Baba Sodal Mela is one of the most important fairs in Punjab, organized to pay homage to Baba Sodal, a great soul. Each year, the Mela is organized in the month of Bhadon (September), in Jalandhar one of the most important cities of the north Indian state of Punjab. The fair particularly takes place on the 14th day of Shukal Paksh and is attended by thousands of pilgrims. Devotees gather from the world to pay a tribute to their deity.
Legend of Baba Sodal
Legend says that Baba Sodal took birth in the Chadha family of Khatri caste, in the city of Jalandhar and there are various stories associated with him. One of the stories goes that when he was a small boy he always used to follow his mother to the pond where she did washing inspite of the fact that he got scolding from her. Once she became very angry and cursed him to simply go away. He asked her to repeat it thrice. When she did so, he disappeared into the pond, never to be found again. This very day is celebrated as a Mela.
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Another legend says that when the cities of Punjab were cursed, Baba Sodal took the form of a holy snake and informed all about his farewell from the mortal world. He asked the people of Chadha and Anand families to accept his re-embodiment and offer him Mathi or Topa. He declared only the members of Chadha clan could consume topa. Every year, on Amawasya (no-moon night) before the Sodal Mela, the head of Chadha Clan visits the pond to extract mud 14 times for their sons.
Religious importance and Celebration
Mud is extracted with a belief that if this is done Baba Ji will appear on the day of Trydashi (13th of local month). Kasar is made and is also offered 14 times slowly. On Chaturdarshi (14th day), the Chadha clan eats only fried food. On the night before the fair, the whole Chadha clan sows 'Khetri’ in the name of Baba Sodal, as a traditional so that the clan remains happy and prosperous.
The followers of Sikhism consider this day, a very auspicious one. The fair takes place on the Samadhi of the Baba, where his painted portrait is placed decorated with rosaries and flowers. Nearby is Baba Sodal ka Sarovar, a holy tank. People take a dip in the holy waters of the Sarovar and present offerings on the Samadhi.
The day is special for the females too as they seek the blessings from Baba for their children and their families. Prasad is also offered at the Samadhi.
Time: Bhadon month (Between Mid-August and Mid- September)
Importance:Commemoration of the heavenly descent of Baba Sodal