Important temple festivals in Gujarat
Many of the Gujarat Temple Festivals are linked with myths and traditions. A tourist can experience the variety of the cultural and religious traditions of the Gujarati people during the festival season. The main fairs and festivals celebrated in Gujarat are Janmashtami, Diwali, Holi, International Kite festival, Tarnetar Fair, Modhera Dance festival etc.
Navaratri is the primary Gujarat temple festival that is observed for nine nights in October, preceding the Dussera. People assemble in village squares and temple compounds to pray to Goddess Durga, they sing and dance according to folk traditions. They worship the mother goddess and her numerous manifestations during the festival. The festival ends on the Dussera day.
Janmashtami is one of the main Gujarat Temple Festivals that commemorates the birthday of Lord Krishna and is celebrated on the twenty-third day in the month of Shravan according to the Hindu calendar. This Gujarat Temple Festival is celebrated with great fervour at Jagat Mandir in Dwaraka. The idol of Krishna is worshipped as an infant; bhajans are sung all over the state. A fair is held on this day at Jamnagar.
Balev and Raksha Bandhan
Balev and Raksha Bandhan are also religious festivals of Gujarat. During Balev, the Brahmins change their sacred threads and this is exclusive to a particular community or section of the society. On the same day sisters tie Rakhi on their brother's wrist wishing them a happy life. The day is also celebrated as Nariyeli Poonam in the coastal areas of the State, where people worship the sea offering coconuts in certain temples.
Bhavnath Mahadev Fair
Bhavnath Mahadev Fair is a five-day affair dedicated to Lord Shiva. The sages riding on elephants blow shells and lead processions, marking the commencement of this fair. Dance, music, prayers and offerings are performed during this enlivening festival. People visit the Girnar Hill before coming to the shrine to participate in this festival.
Madhavrai Fair takes place in a small village Madhavpur. The Madhavrai Fair is conducted to celebrate the wedding of Lord Krishna and Devi Rukmini. It takes place in the Chaitra month of Hindu calendar which falls in the months of March or April. Due to its significance among the locals, it is one of the most revered festivals of Gujarat.
Rath Yatra is one of the most awaited festivals in Gujarat and it takes place majorly in four places including Jagannath temple in Ahmedabad. This sacred annual celebration’s main highlight is the procession that is led by an ornate chariot. The procession begins prior the Pahind Vidhi and then makes its way through different corners of the city.
Shamlaji Melo or Kartik Purnima Fair takes place in the premises of immaculately crafted Shamlaji Temple and lasts for three weeks. This is the time when large groups of devotees arrive on foot or camel carts, sing songs for the deity and bathe in Meshwo River beside the temple.
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