Uttarakhand, is a state whose culture is very diverse and colorful. The ritual of celebrating the festival has been going on for centuries in the state. One of the festivals that cherish and bring backs the culture of Uttarakhand is ‘Egaas Bagwal’.
There is a tradition of celebrating Igas Bagwal in Uttarakhand just eleven days after Diwali. The festival is mainly celebrated in the Garhwal and Kumaon region of Uttarakhand. People with great fervor participate in the celebration of this festival.
On this festive occasion, people cook traditional dishes like puri, swala and pakoras. One of the major attractions during this festival is the ‘Bhelo’. Bhailo means a rope which is made from bark of trees. People set fire on one side of the rope and play with it by spinning the rope. The sight of this fire play is very captivating. Apart from that, people light candles and lamps. They very joyously sing and dance on local songs relating to Egaas diwali.
According to mythological belief, the news of Lord Rama return to Ayodhya from exile reached 11 days late to the residents of upper hilly regions. So, people in Uttarakhand started celebrating Diwali on Ekadashi, eleven days after Deepawali and it came to be called as ‘Igaas Diwali’.
It is also believed that the Veer Madho Singh Bhandari, the commander-in-chief of Mahipat Shah, the king of Garhwal state did not return from battle on Deepawali festival. Saddened by the news, natives of Uttarakhand did not celebrate Deepawali. He returned back after eleven days on Ekadashi. People very grandly and happily celebrated the return of the great warrior and this is how the tradition of celebrating ‘Igaas Diwali’ started.
However, now the culture of celebrating Igaas Diwali in Uttarakhand is declining. Many initiatives are been taken by the Government to revive the tradition of celebrating this beautiful festival.