The film Festival of Salhesh is about the two important folk cults of Mithila, Salhesh and Barham. It highlights their traditional beliefs, rites, rituals and focuses on the votive offerings of the terracotta horse-rider. It thus addresses the folk religion, terracotta art practices, the potters as well as the community who practice this folk cult. The terracotta horse-rider made for various rituals and festivals unifies the Mithila region, that consists of many communities and castes. The worship of two important gramdevatas (Village deities) of Mithila, Salhesh and Barham, involves offerings of terracotta horse-riders. Salhesh is a popular deity of the Dusadhs. The Dusadhs community comprises mainly of landless agricultural labourer. They are the socially depressed castes.
In earlier times, people of upper castes did not dine with them nor join in their festivals occasions. There was a sharp segregation from the upper castes. However, things are moving towards change. On the other hand, the cult of Barham is practicesd by the upper castes, primarily the Brahamins. In the hierarchy of the caste system, the Brahamins are on the top rung. Interestingly, the votive offering of the terracotta horse riders is a significant pate of the worship of both the cults.
The festival of Salhesh is celebrated every year during the auspicious month of Shravan of the Hindu calender generally on the full moon day(Rainy season), which falls during July and August.
Salhesh is the chief deity of the impoverished Dusadh dalit community (depressed caste). The community comprises of the landless agricultural labourers. Each year, the community celebrates the festival with great fervor and devotion. In the celebration, Kumhar community (potter community) plays a vital role as they are responsible for fashioning the icons of the pantheon of Salhesh as well as votive offering of the terracotta-horse rider essential for the ritualistic purpose.