Igaas: Garhwal's Unique Celebration of Victory and Tradition with Thanksgiving Wishes

All of us know about Diwali a festival of light, and many of us celebrate Choti Diwali, a day before Diwali. But do you know about Igaas Bagwal of Garhwal, Uttarakhand ? Also known as Choti Diwali, but it is celebrated 11 days after Diwali.

11/24/20232 min read

In the serene landscapes of Garhwal, Uttarakhand, where the mountains echo with tales of valor and ancient traditions, there exists a festival known as Igaas Bagwal, often referred to as Choti Diwali. This celebration holds a distinct significance, weaving together the threads of victory, bravery, and timeless traditions. Today, as we explore the essence of Igaas, we also extend our warm Thanksgiving wishes, celebrating the spirit of gratitude alongside the rich cultural tapestry of Garhwal.

The Origin of Igaas: To understand the significance of Igaas, one must first revisit the narrative of Diwali. As we know, Diwali marks the triumph of good over evil, light over darkness. In Garhwal, the story takes an intriguing turn due to the geographical distance from Ayodhya. The message of Lord Ram's victorious return after defeating Ravana took 11 days to reach these mountains. It is believed that on the 11th day after Diwali, the locals celebrate Igaas, commemorating the triumphant journey of the brave comrades who contributed to Lord Ram's victory.

Celebrating Igaas: Similar to Diwali, Igaas is celebrated with fervor, with locals illuminating their surroundings with diyas and resonating the air with the crackling sounds of firecrackers. However, the hallmark of Igaas lies in a unique tradition known as Bhelo. In the afternoon, the community comes together to cut wood into pieces, which are then rolled up. As the evening descends, these rolled-up wood pieces are set ablaze, creating a mesmerizing display reminiscent of ancient fire torches. The act of lighting and playing with fire in this traditional manner connects the present generation with the customs of their ancestors.

Traditional Activities and Rituals: As the flames dance in the night, so do the locals, engaging in traditional dances and activities that have been passed down through generations. The celebration is not just about victory but also about preserving cultural heritage. One such ritual is the preparation of a special dish named Pindu, meant to be fed to cows on this auspicious day, symbolizing gratitude and respect towards nature.

Binsar: The Unexplored Gem: While Igaas is celebrated with zest across Garhwal, Binsar, a one-day trek spot, offers a unique perspective on this festive occasion. Despite its rich cultural fest that takes place on Igaas, Binsar remains relatively unexplored by travelers. The cold weather during these days may deter some, but for those willing to brave the chill, the reward is an immersion into traditions that echo through the ages.

Thanksgiving Wishes: On this special day of Igaas, we also take a moment to express our heartfelt Thanksgiving wishes to all. May the spirit of gratitude that permeates this festival extend to every corner of our lives, fostering warmth, joy, and a sense of unity.

Igaas, the festival that unfolds 11 days after Diwali, is more than a celebration. It is a testament to the resilience of tradition, the spirit of victory, and the bonds that tie generations together. As the flames of Bhelo light up the night and the echoes of ancient dances resonate through the mountains, Igaas stands as a reminder that some celebrations are not just events but reflections of a cultural legacy that deserves to be embraced and shared. Happy Thanksgiving!