hazrat Ghulam Rasool Owesi RA.
Mosques and Madersa’s in Bhalessa:
It is a splendid mosque (Markazi Jamia Masjid ) located in Changa Block and covers the entire villages. The block has several Mosques at village level. It had marvelous sample of ancient art construction. People from far and near come to see It. Greatest gatherings of Muslims can be seen In this mosque on Fridays. It represents the tangible heritage of Bhalessa. The mosque is ancient one but has been constructed in a new architectural way and is designed on a new way. The old structure was dismantled. The efforts of the several eminent personalities like Late Ghulam Hussaain Bhall, Ghulaam Hussain Wani (Imam Saahib), Alhaj Ghulam Mohammed Malik sb and the construction committee need a special mention here. Jamia Masjid which was ancient origin was built and the efforts of the then Carpenter Mohammed Maqbool Malik need a special mention. The Jamia Masjid is a beautiful Mosque In Bhalessa. It is a good combination of artitecture and artwork.
The festival of Jatra or Kod is having a great significance in all the three tehsils of Gandoh, Chilli Pingal and Kahara. The Jatra festival are having great significance in Bhalessa.
Kod is the folk festival of Bhalessa celebrated in all parts of Bhalessa and adds colours to the mosaic culture and intangible heritage of Bhalessa. The Jatra is celebrated in the month of september.
The festival is celebrated for four days in Jitota Hindu area with great show , in which village chonwari , Drai Bheja, Ludoo, Kansar, Kharangal and Kandolo arrange food free of cost to the visitors and relatives. According to Tara singh Bhall a prominent social activist the Kud Dance (Dhaku Dance) is mainly performed during night around a bonfire to please their Beer Devta in Bhalessa. So this Dhaku Dance is performed as gratitude towards the Kul Devta for protecting and taking Kul Devta for protecting and taking care of their crops , cattle and other near and dear family members from all sort of natural calamities people of all ages takes parts in this Mela with great enthusiasm. Jattras Melas are organized by the Hindu Community only and Kud dance is performing all the night round. The speed of dancer changes according to speed of music challa shakti singh by naked fleet divides the fire charcoal into two parts which is a big achievement for visitors. It is interesting to mention here that during turmoil the Bheja kud of Jattras was not stopped dance used to perform regularly
In the wee hours. kud is still performed at Bheja Bhalessa under the Leadership of Shakti Singh chulla of Chonwari village.
The famous Kud Dancers are Bhuri Singh, Prem Singh , Naseeb Singh
Mahashwar Singh , Behari Lal, Bagmal , Pawan Kumar kapul Dev, Milak Ram, Pardeep kumar , Boj Ram , Kalyam Singh. Kud is also celeberated in all other villages in Bhalessa with great pump and show.
In the town of Bhalessa and its hilly roads, there are number of holy places and memorials. The devotees start their pilgrimage to these deities and perform Kud.
Dhakku is religious in inspiration and characteristically devotional in nature. The dance Dhakku is performed by large number of menin the form of dance. Despite of the fact that large numbers of people participate in the dance, a complete synchronization in the hands and feet is seen with elaborate, rythmatic movements and planed steps, backward and forward. Dance is performed in three stages depending upon completion of a particular ‘ TAAL '. First stage is smooth and consistent in movement, which is called ‘DHAKKU'. The second stage called ‘DHORU DHAKKU' where in the movement gets accelerated and in the final stage called ‘LAASTI', climax of the dance is reached and spectators gets into ecstasy. Instruments used; In the course of dance are Dhols, Flute, Bells and historical important instrument ‘NARSINGHS'.
DHAKKU is performed on a special occasion on kud slightly different from other areas of the region which signifies the annual religious festival of the people, somehow similar to the ‘MEL' gathering of other places in JAMMU. Kud is celebrated once but on different dates at different places. There is a central camp fire in the night, around which the DHAKKU is performed. Both cultural assests: DHAKKU and KOOD find its religious importance in vast areas from Lahul-Spiti, Pangi of Himachal Pardesh to Duddu, BasantGarh and Ramnagar area of Udhampur including Bhaderwah, Doda, Kelar, Padar and other.
Kanthi Dhar Mela :
The Kanthi Dhar Mels is the most popular celebrated in Bhalessa Doda which has began in 2004 by the Key People including President Ishar Lal, Vice President Dewan Chand, Member Prem Lal, Late Patwari Jagdish Raj, and Incharge of the Mela Retd. Inspector Khem. Locals believe that once upon a time about 200 years ago the Village of Gurekrah (Bhalessa) was destroyed many time due to snow avalanche. The people of the area were in trouble due to this uncontrollable problem. Once the avalanche came and a little girl (Kanya) was seen by the villagers. After that people of the area approached to the two famous devotees of goddess (Chellas) namely Waziroo from Katoti (Bhalessa) and Harillu of Kanser (Bhaderwah). They suggested the villagers for installing a temple of Chandi Mata at Kanthidhar Top in order to avoid further damage in the village. People of all religious community accepted the suggestion of Challas and installed a TRISHUL at there. After installing a Trishul at there, no further damage occurred in the village. Kanthi dhar Mela is a mark which symbolizes the communal harmony of the area that every community takes part in it.The Scenery of the place is so beautiful that every vicinity view from there looks like rose petals. Mountains of Kishtwar and Himachal Pradesh boundaries are clearly seen from there.
