Posts Tagged ‘Mountains’

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.

Read original article at: