43rd annual Khalanga mela celebrates Gorkha history & culture

Annual Kahalanga Mela
DEHRADUN: The Khalanga Mela – in remembrance of the Gorkha warriors who fought bravely against the British in the battle of Nalapani on the outskirts of Dehradun in 1814 – was held at the Khalanga War Memorial on Sahastradhar Road on Sunday. Day-long cultural events and showcasing of the community's cuisine were the highlights of the 43rd edition of the annual mela which celebrates the valour of the community whose courage impressed the British so much that they erected a memorial for them – even though the Gorkhas had lost – making it a unique memorial built by the victor for the vanquished.

The battle in which the British 3rd Infantry division comprising 3500 soldiers with heavy artillery under the command of Major General Robert Gillespie faced stiff resistance from Gorkha general Balbhadra Singh Thapa and his band of 600 soldiers who defended the Khalanga fort for over six weeks without food or water was an important landmark in Gorkha history which the community celebrates through the mela.

Prabha Shah, media in-charge of the Balbhadra Khalanga Vikas Samiti, organisers of the fair, told TOI, “This annual mela is very close to the hearts of people from the Gorkha community and is a means by which young people can get more acquainted with Gorkha history and culture.”

A visitor Manisha Rai gorging on what she said was lip-smacking food said, “ Such fairs must be regularly held as they give a common platform for community people to have a good time and revisit their roots. I really loved hearing about the brave tales of our soldiers. Also, it was great to have Gorkhali food like Bhutva, Sel roti, Fini and Gorkha chutney.”


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