With the advent of Baishakhi in India, the Twin villages of Saloor and Dungra celebrate a festival, Ramman, in honor of the lord of Lands, Bhumiyal Dev. This event is unique to this village and is not celebrated anywhere else in the world. It is also one of the most diverse festivals celebrate. Each and every caste has a role to perform here which they perform with full enthusiasm and cooperation. The festival is a ritual theatre where people from different part of society come and show their tradition and rituals.
The main deity of this festival, Bhumiya devta, is taken out of the temple on the day of the celebration, which is decided by the Brahmins of the temple. A large procession takes place with drums and masked dancers performing their dance. Once the festival ends, one lucky villager the opportunity to serve the god and keep him in his house until next years Baisakhi.
The festival starts by calling Lord Ganesha, the god for removing obstacles. Then the people from different castes perform and present the glimpse of their lives. This is followed by enactment and dance performance for various gods like Sun, Krishna-Radha. However, as the name suggests, the Ramman is derived from Ramayana and hence there is a special act of Ramayana. This act shows different phases of Lord Rama life, from birth to his return from exile in special song with a total of 324 beats and steps. There are also other dances and episodes like the Maal Nritya, Koorjogi and Narsingh Pattar Nritya that follow the Ramkatha.
As already mentioned above, the roles of all the castes is already well defined and they do this with a full heart. The Brahmins do the puja, the Rajputs tell stories, Das are the drum beaters, Panchs decide which house will be keeping the Deity in their house until next Baishakhi. The selected family has to perform and keep strict daily routine till they hold the God in their house.
As great as it sounds, the problems surrounding it are numerous. With increasing inflation and other problems around, the cost of hosting this festival has gone up considerably. But, this has been smartly tackled by these people till now. So, if next time you are in Uttrakhand during Vaishaki, do visit this festival and enjoy what it holds and the unique performances, that you might not see on your Television sets.