Posts Tagged ‘Lord Shiva’

The celebration on the foothills of Mount Girnar takes place on Maha Shivratri every year and is entirely dedicated to Lord Shiva

VIBRANT GUJARAT is not just a coined term. It finds proofs in the people, activities, fairs, festivals and variances of the state. Gujarat comes alive with much enthusiasm and energy at the times of celebration. Its vibrancy is witnessed by the people, who without any differences come under one roof to rejoice at the fairs and festivals. One such charming fair, woven with culture, traditions, heritage and rituals is the mammoth Bhavnath Fair of Junagadh in Gujarat.

Bhavnath Fair is celebrated on the pious occasion of Maha Shivratri every year. It is a five-day extravaganza commencing from the Hindu calendar date of Magh Vad 11, during the months of February-March.


The much-famed Bhavnath Fair is celebrated on the foothills of Mount Girnar. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva; Bhavnath Mahadev Temple is the host for the fair. The temple is placed near Damodar Kund. It celebrates the vitality of the Shiva cult. During Shivratri – the marriage ceremony of Lord Shiva, according to the Hindu myth, a five day Bhavnath Fair, is held with great zeal.

The place buzzes and bustles with the presence of diehard worshippers of Lord Shiva. They believe that the Lord himself visits this place on Maha Shivratri. Mount Girnar is home to 9 immortal Nathas, and 84 Siddhas, all of whom are believed to visit the shrines in invisible spirits on the occasion!

Pilgrims take a 7 meters long Parikrama of the Holy Girnar before visiting the fair. About one lakh visitors throng the place for the auspicious celebrations, most of them from Gujarat and Marwad. The lively and colorful local communities of Ahir and Mer are the most attractive among them all.


A distinct attraction of the Bhavnath Fair is the participation of the Naga Sadhus aka Naga Bavas. These sages are the ones who actually commence the fair celebrations. They are practically nude. A strong belief among these sages is that the whole world is their home and the sky is their cover. They need no clothes to cover their bodies, as they are ‘sky dressed’. They have accepted nakedness as a part of life.


The Bhavnath Fair begins with rituals on the moonless night of Maha Shivratri. It is believed that Lord Shiva performed his dance of destruction ‘Tandava’ on this night and a Mahapuja was performed to honor this action of the Lord. The Naga Sadhus arrive seated on elephants. They are seen holding flags and are all decked up with ornaments. They lead a procession to the Bhavnath Temple that marks the commencement of the mystic celebration. This religious march on a dark night is one of the grand attractions of this fair.


The Naga Sadhus blow conch shells, tungis, turis and drums that create a religious and emotive atmosphere. This procession is then followed by an exhibition of the grand sword fights and other activities by the sages. The wrestling at the akhadas is a unique blend of dance and martial arts. The march reaches the Temple’s Mrigi Kund at 12 in the midnight.


A belief of the Puranic era has it that the Shiva Ling at the Bhavnath Temple has emerged out of its own divine intentions, without any human intervention. The Mrigi Kund is considered auspicious as while travelling over Mount Girnar, Shiva and Parvati’s divine garment fell over the place. Shiva worshippers strongly believe in this legend and even today, the Naga Sadhus are known to bathe in the holy Mrigi Kund before joining the Maha Shivratri procession.


Apart from the offerings to the deities and the decked up Shiva temples, there are performances of dance, music and traditional Bhavai theatre. The colorfully clad tribes with dazzling ornaments at the fair are a treat to the eyes.

Stalls are set up for copper and brass utensils, idols, rosaries and holy beads brought from Ayodhya and Mathura. Mouthwatering sweets at the food stalls and the free meals served by the organizers to the devotees are yet another motivation for a visit to the fair!


Bhavnath Fair is an example of the strong beliefs and rituals of the people of Gujarat. It is a place to lose oneself to the rhythmic experience and honor the 5000-year old Hindu traditions. It captures the senses of all humankind. The richness of our heritage is on display at the fair.

The Bhavnath Fair is a look into the roots of our culture and traditions. It is a real beauty, equally passionate, intense and mystical.

