Ritual of Kandali Festival of Uttarakhand
The ladies move out in procession in their conventional manner to destroy the Kangdali plants, where soldiers were hidden. The demoralized army returned along the Kali River, vandalizing and looting the villages on the way. The women resisted them and this is actually re-enacted on this day.
There are other versions of the story as well that tells of a boy who died upon applying the paste of the root from bush known as Kang-Dali on his wound. Enraged and angered, his mother cursed the shrub and ordered the Shauka women to pull up the root of the Kang-Dali plant off its ground upon reaching its full bloom, which occurs once in twelve years.
Ever since that day, dance of victory is performed every twelve year upon the decimation of this shrub in its blooming period. The women, armed with heavy weapons, lead the procession, followed with men and children. As they move forward they sing and dance and their voice echo in the entire valley region.
The women, fierce as they were, attack the bushes with their rils. Then the men follow, and the bushes are hacked with swords. The bushes are uprooted and taken back, as the spoils of the war. In turn, victory slogans are shouted and rice grains are cast towards the sky, as a symbol of triumph, to honour the deities with the prayer that the people of Chaundas Valley will always be victorious over their enemies. After the victory dance and the killing of the shrub, the celebration of the festival is concluded with a gala feast. Kandali last bloomed in October 1999 and next festival will be held in October 2011.
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