Five-day Bhavnath Fair 2017 at Junagadh to begin this Monday

Junagadh: Globally famous Mahashivratri fair of Bhavnath in Junagadh will begin this Monday.

Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation(GSRTC) has decided to operate 225 buses to carry extra number of passengers to Junagadh during the fair period.

Globally famous five-day long Bhavnath fair at Bhavnath Mahadev temple in the foothills of Girnar (Girnar Taleti) around 8 km from Junagadh city in Gujarat which culminates on the Mahshivratri day with great show of devotional and festive energy by Naga sages, will begin on Monday with performance of traditional ritual of religious flag hoisting (Dhawjarohan) amid vedic chants.

Mahant of the main temple, along with other saints will perform the ritual of dwajarohan at Bhavnath temple.

Attended by around a million devotees and sages the fair culminates on Mahashivratri (March 7 this year) when it is believed that in the moonless night Lord Shiva performed his tandava, the cosmic dance of destruction, a mahapuja is performed. This ritual begins at midnight on Mahashivaratri every year, when naga bavas, or naked sages, seated on elephants and decked in ornaments, arrive holding flags and blowing conch shells, tungis, and turis, the sounds of which reverberate through the entire space.

Devotees believe that Lord Shiva himself visits the shrine on this occasion. Girnar is said to be the abode of the nine immortal nathas, and eighty-four siddhas, all of whom also visit the temple in their invisible spirit forms during Mahashivaratri. Offerings are made to the deities, and the festive energy is expressed through performances of dance, music and traditional bhavai theatre.

Before going to the fair, many pilgrims visit the holy hills of Girnar. Visitors are served free meals by the organizers which is called ‘Harihar’ locally. Special stalls sell idols, rosaries brought from Ayodhya and Mathura, and delectable sweets. The evening leading up to the midnight ritual of Mahashivaratri, at the wrestling grounds, or akhada, next to the temple, the naga bavas gather for a ritual involving a blend of dance and martial arts.

According to myths and legends of the Puranic era, the Shiva linga in the ancient temple is said to have emerged of its own divine intention. It is said that once when Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati were traveling over the Girnar Hills their divine garment fell over the present Mrigi Kund, making this place an auspicious site for Shiva worshipers. Even today, the naga bavas bathe in the holy Mrigi Kund before joining the Mahashivaratri procession. The fair itself is so ancient that its precise origins are unknown.

A large number of devotees from different parts of the country, particularly from Gujarat and Marwad in neighboring Rajasthan, have been coming to the fair for many years. While many come clad in lively colors, the Ahirs and Mers of the Junagadh district are the most striking among them.

The district administration has also made elaborate security arrangements to prevent and check any untoward event in the wake of large gatherings during the fair.

Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation(GSRTC) has decided to operate 225 buses to and from Junagadh during the fair period.