(Last Updated on : 16/09/2015)
Bhavnath Mahadev Mela is celebrated in the Junagarh city of Gujarat
. The festival is observed in the premises of the Bhavnath Mahadev Temple, located at the foothills of Girnar Mountain Range
. The fair takes place on the auspicious occasion of Mahashivratri
. The festival is celebrated for five days in the month of February. According to Hindu mythology, Girnar is believed to be the abode of the nine Nathas. They are the immortal Lords and Protectors as well as nine of eighty-four Siddhas, the spiritually elevated souls. All of them are supposed to be residing in the temple in their invisible spiritual bodies.
During the festival of Mahashivratri, the mahapuja (grand worship) of Lord Shiva
takes place in the temple. The worship starts at midnight, on the 14th day of the dark half of the moon in the Hindu month of Magh. As soon as the prayer ceremony starts, the Naga Babas or the sanyasis residing nearby, march towards the Bhavnath Mahadev Mela. These sanyasis are naked sages who can be seen seated on elephants, holding flags in their hands and blowing conch shells. A palanquin carries a decorated idol of Lord Dattatreya that precedes them.
The sages show their gratitude towards the Lord by reciting aloud His name and seek His blessings in return. According to the belief of local people, Lord Shiva himself visits the shrine on this holy occasion. The organizers arrange for free meals for the pilgrims. Special stalls selling idols, rosaries or holy beads, utensils of brass and copper, sweets and fruits flank the venue of the fair. These stalls are brought here especially for the Bhavnath Mahadev Mela, by the vendors of Ayodhya
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