One of the most famous cultural festivals of Sikkim, Maghey Sankranti Mela is celebrated with extreme grandeur at the picturesque hamlet of Jorethang every year. Countless tourists from different corners of the globe gather at this festival to be part of its endless array of events which include various cultural programmes, food shows and sports competitions like archery, para-gliding, trekking, hot air-ballooning and river rafting. A grand exhibit showcasing handicrafts and artwork of the local Sikkimese artisans is also an important aspect of this Maghey Mela that aims at bringing the brilliant craft of these skilled workers at a global platform.
Not to explicitly mention, for those looking forward to an insight into unmatched cultural treasures of North East India, this festival is a must-attend.
History of the Festival
Maghey Mela has its history associated with an agricultural fair that was held at Jorethang in the year 1955 on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, an auspicious day which marks the beginning of the holy month of Magh in the Hindu lunar calendar. It is said that, seeing a number of devotees flocking here to take sacred dip in the waters of Teesta and Rangeet every year, the natives of the neighbouring towns like Kalimpong, Siliguri and Darjeeling in 1955 decided to organize a small fair where they could easily sell off their local produce and handicraft products at reasonable prices. What merely started off as a small scale festival approximately 50 years back, has today grown into an enormous tourist-centred attraction dotted with colourful events and programmes that can be aptly called a unique mix of age old cultures and modern day entertainment.
Duration of the Festival
The festival commences on January 14th every year and provides for a 3 day cultural extravaganza comprising of traditional folk-fare, authentic Sikkimese cuisine and a number of stalls spread across the ground selling the state’s beautiful handicraft and handloom products.
Highlights & Important Rituals of the Festival
Though the Maghey Festival is today mainly focussed on promoting tourism in the state, it still retains its old-world charm with thousands of devotees gathering at the confluence just to take a holy dip and perform religious rituals. This fair is undoubtedly, a great site for those interested in witnessing an unparalleled spectacle of Hindu customs and traditions, which by far is the heart and soul of India. Additionally, if you are a music lover, you are sure to be enthralled by some great performances by renowned singers and musicians who are often invited by the festival committee to entertain the audience.