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Bathinda The Chhapaar Mela

The Chhapaar Mela is held every year in the village of Chhapaar. The village is located in Ludhiana District. The Chhapaar Mela is organized in the month of September and is held in the honour of Guga who is considered as the Lord of snakes. Thousands of devotees from different parts of India flock to Chhapaar to celebrate this occasion and enjoy the festivities. The Chhapaar Mela is one of the most important festivals celebrated in the Malwa region of Punjab.

Locals believe that the trend of celebrating Chhapaar Fair has been around for over 150 years. It initially started with a small group of people who would come together to pray to Guga but gradually the faith increased and the number of devotees celebrating the occasion and visiting the Guga Shrine also increased. In the past few decades, the celebrations and the fair have become grand and the number of people visiting the fair has also increased. Guga was a Chauhan Rajput and legend says that he appeared before Mother Earth with his stallion and never went back.

Significance of the Mela

The Chhapaar Mela is primarily celebrated to worship Guga, the Lord of snakes. There are several legends behind the celebration of this mela. One legend states that several centuries ago, a baby boy and snake were born in a family and both were very close. Once the mother left the child and went to the fields. The snake spread its hood over the child to protect him from the sun. Seeing this, a villager killed the snake thinking that the snake would harm the child. Moments later, the child also died. The family in deep sorrow worshipped Sidh and Guga and a he-goat was left free and struck at a precise place. Today, this place is known as the Mari Guga Shrine where people gather every year to honour Guga and thereafter celebrate the Chhapaar Mela. It is believed that with the blessings of Guga, the effect of snake poison is diminished and infertile women are blessed with fertility.

As per another legend, during the beginning of the 20th century, a king had banned the celebration of Chhapaar Mela. After this, misfortune befell upon the kingdom and horses started dying. Upon investigation and consideration the celebration of a Minor Chhapaar Mela was announced again and the kingdom was blessed. This mela is celebrated after the main Chhapaar Fair is over and follows the same traditions and customs as the main Chhapaar Mela.

Date of the Mela

The Chhapaar Mela is celebrated in the month of September. The celebrations start on the 14th day of the month of Bhado on the Anand Chaudas. The mela continues for three days at the Mari Guga shrine. The shrine was established in 1890. Local believe that Guga possesses special powers that help in recovering from any type of snake bites.


Villagers can be seen dancing the Zinda Dance and young girls get together on the stage to perform the Grand Carnival Dance on different tunes. The zinda dance is the most exciting part of the Chhapaar Mela. Folk songs and folk dances can be seen being performed throughout the mela. Several rides, stalls selling sweets and chat can be seen in the fair. There are a number of stalls in the mela that sell bangles, jewellery, clothes and household items.

People from across the country visit Chhapaar during this time to witness the grand mela, see the brilliant performances and also to get blessed by the Guga Pir.

Customs & Traditions

The villagers perform various rituals during the Chhapaar Mela. The celebrations start with locals scooping the earth seven times. They fill the holes with puffed rice and wheat. This is done to invoke the Guga Pir to protect them from the snakes. This tradition is also observed in the celebration of the minor Chhapaar Mela celebrated just after the main Chhapaar Mela.

Chhapaar Mela Processions

There is a grand procession held during the Chhapaar Mela. Priests and devotees carry the Guga Pir during the procession and people can be seen performing local martial arts and dance along with the procession. Several thousand devotees attend the procession to get blessings from Lord Guga.

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