Ramman(Last Updated 15 Apr, 2022)
Ramman, a religious festival in the form of the theater. This festival features on the list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in India. It is celebrated exclusively in the Garhwal Region of Uttarakhand at the twin villages of Saloor-Dungra in the Chamoli district. It is one of the unique festivals in Uttarakhand that reflects the beauty of culture that is well preserved.
History of the Ramman Festival
The history of the Ramman Festival is not known but has been practiced by the local lore for centuries. A tradition of respecting the guardian deity of Saloor Dungra and Bhumi Chetrapal is generally the idea behind the festival. History is roughly 100 years old as per the documents and information. But unfortunately, there are no historical facts and information available about the festival before 1911.
How is Ramman celebrated?
As the name Ramman suggests, the festival is related to the Hindu epic Ramayana. The stories of the epic are re-enacted with singing and masked dances by the villagers. But, the unique feature of the festival is that all inhabitants reunite and perform their given roles without distinction of caste, creed, and status.
The performance has 18 participants, playing 18 characters wearing 18 masks and dancing on 18 beats to celebrate the 18 Puranas. A ritual theatre is held in the courtyard of Bhumiya Devta Temple in Saloon Village. After a procession and the festivities, the deity stays at the home of one of the village families, which is decided by the village Panchayat.
Ramman Festival starts with the calling of Lord Ganesha, "Vighnaharta," the demolisher of obstacles. Prayers are also offered to Bhumiya Devta (local deity) and Nar Singh Devta. A ritual theater is followed after the Gods have been pleased with offerings.
The singing of 'Jagar,' a musical compilation of local legends, is the festival's main highlight. Then, dance performances by the participants, wearing masks and narrating the stories of Ramayana, other Hindu texts, and local stories.
These traditions of arrangements are not only meant for appealing to the deities. Still, they are mostly a celebration by the village inhabitants before the summer arrives and the time for harvest and hard work. In a way, it brings people together and shares their history and heritage.
The unmissable dance ritual theater includes the Maal Nritya, recreating the episode of the Gorkha invasion of Garhwal. Also, the masked dance, such as Mayor-Muren Nritya, portrays the dangers that villagers face in their day-to-day lives and shows the local people's immense faith in their deities.
When is Ramman Celebrated?
Ramman festival is celebrated in the month of April (Baisakhi), And it is believed to be a harvest festival that also marks the beginning of the Hindu Solar New Year. However, the date of this festival is decided by the village priest. For additional information regarding this festival and tour packages, you can contact us through our travel experts.