A fair commencing from the last Sunday of July, lasting for seven days, namely the Minjar Fair is a splendid carnival held in Chamba district of Himachal Pradesh. Known to be a real fun fiesta, the fair comes as a welcome break to the locals and tourists both who throng the region during the fair. Celebrated with a marked enthusiasm, the fair comes as a cultural binding force as it totally rejuvenates the ethnic spirit of the people of this region.
Deriving its name from the maize flower, the Minjar Fair finds a lot of legends and folklores attached to it. It is believed that an old lady wanted to meet the contemporary king of Chamba. Too poor to buy a nice gift for the king, the lady took a maize flower along and presented it to the king. The king was so greatly moved by the simplicity of the lady that he declared the day to be feted as maize day or Minjar day. Since then, the day began to be celebrated with great pomp and show. Those festivities yet take place in the form of Minjar fair at Chamba. The small township of Chamba has become a major tourist attraction because of this fair only as many tourists flock the region to partake in this cultural extravaganza.
According to one such legend, once upon a time, the River Ravi used to flow in between the Champawati Temple and Hari Rai Temple. The devotees who visited any one of the temples had to cross the overflowing river to pay a visit to the other. To make the Hari Rai Temple accessible to everyone, the Raja of Himachal Pradesh requested a saint for some advice. In turn, the saint asked the King to assemble along with his subjects at the Champawati Temple to perform a yagna or fire sacrifice that lasted for seven days. The Brahmins from Benaras who were invited in this yajna made a cord of various colors called Minjar. Miraculously, after the yajna, the Ravi River changed its course thus making the Hari Rai temple accessible to the people.
Another legend associated with the fair states that the fair derived its name from the story of an old woman who always dreamt of meeting the ruler of Chamba. Being poor, she couldn’t afford to give a nice gift to the king so she brought a Maize Flower called Minjar. The king was so much moved by the old woman’s affection that he declared that day to be celebrated as Minjar Fair and since then this fair is celebrated every year.