Sodal Fair, Mela, Jalandhar, 24 September 2018

Globally, India is known for its ancient culture, land of source of many religions, Astrology, Gurus, Sages, spices, agricultural produce, vast terrain from the Himalayas to Kanyakumari, first languages e.g. the world’s 1st language Tamil, Ayurveda, Yoga, prehistoric Sanskrit scriptures, hospitality, historical monuments like the UNESCO heritage site Konark Sun Temple, Ajanta and Ellora caves, world’s 1st Nalanda University, festivals etc.

One festival is Sodal Mela, which marks the remembrance of a historical Sage, very popular as a great soul – Baba Sodal. Sodal Mela is held in Jalandhar, Punjab. The date of the Sodal Fair is determined as per the Hindu-Sikh Lunar calendar. It falls on the 14th day, Chaturdashi, Tithi, of the Shukla Paksha, in the Sikh Nanakshahi lunar calendar month of Bhadon. Shukla Paksha is the rising-waxing phase of the moon. It corresponds to the Hindu lunar calendar month of Bhadrapad, and around the mid of August- September period in the Gregorian calendar.

Sodal Fair is mostly very popular among the Punjabis and Sikhs, but there are pilgrims from adjoining-nearby States like Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, J&K, and Himachal. Thousands of natives, particularly around the Jalandhar city region visit the Mela. Mela means Fair, and Sodal Mela is like a religious holy event. Sodal Mela happens once every year, and for a single day. Sodal Mela marks the remembrance and tribute to the heavenly descent of Baba Sodal.

Baba Sodal is regarded as the baby deity. The legend behind Baba Sodal is when once he was following his mother to a nearby pond, in Jalandhar. Baba Sodal was a child then. His mother was going to the pond to wash clothes. On following behind his mother, his mother wanted to stop him from following and coming to the pond. His mother repeatedly tried to stop him. She later then shouted at him and angrily asked him that had he come there to drown himself in the pond? To this, child Baba Sodal asked his mother to repeat this thrice. She did so. To this, Baba Sodal went and plunged himself into the water and was never to be seen again.

The natives believe that Baba Sodal was blessed with magical and divine powers. As above, beside the local Jalandhar natives, pilgrims from other areas also visit the Baba Sodal Temple at this time. Elaborate pilgrimage and security arrangements are made. The pond is named “Sodal Da Sarovar”. Many natives seek to take a holy dip in this water. Many ladies visit here to seek blessings for their respective children and families. Many offer “Prasad” holy sacred sweet at the Baba Sodal Samadhi.

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