You have probably heard about playful snowball fights, but have you ever heard about playful stone ball fights? This is exactly what you’ll get to witness in a village in Himachal Pradesh a day after Diwali (the festival of lights). So, after the festival of lights, it’s time for the festival of fights in the village known as Dhami. Dhami is a village to the west of Shimla and they have a bizarre ritual of pelting stones at people in a festival called ‘Pathar Mela’. Further, the motive of doing this is something that you’ll never expect.
The men of the village are divided into two groups and both groups immediately start pelting stones at each other from a long distance. In a video uploaded on YouTube, you can see the two groups pelting stones at each other and even using tactics such as cover fire. The event takes place at the junction of Dhami, Galog, and Basantpur. One group stands on one side of the junction and one on the other. The pelting continues until someone is hit and starts bleeding.
The general secretary of the Mela (festival) Committee said “One of the queens of the Dhami estate decided to end the practice of human sacrifice and the ‘Pathar mela’ became its substitute. Stones are pelted in the air in a friendly manner and the moment it hits someone, the goddess’ tilak is done with the injured’s blood and the stone pelting is stopped”.
It is believed that the Queen of Dhami’s Mausoleum is on that junction and it was made after her Sati. So, one of the motives for performing this ritual is to pay tribute to her memory. Now, how this tribute is paid, will be explained in the next section, however, you might have understood the process by now. Further, this festival is also celebrated to pay tribute to a local deity, Kali Maa. Considering that Himachal Pradesh is the land of gods, this should be self-explanatory.
The Ultimate Motive Behind The Festival
As soon as someone gets hurt and starts bleeding, the stone-pelting battle stops. The person who got hurt, his blood from the wound is dedicated to the local diety, Kaali Maa and the Queen of Dhami’s Mausoleum. So, this whole festival is celebrated just to pay blood tribute to Kaali Maa and the Queen of Dhami. This is just one of the bizarre rituals and festivals of Himachal Pradesh. The Land of Gods has a lot in store for us when it comes to rituals and religious festivals.
After the Ritual
After the stone pelting is done and the blood tribute has been paid to the goddess Kaali, people start singing and dancing. The brutal-looking stone pelting festival turns into a dance party. It’s astonishing to think that one moment you are pelting stones at each other and the motive is to make someone bleed and just after that, you are dancing with the same people you were pelting stones at. Well, in spite of all this, no one has ever faced a serious injury in the festival and people think that this is a blessing from the gods.
What do you think about this bizarre stone-pelting festival? Do you think that it is justified to pelt stones at each other just to fulfill a blood tribute ritual? Will you take part in a festival like this? Do let us know your thoughts in the comments below.