NASHIK: The Nashik district has been blessed with monuments like temples, forts, Wadas, and other structures. The Natural heritage in the district is also famous among tourists. Not only that, some of the rituals which are practiced in Nashik are unique and are found only here. The ‘Rahad’ celebration on the day of Rangpanchami is one of them.
Famous for their festive celebrations like Ganeshotsav, Shiv Jayanti, Holi and Rangpanchami, Dande Hanuman Mitra Mandal, in March 2020 rejuvenated a Peshwa era Rahad after 62 years. The old Rahad at Dande Hanuman Chowk, next to Quazipura Police Chowki, has been rejuvenated. The elderlies in the area informed that the Rahad was erected by Gopikabai, wife of Nanasaheb Peshwa.
The Rahad is about 300 years old, constructed in the Peshwa era. It belongs to the Kalal community, who established themselves in this area. The last Rangpanchami celebration at this Rahad was held in the year 1958 before its closure. In 2020, the Rahad celebration was conducted by the local corporator and Kalal community.
The celebration of this Rahad is unique in itself. The Rahad is decorated with pandals, flowers, tree branches, and other things. Rangapanchami is celebrated to the beats of traditional Dhol, Halagi, and dimadi.
The Hayayya Kalal community was given responsibility for this Rahad. The community used to conduct a religious ceremony before the opening of the Rahad. The people used to give an offering of an animal like goat or hen to the god after conducting a pooja. A community feast was served a day before the celebration. The people used to play Rangpanchami by making colours from flowers and natural pulps.
The celebration was stopped suddenly after a priest who used to conduct the religious ceremony of the Rahad died. To pay him condolences, the Rahad was kept closed that year. Next year another important person from the community died. After that people lost interest in conducting the celebration, and eventually, the Rahad got closed. The Rahad was opened after 62 years.
300 years old Rahad
The Rahad at Dande Hanuman Chowk is about 300 years old and constructed during the Peshwa era. It is 12×12 in width and length and is about 10 feet deep. The Rahad also has a compartment made to put feet in them on every side of its wall.