Mandi Shivratri is unique in itself and known for its colourful tradition throughout the country, he said
Himachal Pradesh Chief minister Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu inaugurated the famous International Shivratri Mahotsav of Mandi on Sunday, February 19.
Announcing the opening of the world-famous Mahotsav at the historic Paddal ground in Mandi, CM Sukhu said that Mandi Shivratri is a festival of Dev Samaj and it is for the first time in the history of the state that the government is spending more than ₹1 crore on Dev Samaj.
CM Sukhu said that International Shivratri Mahotsav Mandi has cherished high traditions that depict prosperity, brotherhood and love. “Fairs and festivals are the rich repositories of our diverse culture and tradition,” he said.
Talking about the Mandi Shivratri, CM Sukhu said, “Mandi Shivratri is unique in itself and known for its colourful tradition throughout the country, as even in modern times, the ancient traditions are being practised during Shivratri Mahotsav.”
“During the seven-day festival, the presence of deities in Mandi city adds a unique contour to Dev Samagam. It is our common responsibility to protect and conserve the rich traditions and culture of the Devbhoomi so that coming generations can be proud of it,” he said.
CM Sukhu also used the occasion to highlight his government’s efforts to improve the state’s economic situation. He also assured that “there would be no let-up in development works”.
“To improve the economic condition, a water cess has been imposed on the power projects and to curb corruption, the duration of the tender process has been reduced,” he said.
“The state government has started special endeavours to bring the state’s economy back on track, to remove corruption and to save the young generation from drugs,” he added.
CM Sukhu also said the upcoming state budget would focus on education, health and addressing the challenges of the future.
He said that while in the first cabinet meeting the old pension was reinstated by the government, in the second meeting, the cabinet gave accord to the Mukhya Mantri Sukh-Aashray Yojana, under which many facilities would be provided to the orphan children.
“Under the scheme, the expenses of higher education of orphan children, a pocket money of ₹4,000 per month and once a year a tour package with high-class stay and travel would be borne by the state government,” he said.
Integrated houses would be constructed at Sundernagar in Mandi district and Jawalamukhi in Kangra district at a cost of ₹60 crore each, in which facilities along the lines of the Chief Minister’s office will be provided, he added.
CM Sukhu said that till now an amount of ₹3 crore has been deposited in the Mukhya Mantri Sukh-Aashray Kosh, for which he has contributed one month’s salary and all the Congress MLAs have donated one lakh rupees each.
Earlier, CM Sukhu paid obeisance at the temple of the principal deity, Raj Madhav Rai. He also participated in the traditional “Shahi Jaleb” or Shobha Yatra, which started at the Shri Raj Madhav Rai temple and culminated at the Paddal grounds.
Thousands of devotees dressed in their traditional attire participated in the procession, carrying their local deities and dancing up to the Paddal ground.
Over 200 deities participated in the “Shahi Jaleb”, the traditional Shoba Yatra, from almost all parts of the district.
The Chief Minister also participated in the Pagri ceremony and performed puja at the Shri Raj Madhav Rai temple.
CM Sukhu also inaugurated an exhibition at Paddal Ground, which is organised by various departments, boards, and corporations. He also released a colourful souvenir at the International Shivratri Fair, brought out by the Mela Committee.
Deputy Commissioner Mandi and Chairman of the International Shivratri Mahotsav Organising Committee, Arindam Chaudhary, said that the Shivratri Mahotsav of Mandi was a unique cultural repository of Himachal Pradesh.
“This year, the International Shivratri Mahotsav will be celebrated from February 19 to February 25, and more than two hundred deities have been invited to participate in this fair,” he added.