Prior warning: this is not for the faint of heart!
Just when you think you have seen it all, that’s when India will put something in front of you making you feel you might have just scratched the surface. Of all the beliefs, superstitions and rituals that travelers come to the country to experience, this festival might actually creep the hell out of some. Allow us to share what’s happens every year in a small temple next to the world-famous Durgiana Mandir, secret and hidden but extremely famous in the country for during the 10-days festival of Navratri.
One of the kind in the whole world, this festival is celebrated every year with kids and sometimes even adults dressed up as Langoors (old world monkeys). Parents who have a hard time conceiving a boy pray to Lord Hanuman to remove their trouble and bless them with a boy. Once their wish is fulfilled, the mothers who were blessed with the kid will dress the little ones up as Langoors.
The festival starts on the first day of the Hindu Festival Season of Navratri and runs for 10 days.
The main temple of this festival is the Bada Hanuman Mandir, next to one of the biggest Hindu Temples of Amritsar – Durgiana Temple near Hathi Gate. This is arguably the biggest temple dedicated to Hanuman in the whole of India. The celebration is usually spread around the campus of Durgiana Temple as various groups of kids and adults dressed up as langoors walk or dance through as they wait for their turn to go inside the temple.
The mothers of the boy usually dress him up in various shades of reds with extravagantly decorated clothes. Sometimes with the replica of the weapon of Lord Hanuman or just a simple thick stick, the boy along with his group of friends and families will line up for their turn and dance on the beats of the traditional drums on their way to the temple. The temple is usually highly decorated during this festivals.
The temple sometimes also takes care of the groups’ food and shelter as they are coming for various parts of the country.
Some of the rules of related to this festival are to not to enter the temple premise with your shoes and sandals, not to eat anything that is cut with a knife and to sit or sleep on the ground.
There are security guards placed at various locations of the temple campus to ensure the safety of the participants and the audience of the festival. However, it is strongly advised not to carry with you a big bag or anything expensive and take extreme precaution with your belongings as the crowd can be highly overwhelming. Women and men are strongly advised to wear clothes covering full arms and legs due to the super conservative nature of the festival.
It is also advised to attend this festival in a group and stay close to each other. Being accompanied by a local guide is a good option.