“Baba Sodal Mela” is a religious fare held annually in the Jalandhar city of Punjab state in western India. It is held in reverence to Baba Sodal, a local deity. The venue of the fair surrounds Baba Sodal Samadhi (tomb). The fair is usually a single day affair held in the month of Bhadon, the sixth month of Punjabi calendar.
Baba Sodal Mela has gained much popularity over years and today it has become a major festival of Punjab, visited by devotees from throughout India as well as from abroad.
Sodal Mela 2019
The date of Baba Sodal Mela 2019 is yet to be announced.
When is Sodal Mela Celebrated?
Baba Sodal Mela is celebrated on the 14th day of Shukla Paksha in the month of Bhadon. The festival usually falls in the Gregorian calendar month of September.
Sodal Mela Story
The legend has it that Baba Sodal was a very playful child. One day despite his mother’s repeated instructions to not to do so, he followed her to the nearby pond, where she would go for washing clothes and to meet other domestic requirements. When the mother started bathing in the pond, her son started playing by throwing mud at her. The mother got angry and in a fit of anger asked her son to jump in the pond; though, she didn’t mean it literally.
Nevertheless, the boy jumped in the pond to obey his mother’s command. Watching her son plunge in water, mother raised an alarm. People gathered and a relentless searched ensued, but the boy was never found.
However, the boy makes an appearance as a mystic snake to bid adieu to this mortal world. He instructed that his reincarnation must be accepted by Chaddha clan of Khatri caste, to which the boy belonged. He also said that the persons belonging to Chaddha clan should offer snake made from local flour, known as “topa”.
Baba further instructed that, topa should be weighed against each bachelor member of a Chaddha family. He told that two and a half ser of topa should be offered to him, while half ser each for bachelor members of Chaddha family. The topa was also forbidden for consumption by anyone outside the Chaddha clan.
As per the legend, Baba Sodal made an appearance on the thirteenth day of Bhadon month; hence the fourteenth day is celebrated as “Baba Sodal Mela”.
Sodal Mela Rituals
As per the instructions of Sodal Baba, every year on Amavasya before the Sodal fair, head of Chaddha clan extracts mud fourteen times for each of his sons. Every member of Chaddha clan pays respect to Baba and make offering of kneaded simple flour.
This is done on the Tryodashi, 13th day of the local month to make Baba reappear. On the fourteenth day every Chaddha member eats only fried food made using a traditional fried pan.
Sodal Mela Jalandhar
Baba Sodal Mela is a major celebration in Jalandhar with pilgrims coming from different corners of the world. Elaborate arrangements are made by the district administration to facilitate the pilgrims gathering to witness the fair, from different parts of India and abroad. Special buses are operated by the transport department to ensure smooth movement of pilgrims. Arrangement of drinking water is made at various locations and also temporary toilets are constructed for the pilgrims.
The fair is organized at the Samadhi of Baba Sodal, which is nearby to the pond in which the young Baba Sodal took Samadhi. The pond is reverently called “Baba Sodal ka Sarovar”. People take a holy dip into the water of sarovar and present offerings at the Samadhi.
The idol of Baba at Samadhi is worshipped by members of Chaddha clan and other devotees. Baba’s colored portrait decorated with clothes and flowers is kept for the devotees to pray. The complete temple area and its surrounding get glowing with light and chanting of religious hymns could be heard even from quite a distance.
Old and Modern Sodal Mela
Sodal Mela is an ancient festival of Punjab, celebrated since centuries. Though, the festival gained popularity only in past four to five decades. During the 1970s the festival was a low affair with only limited pilgrims and activity. The swings and large Ferris wheels of modern day were absent and only small wooden swings and Ferris wheels could be seen.
Mostly nomads visited the site in groups, which today blusters with Millions of pilgrims from different corners of the world. With the increase in number of pilgrims, the festival gained popularity and attracted the attention of media and administration. Today, the Sodal Mela has become a large congregation of people belonging to various castes, creed and religions.
Sodal Mela Significance
Baba Sodal Mela holds much religious significance for the people of Punjab as well as other nearby states of Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan etc. Baba Sodal is a much revered deity in Punjab and Baba Sodal Mela is held in his reverence.
Nearly a million devotees witness the fair and show their respect in Baba Sodal. It is a festival which commemorates the death of a child deity and his obedience to his mother’s command.
The festival is reverently followed by mothers, who pray to Baba Sodal for blessing their children and also for their family’s overall well being. It is a great gathering, where people from different faiths, caste, religion and places converge at one place to venerate their revered deity – Baba Sodal.