Hill Jatra

Hill Jatra

Hill jatra, a festival of agriculturists and pastoralists is celebrated in parts of pithoragarh District in the state of Uttarakhand , India. It has basically come to the Sor valley from Sorar (mahakali) region of West Nepal. This festival was first introduced in the Kumaor village. In the Developmental process, the aathon (eight day of bhado) and Gawra Virsarjan also became the part of Hilljatra . An another village near Pithoragarh town of kumoun region name Bajethi also accepted the jatra with a minor modification. It was also introduced in Askot and Kanalichina regions as Hiran Chital with some Modifications. Musical instruments like Nagada,Dhamau and Bhankar accompany the various performances to give dramatic effects

Two Bullocks, and Lakhia Bhoot

Etymology of Hill Jatra

Hill jatra is a distorted word which is actually referred as “Hal Jatra” ( Hill = mud and Jatra= jaat) .Hill Jatra Simple meaning is the worship plough(Hal) for good crop yield.
The Hill Jatra is related to the concept of paddy plantation Known as Ropai. It is also related to other pastord and Agricultural lavourers of the rainy seasons.


Ropai ,traditional farming of uttarakhnad
choliya dance

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History of Hill Jatra

This festival is connected with victory of the champawat ruler. There is another story saying that during the regime of Chand King in 15th Century, Karu representative of the Chand King went to Sorar (in Nepal) to take part in Hilljatra Festival. He was in the
Festival by his intelligence and bravery . he was able to sacrifice a buffalo with horns covering the neck, hence people became happy and joyfull and wanted to present Karu with a gift . Karu pondered about introducing this festival in Sor Valley and also asked for Four Masks – Two Bullocks, Lakhia Bhoot , Halwas and one implement- the Nepali plough . This was actually the way by which this festival was introduced in Sor.

The chand King

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In the first part of the Jatra, rituals like sacrifice of animal is performed and In second part of the jatra dramatic presentation of pastoral and agricultural activities are done. The masks are
very communicative and this happens to be the most entertaining part of the festival. In “Hill Jatra”, Lakhia Bhoot is exhibited as controlled by two body gaurds . the controlled energy is used for genuine purposes in the main theme. In the last part of the festival folk dances are performed and folk song are sung. The dance is  performed in a circle known as Chanchari Dance.

Chanchari Dance.






The celebration of dance goes till late in thenight. The songs played are generally traditional and in some cases popular songs are also played. Beside this the center of attraction of Hill Jatra is white clothed deer which is worshipped as regional god. The hilljatra is a living tradition and all care should be taken to preserve its style in a rapidly changing.