Bhavnath Mela in JunagarhBhavnath mela in Junagarh is a time when tourists arrive to this city from far and near just to become a part of this special experience - the Bhavnath fair in Junagarh!
Located near Girnar mountain and Datar hills, Junagarh reverberates with pomp and show during the 'mela' or spiritual fair.
When is Bhavnath Mela HeldThe Bhavnath fair is organized every year in the month of February- March at the Bhavnath temple near Damodar kund at the foot of the Girnar mountain. The fair is held on the same day as 'Shivrathri' and is dedicated to Lord Shiva.
How is Bhavnath Mela Celebrated in JunagarhThousands of Naga Sadhus visit Junagarh during this fair and in fact become the main attraction for tourists. They come almost nude and look very mysterious. They believe that sky is their cover and the entire world their home, so what is the need for clothes! Naga sadhus or Naga babas come seated on the elephants, holding flags, blowing conch shells, tungis/turis. The whole atmosphere becomes religious as they march towards the temple in the dark, after sunset (after 9.00 P.M.).
As the procession progresses further, there are sword fight practices and many other enchanting activities. Three groups of sadhus/akhadas participate in the display. Naga Bavas are actually ascetics with no clothes on. The procession reaches its destination at 12.00 P.M. - to the Bhavnath temple where they all have bath in the tank or kund.
Devotees take 'parikrama' (go in circle) around the hills of Girnar . It is a five day affair which concludes on Maha shivrathri day. Temporary stalls offer food, idols, rosaries etc. which devotees buy and enjoy their time. Organizers also provide free meals. It is believed that Lord Shiva himself is present in the shrine on this occasion. Folk songs and dances such as 'Bhavai' add to the beauty of the festival with dancers wearing very colourful clothing and ornaments. Bhavai folk songs and folk dances attract large audiences during the event.
The festival and fair is held at the foothills of Mount Girnar in Junagarh and the temple premises of Bhavnath Mandir is called 'Vastrapata Kshetra'. A grand pooja is conducted during midnight on the occasion of Mahashivrathri and Bhavnath mela.
This is a very big fair held in Junagarh and attracts around 15 lakh devotees every year! Sadhus of Shree Panch Dashnam Juna Akhara have even declared this Bhavnath fair as mini Kumbh! The Junagarh District administration has recently inaugurated a new bridge at Panjnaka where a stampede had occurred two years ago.
How to Reach Bhavnath FairBhavnath fair is held at Bhavnath Mandir near Damodar Kund, 8 kms. from Junagarh. You can take a bus to the temple site. Nearest Airport is in Rajkot which is 110 kms. from Junagarh. Junagarh has a good Railway Station.Other places you can visit are Gir National Park (60 kms.) and Porbandar(112 kms.).
Well, your visit to Bhavnath fair will be one that you will cherish for a long, long time to come!
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