Thousands of locals wearing traditional dresses participated in the 'shobha yatra' of Lord Raghuvir, the principal deity of Chamba, from Akhand Chandi Palace to Manjri Garden on the banks of Ravi where the 'minjars' (golden tassels) were immersed in the flowing water. Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur led the procession.
The centuries-old fair opened with the hoisting of the minjars at the Chowgan (public promenade) in the historic town. The locals, mainly farmers, gather at the historic Lakshmi Narayan and Raghuvira temples to make offerings of the minjars to the deities there.
The tassels are also distributed among friends and relatives before they are finally immersed in the river as an offering to Lord Varuna.
Old-timers associate the fair with the monsoon and say that farmers attend it to pray for good rain and a good harvest.
The fair is believed to have been started in the 10th century to mark the victory of then ruler Sahila Varma over the Kangra king, who presented blossoms of maize and paddy to former then. Chamba town was founded around that time.
Another folklore says that a sage at the Champavati temple on the banks of Ravi performed a week-long 'yajna' that changed the river's course and enabled the people to visit the Hari Rai temple across it.
( With inputs from IANS )