The cooperation and assistance by the local administration and security forces for the interest of Mela and Public isremarkable. Mela is providing a source of income to the locals. But unfortunately tourism department has ignored such area which is very pleasant in attracting for attracting the tourists. If tourism department shows interest in developing the area, the act will prove wealthy both for tourists as well as locals for earning. The dilapidated kaccha footpath from village Gurekrah to Kanthidhar shrine is about 5Km that must be concreted to avoid accident in rainy days.”
Rang Mela :
The fair " Rang "to be celebrated in Bhalessa annually. The mela Rang has been going on since ancient times to commemorate its total deity by the people of Sanatana Dharma. Rang is mostlycelebrated in Chilli and dhossa in Bhalessa. In rang folk dance is presented in front of everyone inside this fair, its costumes give a new color to the culture of this place, hence this fair has been given the name of "Rang." that means colour. The features of this fair is that as much as snowfall occurs, the people of the district reach these mountains from far away to see this fair and its culture.
Bheja Mela :
Bheja Mela is organised at Jitota with zest and Mela is marked with running over the fire. It is a traditional mela organised by the locals which is popular in almost all over the state.
Beer Choo Waterfall Devta (Bheja Mela of Beerdevsthan) is the Biggest Night mela of Dist.Doda held at Bheja is of cultural importance besides its lush green and tourism potential. The Waterfall is most popular as far as the tourism is concerned. The location is of religious importance as the waterfall is named after the Bir Devta. The annual festival is held in summers in which people from all the districts of the state participate and enjoy it besides doing Bir Devta Puja at this place.
Mehal Nag puja is another festival which is annually held at different places of Bhalessa.
There are several temples in the vernacular style in Bhalessa area, some of them are at Bheja and Gandoh. The main temple Kalgoni is located at an idyllic location on the top of a ridge, providing a magnificent panoramic view on all sides, yet most of the Naga temples (some references call it Kali Mata temple) like in Bhaderwah and other areas of Jammu. These are found surrounded with thick deodar trees, away from the habitation. Named after the major stream of Bhalessa “Kalgoni’ which straches from “Kansozoo” and merge into the chenab after. The Kalgoni Temple remained all along a source of Hindu Muslim unity. For surrounding of this temple is virtually bald. In front of the temple, at a distance is a raised plateform (Chabutra). On it, stylished iron tridents and other votive objects are piled. The temple is placed on the raised square plinth. The roughly wrought square wooden pillers support the steeply pyramidal structure of the roof, which is covered with the corrugated iron sheets topped by a chiseled wooden pinnacle..
The temple at Kalgoni in Bhalessa has undergone considerable renovation by the management of Sanathan Dharam Sabha in the few years that make it look a bit outlandish and stand apart from its genre in general appearance, but in essence, it hardly differs from them.The sanctum occupies the central area, leaving about a metre wide open passage all around for circumambulation. It is enclosed by the wooden four walls.
The Kaali Mata temple in Kalgoni is surrounded by Mosques, Shrine of HazratGayasUd Din (RA), ancient Hindu place like Durga Mata Cave in Khaljugasar, and Mehlwaar, are really a great mortars for cementing this age old tradition of living with peace and botherhood.A fair is held at Kalgoni Temple in the month of Bishakhi where the local Muslims and Hindus celebrate the same as a common venture. Holy places could be promoted to conduct the tourists to historical places like Naga Temple of Kalgoni as well as in other village temples.
The Jamia Masjid Changa and Kalgoni temple are historical one, the ties between two communities has had maintained owing to such monumental holy places of Hindus and Muslims. Kalgoni Temple is excuted by Sanathan Dharam Sabha Bhalessa. Here is an Aman Committee aims at creating peaceful environment in the terrain. The committee has played a key role during turmoil. Both the communities pledged to live and protect one another from nefarious designs.
Interestingly, for the last five years, things began limping back to a semblance of normality in Bhalessa. The people of both the communities sit share a common festivals in these holly places, there are secular hindu leaders, as well as secular muslim leaders who represent their own communities in line with the religious guidelines to protect the age old tradition and culture. On the eve of ID, Deepawali, Holi, Ramadan people are hosting function for each other.
Others Melas of great cultural importance are Kalgoni Mela,
Chawand Mata Mela at Jitota, Jatri Mela, Mehal Nag, Chowandi Mata of Kakoti, Mata of Khaljugasar, Kalgoni and Mata mandirmela's of Kalgoni, and other areas.These festivals are of rich cultural importance besides a tourism potential.
Gujjar Folk Dance:-
Gujjar and Bakerwals are nomads. Like the Guddies they come down to plain and barren areas of Punjab during winter. During summer they go deep in the mountainous valley of Bhalessa with their cattle. They carry out business of milk, cheese and ghee. On the occasion of marriage the Gujjars perform their folk dances.