Dehradun District | TOURISM

Jhanda Fair
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Jhanda fair is an annual fair celebrated in Dehradun city of Uttarakhand state and participated by hundred thousands of people from various districts of India. Majorly celebrated by Sikhs in memory of Guru Ram Rai, Jhanda fair is highly honored religious fair.

Held on the fifth day of Holi (the festival of colors) every year, Jhanda fair is the flag hoisting ceremony celebrated in memory of Guru Ram Rai who established Dehradun city and built Guru Ram Rai Durbar – a tourist place in the heart of Dehradun district. Sikh pilgrimages from Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Himanchal Pradesh and other places of India come two-three days prior to the Jhanda (flag) hoisting day to celebrate the festival. With hundred thousands of people from far and near coming together with pure heart just to pay homage to late Guru Ram Rai participating on the fair with joy and gaiety – Dehradun city looks like a bride decorated with the most precious jewels on earth.

The people gathered to celebrate Jhanda fair are called Sangat. On the day of Ekadashi of Hindu calendar, Shri Mahanta of Guru Ram Rai Durbar goes to the Yamuna river banks at Raianwala in Haryana, 45Km from Dehradun to invite and welcome the Sangat. In Jhanda fair, a Sal tree around 27 meters long is brought from the nearby forest Dundhali. The flag to be hoisted is worshiped; bathed in milk, curd and the holy water from sacred river Ganga and then wrapped with muslin cloth. Later new covering is put removing the old coverings. Devotees believe that their wishes are fulfilled if they tie scarves on the mast. The faith of people is amazing – the sacred scarves booked till around 2082 denotes the love and devotion of pilgrims towards Jhanda fair and Guru Ram Rai.

Guru Ram Rai Durbar, also called Durbar Sahib, makes arrangements for the boarding, lodging and food of the Sangat.

Origination of Jhanda Fair

Guru Ram Rai was the son of Sikh Guru Har Rai from Punjab. Guru Har Rai expelled Ram Rai from Punjab in 1699 for the miracles he performed in Mughal King Aurangzed’s court. Ram Rai came to the Doon city of Uttarakhand region and established a ‘Dera’. Dera means settlement. The city got its name Dehradun after that. Guru Ram Rai built a Gurudwara named Guru Ram Rai Durbar in the heart of the city and hoisted a flag (jhanda) on it.
Jhanda fair is celebrated on the birth day of Guru Ram Rai in his memory and honor. It was the same day when Guru Ram Rai had come to Doon Valley.

Guru Ram Rai Durbar | Best Time to Visit

To participate in Jhanda Fair, the tourists should visit Dehradun city during March or April marking the Holi festival. Jhanda fair is held only 5 days after Holi Purnima of Hindu calendar. Guru Ram Rai Durbar is open for visit any time of the year and Dehradun city has favorable climatic condition for tourism in any weather season during the whole year.

Guru Ram Rai Durbar | How to Reach

Once a tourist is in Dehradun city, Guru Ram Rai Durbar is hardly half kilometers. Lets discuss on how to reach Dehradun to visit Guru Ram Rai Durbar:

  • By air: Jolly Grant airport Dehradun is the nearest airport 25Km from Guru Ram Rai Durbar. Tourists can find taxi, car or auto to the Durbar Sahib.
  • By rail: Dehradun Railway station Govindnagar is less than 1Km from Guru Ram Rai Durbar. Tourists find taxi or auto or even walk to the Durbar Sahib from Dehradun railway station.
  • By road: Dehradun ISBT is 5.5Km from Guru Ram Rai Durbar if the tourist is coming by bus. One can find city bus, vikram, auto or taxi in Dehradun ISBT to go to Durbar Sahib.

Places nearby Guru Ram Rai Durbar

  • Tapkeshwar Mahadev Temple: Tapkeshwar Mahadev Temple, around 6.5Km from the main city of Dehradun, is situated on the bank of a river that adds to the beauty of the holy place.
  • Sai Durbar Temple: Spectacular marble stone temple with Sai Baba’s idol in its core, Sai Durbar Temple attracts hundreds of visitors both devotees and tourists, everyday. The ornamented interior, hilly settings and peaceful environment of Sai Durbar Temple drag peace lovers and Hindu devotees equally. Unlike other Hindu templs, Sai Durbar Temple is open for people of any caste and creed which establishes it as the jewel in Hinduism.
  • Forest Research Institute Museum: Spread in 500 hectare land, built between 1924 and 1929, Forest Research Institute (FRI) Museum was designed by CG Blomfield. Old fashioned and dry displays on every aspect of forestry in India along with the animal, bird and plant paintings by Afshan Zaidi, display on the medicinal uses of trees and part of a 700 year old deodar tree are the major attractions of the FRI Museum but the red brick building with Mughal towers, arches and Roman colums itself keeps visitors spellbound.
  • Malsi Deer Park: On the way to Mussoorie, 10Km from Dehradun, Malsi Deer Park at the foothills of Shivalik range attracts hundreds of tourists daily with its pleasing environment and the picturesque view it provides. As the name suggests, Malsi Deer Park houses lovely Deers that you can see grazing and treading softly from a distance but you cannot go near to them. Tiger, Neelgai, Rabbits and Peacock are also seen in the park.
  • Santaura Devi Temple: Believed to have its connection with Ramayana period, Santara Devi Temple situated in Santaur Garh, 15Km from Dehradun city attracts huge number of devotees on Sundays. Legend says that Santaura Devi and her brother who found themselves unable to withstand the Mughal army threw their weapons and prayed to God. A flicker of light transformed them into statue. The stone images or statues are worshipped with great love and devotion by the locals.
  • Buddha Temple/Mindrolling monastery: Mindrolling monastery also known as Buddha temple situated in Clement town of Dehradun district was built in 1960s and is a replica of the original monastery in Tibet. One of the four Tibetan religion schools, the mindrolling monastery is named Nyingma, other three being Shakya, Kagyu and Geluk. Shakya college, well maintained gardens and the five-story stupa are the major attractions of Mindrolling Monastery. 35 meters high gold Buddha Statue fills the tourists with peace and tranquility. Similar to other Buddhist Stupas and monasteries, Tibetan art is prevalent on the walls and roofs of Mindrolling Monastery. Popularly known as Great Stupa, the world’s largest- 60 meters tall stupa was inaugurated on 28th October 2002. To see the interior decorations and designs of Buddha temple, you must visit on Sunday. Other days you will enjoy on the garden and shops and take pictures.
  • Khalanga War Memorial: Situated on the Sahastradhara Road, Khalanga War Memorial, also called Kalinga War Memorial, 6Km from the clock tower of Dehradun is the only war memorial created by army in memory of its foe. Britishers, highly impressed by Gurkha (Nepali) soldiers who fought for six weeks without food and water, erected Kalinga (Khalanga) war memorial to show their admiration towards Gurkhas. British fought with Gurkha soldiers at Nalapani, the then Nepal state and defeated the Gurkha.
  • Robber’s Cave: 8Km from Clock Tower Dehradun, Robber’s Cave is situated in Vijaypur near Anarwala village of Dehradun city. Naturally built cave with scriptural interior attracts visitors and fills them with pleasing smile. It is believed that robbers hid in the Robber’s cave, also called Gucchhu Pani from Britishers.