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About Kandali Festival

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Kandali Festival is a not so known festival of India, celebrated with great zeal in the Pithoragarh district in the beautiful northern state of Uttarakhand in India. It is mainly observed by the Rung tribe, and the festival lasts for a day. It generally falls in the month between August, September, and October. The observance of this festival is closely associated with the Kandali plant, which is said to bloom flowers only once in every 12 years. Hence, the celebration of the Kandali Festival is connected with the blooming of this plant. Along with this aspect, the festival also marks the commemoration of the defeat of Zorawar Singh’s army, which had attacked this place in the year 1841, from Ladakh.

The festival celebrations are held in the Chaundas Valley. There are various tales associated with the significance of this festival. On one hand, a legend says that long ago, when soldiers were returning along the Kali River, they had looted many villages that fell on their way, by hiding in the Kangdali plants. The women there were resilient and in the process, they destroyed the Kangdali plants. It is said that this whole concept is re-enacted during the Kandali Festival celebrations.

On another hand, according to a different legend, it is believed that once upon a time there was a little boy who had injured himself accidentally. To get some relief, he went on to apply the paste from the root of a shrub that was known as Kang-Dali, on his wound, however, he died from it. As a result of this, his mother was infuriating and put a curse on the shrub by telling the Shauka women that the root of the Kang-Dali plant should be pulled off from its ground as soon as it reaches its full bloom, which actually happens only once in every 12 years.

Thus, every time the shrub is pulled off from its roots after its blooming period once in every 12 years, a victory dance is performed here. A procession led by the women, followed by men and children takes place, as they sing and dance along. The last time Kandali bloomed was in the year 2011.

Featured Image Source: youthuttarakhand.com

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