Basant Panchami In Uttarakhand

Uttarakhand, previously called Uttaranchal, is a state in the northern region of India. It is one of the most beautiful holiday destinations in the country, known for its impressive natural landscapes. Tourists from all over India and the world visit Uttarakhand for its beautiful waterfalls, lakes, hill stations, lush greenery, etc. Besides its natural glory, the state is a popular spot for wildlife watching and adventure activities. In addition, the unique regional culture and traditions of Uttarakhand play a major role in boosting its tourism. Individuals often refer to Uttarakhand as “Devbhumi”, which translates to the “Land of the Gods”. It got this name due to the presence of numerous prominent Hindu temples and pilgrimages sites spread across the region. 

Religion not only steers the attention of thousands of devotees to the region but also has a massive influence on its local culture and traditions. Fairs and festivals are a frequent occurrence in Uttarakhand, mostly ranging between the themes of religion and culture. For instance, the Kumbh Mela in Uttarakhand’s Haridwar is one of India’s biggest and most important Hindu festivals. It takes place once every 12 years and attracts millions of tourists and devotees from all over the world. Other major festivals celebrated in Uttarakhand include Holi, Makar Sankranti, Phool Dei, Vat Savitri, Ganga Dussehra, Purnagiri Mela, etc.

Among the several festivals celebrated in Uttarakhand, Basant Panchami is one of the most important ones. It is a famous festival celebrated by Hindus, Jains and Sikhs in India, as well as in various other countries. The festival has a different significance to people of different faiths and is widely observed throughout the state. During this time, the whole region wraps itself into a grand festive mood and celebrates Basant Panchami in the most unique way. It is not only a major tourist attraction in Uttarakhand but also a great time to visit the state to observe and learn more about its religious, cultural and traditional side. You can find all the crucial details about Basant Panchami in Uttarakhand in the following points.

About Basant Panchami in Uttarakhand 

Basant Panchami in Uttarakhand is also referred to as Vasant Panchami in some regions. Celebrating this grand festival commemorates the arrival of the Basant Ritu or spring season. It also marks the end of winter, which is seen as a month of death and rot. The festival usually takes place early in the first quarter and is said to also mark the beginning of Holika and Holi preparations, which is marked 40 days after it. The festival is centred right in the transition period, when the chilly winter winds slowly pan out, and the sweet spring starts to bloom with all its glory. The colourful Basant Panchami festival is often referred to as Sripanchami in some areas.

While other regions in India also celebrate this festival in their way, Uttarakhand’s take on Basant Panchami is quite unique. The best part about Vasant Panchami in Uttarakhand is that every member of the household, from children to the elderly, participates in the celebrations. Making colourful decorations, wearing traditional clothing, performing regional dance and music, doing fun activities, hosting family gatherings, etc., are just some of the main features of this festival. The worshipping of gods and goddesses (Pujas) is also a significant aspect of the Basant Panchami celebrations in Uttarakhand. It is more than just a festival centred around fun and merrymaking and has crucial religious and cultural significance to the people of the region.

Significance of Basant Panchami in Uttarakhand

Alongside marking the end of winter and the beginning of spring, the Hindu deity, Goddess Saraswati, is worshipped on the auspicious occasion of Basant Panchami in Uttarakhand. According to Hinduism, she is the goddess of music, language, knowledge and all forms of arts. Goddess Saraswati symbolises true creative thinking and energy, alongside love and longing, and is immensely respected by the people of the Hindu faith. Hence, individuals across Uttarakhand pray to her during Basant Panchami, or Vasant Panchami, to seek her blessings and excel in the fields of education, music, art and so on. People worship her so she can grant them a wealth of knowledge, which is considered the most powerful weapon for humans. Hence, the festival has a major significance for the Hindus in Uttarakhand.

With Goddess Saraswati, people even worship Lord Shiva, Devi Parvati (as the mother earth) and agriculture or crops during the occasion of Basant Panchami in Uttarakhand.

How is Basant Panchami celebrated in Uttarakhand? 

The people of Uttarakhand welcome Basant Panchmai with grand celebrations. As the flowers start to bloom and the sun's rays become more pleasant, the air surrounding the region echoes the melodious beats of drums. As the season also marks the ripening of agricultural lands with yellow flowers of mustard crops, the colour yellow gets widely associated by the Hindus as the favourite of Goddess Saraswati. Hence, individuals across the state dress up in traditional yellow clothing, with yellow tilaks gracing their foreheads. The same theme is seen within the house decorations and festive delicacies, offering a bright yet soothing tone to the occasion. The celebrations also include the performance of various traditional dance forms, like Jhumelia and Chounphula. All family members and relatives gather together and indulge in various merrymaking activities.

The worship of Goddess Saraswati is seen across various localities, households and educational institutions. Prasadams get distributed among people, while local dance and music events grace every nook and corner of the state. One of the best places in Uttarakhand where you can enjoy the celebrations of Basant Panchami in all its glory is Rishikesh, about 45 kilometres from Dehradun. The city hosts a grand fair dedicated to Basant Panchami within the bounds of the famous Bharat Temple. Thousands of individuals from all over the state attend this grand fair to witness the festival celebrations and the local traditions. Alongside the fair, a big procession takes place where Lord Bharat’s idol is carried through the city while devotees stand by the roadside to catch a glimpse of the god. The main reason behind this tradition is that the Idol of Lord Bharat was installed by Jagat Guru Shankaracharya on the auspicious day of Basant Panchami. Rishikesh is also one of the best places in the state where you can learn about the history of Basant Panchami. In some localities in Uttarakhand, individuals celebrate the occasion by flying colourful kites and preparing sweet rice at home. 

When is Basant Panchami celebrated in Uttarakhand? 

Basant Panchami in Uttarakhand is generally celebrated in the early first quarter of the year. It is right between the end of the winter season and the onset of springtime. According to the Hindu Lunisolar calendar, Basant Panchami takes place on the fifth day in the month of Magha. The date varies as per the English calendar, usually falling between the months of January and February. As Spring is considered the “king of all seasons”, the festival of Basant Panchami gives credence to the idea of spring coming in full bloom after 40 days. In the year 2023, the festival was celebrated on Thursday, January 26th. As for the date in the year 2024, Basant Panchami in Uttarakhand is going to take place on Wednesday, February 14th.

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