Do not miss on the magnificence of the event and get enthralled from head to toe – The hustle-bustle begins on 3rd March 2011.

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Gujarat is no wonder named ‘The Land of Fairs and Festivals.’ Around 3500 fairs are celebrated here with fervor during a year. There are fairs for any and everything, be it the harvesting time, change of seasons or religious beliefs. The significance of these fairs is that they take you closer to the rich, cultural diversity of the people of Gujarat. You get to see the customs, ethics, values and beliefs of the people of Gujarat.

Talking about fairs, Lili Parikrama is the fair that cannot be missed. It is the fair of circumambulation (Parikrama) around Mount Girnar in Junagadh district. The Parikrama is based on a strong belief that 33 crore Gods reside in the mountain. It starts from the temple of Bhavnath and after covering some of the major hills of Mount Girnar it ends again at the Bhavnath temple.

The fairground is the tallest mountain of Gujarat, situated 6 km from the Junagadh city. Although Mount Girnar and the nearby places in Junagadh district have many religious and holy places, but, of all the peaks and places pilgrims and devotees definitely visit the Bhavnath Shiv temple, Bhartruchari cave, Sorath Mahal, Bhim Kund and Shiv Kund. Also of the seven peaks on mount Girnar, five are the most important namely Ambamata, Gorakhnath, Augadh, Guru Dattatreya and Kalika. After the rainfall, the ponds and rivers are full of water adding to the scenic beauty of the forest and hills.

The belief of appeasing 33 crore Gods keep the pilgrims full of energy and enthusiasm. The pilgrimage on foot, from past 150 years, was formerly 12 miles, is now curtailed to 4-6 miles. The devotees climb around 4000 steps in the 4-day Parikrama. The Parikrama is started by worshipping Lord Shiva and people start walking on the identified tracks day and night. The entire Girnar hill pathways are lighted up and people walk enjoying the bhajan and the folk music during the nights. Devotees always look to end this journey on the full moon night at the Bhavnath temple.

Girnar is named Revta Chal in the Shiv Puran. Since time immemorial, people believe that all the 33 crore Gods have settled here. So if we do a Parikrama of this Mount we have worshipped all of them. This is the reason people walk through this track that was identified before 150 years.
Another legend says that after winning the war at Kurukshetra, the Pandavas had done the Parikrama to seek God’s blessings.
Also, the Bhavnath temple at the foothills of Mount Girnar is a very old temple. In fact it is believed that its oldness has kept its actual time of origin hidden.

The Parikrama is organized by the local people, priests, police and forest department officials. The fair is attended by more than 1 lakh people every year. All the tribes settled in and around Junagadh visit this fair, especially the believers of Lord Shiva. It is also venerated by both Hindus and Jains. The Jains call it Mount Neminath. The visitors are catered to by the temporary community kitchen arrangements. The pilgrims also stop by to worship the local naga bavas at the plenty of sadhu maths on the way of the Parikrama.

Along with the satisfaction of worshipping all the Gods at a single place, there are many other attractions of the Lili Parikrama. There are Raas and Bhajan Mandlis to make the walk pleasant and lively. Dramas and Duhas are other activities that are planned for the entertainment of the devotees. Also, there are stalls selling toys, beautiful idols and eatables-refreshments.

Apart from these, the fair is not only extremely significant from the religious point of view, but it is also a good destination for tourists who come for holidaying. The weather at the time of the fair is exceptionally pleasant and due to rains the lakes and ponds are all full of water. The journey of the Parikrama becomes enjoyable as it is all green and beautiful throughout the period of fair.

The fair over the years have become one of the mega events for the state of Gujarat, as lakhs of tourists and devotees from all over the country come and visit the places around Junagadh during the period of the fair. It is held on the Hindu calendar date of Kartik Sud 11 to 15. According to the Gregorian calendar it falls in the months of October-November. In 2010, Lili Parikrama is scheduled from November 17 to November 21.

Why miss a chance to appease 33 crore Gods by just a walk of 36 km? But yes, do not miss out on the faith and the strong belief while you walk.

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