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Thousands throng Sikh shrine for flag fair in northern India

Published: March 7, 2018

STORY: Thousands of devotees thronged the shrine of Guru Ram Rai, in India’s northern Dehradun city for the flag raising ceremony which marked the beginning of the ‘Jhanda Mela’ or Flag fair on Tuesday (March 06).

A fair marking the birth of Guru Ram Rai was organised in which an over 100-feet long flag was raised. The day is also important in the history of the city as Dehradun which was originally called ‘Doon’, got its name after Guru Ram Rai established his ‘dera’ (settlement in the valley) here.

Devotees coming to the fair from across the country worshiped the flag and bathed it in milk, curd and ‘ganga jal’ (Holy water from river Ganges) and wrapped it with muslin cloth. During the ceremony old coverings are removed and new ones are added. The numerous scarves that are tied around the mast symbolise the devotion and faith of the pilgrims who pray for fulfillment of their wishes.

Soon after the offerings are made by the devotees, the covers are removed and only 40 remain tied to the ‘Jhanda Sahib’(flag), in keeping with the tradition.

Guru Ram Rai the son of the seventh Sikh Guru, Har Rai is considered to be the founder of Dehradun.

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