Of the colours of Indian melas and of excavated ancient sites - Road trip to Kashipur in April !

The once famous 'melas' are now close to extinction. When was the last time you went to a mela ? Yes, the kinds where you can enjoy a ride on a giant wheel ( for 20 bucks ) or be stunned watching the bikes do crazy stunts in the 'maut ka kua' or buy small toys for 20 bucks, or eat golas and chana batureys or just stroll along with sea of colorfully dressed people ?

When Abhinav ( Abhi ) told me about the Chaiti Mela at Kashipur I was quite excited. I couldn't remember the last time I went to one. Few of us jumped at the opportunity. Abhi's mom lived in the beautiful town of Kashipur all alone. She is an amazing cook, has a beautiful garden and above all, is a lovely host :)

The Chaiti Mela is organized every year during the Vasant Navratras at a place called Chaiti, which is a few kilometers from Kashipur. Chaiti is a religious place with a very old temple of Devi.
All of us left for the mela around 7 I think. The place was brimming with people. It was easy to get lost. Oh, luckily that night, it was a full moon night :)
From food stalls that serve almost any Indian dish to circuses and magic shows, the mela was a lot of fun. We bought lots of small stuff - in fact some of the artisans selling their items at the mela were quite unique. Melas are colorful festivals that have become a way of celebration for people, both rural and urban, and the monetary transactions benefit all strata of society, especially the small scale business men.

"The sights and sounds of a typical Indian fair are to be experienced at least once" - you feel proud of the diversity and culture imbibed in all of us for over 1000s of years !

Next morning, we went out to explore the town of Kashipur. Kashipur was called Govishana at the time of ruler Harsha ( 606 - 647 AD ). Infact, Kashipur is the only city of the state whose reference is seen in Mahabharat Period and is confirmed by Archeological Survey of India. The ruins of the large settlement of those days can be still seen near the city. We visited the Dronasagar which is also historically significant.

Drona Sagar is believed to be associated with Guru Dronacharya, teacher of the Pandavas and the Kauravas in the epic Mahabharata. Many believe that the Drona Sagar was created by the Pandavas as a Guru Dakshina (fee) for Dronacharya. The Skanda Purana states that the water of Drona Sagar is as holy as that of the Ganges. The excavation site at Drona Sagar is protected by the Archaeological Survey of India. ( From : Wikipedia )

Belongs to ASI, these are some of the excavations at the site

History has always fascinated me. To walk through ancient townships and excavated sites, of Mahabharata - myth or reality, of bygone civilizations, of our very own rich folklores - it's only a beautiful feeling to walk by our past !

Tip : To visit the mela - go in April - It is well connected from Delhi by Road. We also went to Jim Corbett. (Kashipur and Jim Corbett are quite close by). We reached during the early hours of Saturday - we had booked the first canter since animal spotting is easiest in the morning. Saturday night we spent at the mela, Sunday morning we walked around near Dronasagar.

Back to tolls and traffic !

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