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Chamliyal Mela

Thousands of devotees each year on either sides of the Indo-Pak International Border participate in the separate fairs at the Hindu shrine of Baba Dalip Singh Manhas, popularly known as ‘Baba Chamliyal’, about 42 kms from Jammu, in Ramgarh sector of district Samb.

A ‘sea of humanity’ with the hope of peace along borders throng the Indo-Pak border for the annual ‘Chamliyal Mela’ and collect the holy ‘Sharbat’ (sweet water) and ‘Shakkar’ (soil) from the dargah of the famous saint.

The people on both sides of the Indo-Pak border participate with great enthusiasm in the annual fair which begins on fourth thursday of June every year. Administration on both the sides gets involved in making arrangements for the people participating in the Mela.

  Devotees offering Chaddar at Baba Chamliyal's Dargah.
A view tradition being followed by devotees to offer Chaddar at Baba Chamliyal’s Dargah.

Over 320-year-old ‘Chamliyal Mela’, celebrated on both sides of the International Border, has become very popular since November, 2003, after the guns became silent on the border following ceasefire and parallel peace initiatives by both India and Pakistan. The Border Security Force (BSF) for India and its counterpart Chenab Rangers of Pakistan mainly manage the annual fair and facilitate people on either side to receive the holy ‘Shakkar’ and ‘Sharbat’, which are believed to have medicinal properties against various skin ailments. Every year in Saidanwali village on the Pakistan side of the Zero Line, people organise a three-day fair and wait for ‘Shakkar’ and ‘Sharbat’ of Baba Chamliyal’s Dargah.

As devotees from Pakistan are not allowed to cross the Indo-Pak border, each year they gather at Saidawali village, located on the international border, from where they are provided Shakkar and Sharbat by BSF officers. Before the Indo-Pak war in 1971, Pakistanis were allowed to visit this side of the border, but now only Pakistani Rangers (border police) are allowed to participate in the festival, who offer Chaddar on behalf of the people of Pakistan.

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