Bhavnath Fair to get Mini Kumbh status, govt to organize it from next year: CM Rupani


CM Vijay Rupani today announced that the famous Bhavnath fair organized every year during Mahashivratri at the base of Girnar mountain here would be accorded Mini Kumbh status.

Talking to newsmen here after performing puja in the Bhavnath temple with wife Anajaliben in presence of minister R C Faldu and Jayesh Radadia, Rupani said that from the next year the fair which was attended by lakhs of devotees would be accorded Mini Kumbh status as desired by Saints. The government would organize the fair.

He also said that the government would also form an authority for the development of facilities in Girnar in which saints would get prominence. Various facilities for devotees visiting Girnar would also be bettered.

Notably Sadhus of Shrei Panch Dashnam Juna Akhara had in 2013 declared the Bhavnath fair as mini Kumbh but it had not got an official status. It was a long demand of the saints.The five-day long fair is organized every year by Junagadh district administration to mark the Mahashivratri festival.
Sadhus wanted that the facilities and arrangements at Bhavnath fair should be made by state or central government at par with Kumbh.

The Fair held at the Bhavnath Mahadev temple situated near the base of Girnar hills (Girnar Taleti) around 8 km from Junagadh and which culminates at the midnight on the Mahshivratri day with great show of devotional and festive energy by Naga sages, had started on February 9 with the performance of the traditional ritual of religious flag hoisting (Dhawjarohan) amid vedic chants.

The fair commences every year on the Hindu calendar date of Magh Vad 11 which coincided with Feb 9 (today) this year. Attended by thousands of devotees and sages the fair culminates on Mahashivratri when it is believed that in the moonless night Lord Shiva performed his tandava, the cosmic dance of destruction, a mahapuja is performed. This ritual of Ravedi ends at midnight on Mahashivaratri every year, when naga babas, or naked sages, seated on elephants and decked in ornaments, arrive holding flags and blowing conch shells, tungis, and turis, the sounds of which reverberate through the entire space.

Devotees believe that Lord Shiva himself visits the shrine on this occasion. Girnar is said to be the abode of the nine immortal nathas, and 84 siddhas, all of whom also visit the temple in their invisible spirit forms during Mahashivaratri. Offerings are made to the deities, and the festive energy is expressed through performances of dance, music and traditional bhavai theater.

Before going to the fair, many pilgrims do a parikrama of the holy hills of Girnar, a journey of about 7 km. Visitors are served free meals by the organizers. Special stalls sell idols, rosaries brought from Ayodhya and Mathura, and delectable sweets. The evening leading up to the midnight ritual of Mahashivaratri, at the wrestling grounds, or akhada, next to the temple, the naga babas gather for a ritual involving a blend of dance and martial arts.

According to myths and legends of the Puranic era, the Shiva linga in the ancient temple is said to have emerged of its own divine intention. It is said that once when Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati were traveling over the Girnar Hills their divine garment fell over the present Mrigi Kund, making this place an auspicious site for Shiva worshipers. Even today, the naga bavas bathe in the holy Mrigi Kund before joining the Mahashivaratri procession. The fair itself is so ancient that its precise origins are unknown.

A large number of devotees from different parts of the country, particularly from Gujarat and Marwad in neighbouring Rajasthan, have been coming to the fair for many years. While many come clad in lively colors, the Ahirs and Mers of the Junagadh district are the most striking among them.