It is a festival of the Gond tribe, usually held within the first half of
Phalguna. The dates for celebrating the festival are different at different places but all falling in the first fortnight of Phalguna. At some places,
Meghnad is held in the month of Chaitra. The idea of having different dates to celebrate the festival is to facilitate people of one area to go and join the people of other villages before or after propitiating
Meghnad at their own places.
is believed by the Gonds to be their supreme deity. The celebration begins immediately after the Holi festival. The main structure symbolizing
Meghnad consists of a platform built on four poles. The fifth pole juts out through the platform and bears a horizontal beam easy enough to rotate freely in a circular fashion. The platform is reached through a ladder made by two connecting poles of the platform itself with wooden rafters. The structure is generally painted with red ochre and oil. All sorts of things like earthen pots with motif designs, turmeric paints,
coloured strings, cock's feathers and mixed sounds are experienced in the milieu. This gives the feelings of a puja being performed. The whole structure of the
Meghnad represents the Khandera Dev of the tribe. Meghnad is mainly a tribal festival.
In times of illness the people of Chhindwara remember Khandera Dev. They also remember him for bumper crops. Vows are made. Promises are uttered to offer so and so on the fulfillment of the desired things. When actual ritual is arranged coconuts, eggs, chickens and goats are ordinarily offered. Propitiators very often climb five steps of the ladder and thereby carry out the vow of
Panch-Patoni. In serious troubles, they undertake the risk of swinging in the air by getting themselves tied by the waist, face downward, to one end of the revolving beam. A man on the ground holds the rope attached to the beam and moves around the structure, which is usually forty to forty-five feet in height.
As the ritual is the central attraction of the occasion, the gathering provides an atmosphere of a village fair with songs and rhythmic beats of drums and cymbals. Women get possessed by the spirit of the god
Khandera and start trembling near the Meghnad platform.