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The vibrancy and charm of Bhavnath fair attracts a multitude of tourists and devotees of Shiva and make Junagarh as their second home in their will to become a part of mammoth experience.
Time to celebrate
The ancient city of Junagarh is situated in the valley of Girnar Parvat & Datar hills.
Bhavnath Fair is held every year at the Bhavnath Mahadev Temple near Damodar Kund, at the foot of Girnar Mountain. The fair falls on the same day as the extravagant and much famed Maha Shivratri.
Bhavnath fair is dedicated to Lord Shiva and a lot of celebrations happens in the Shiva temples. Thousands of Naga Sadhus visit here and are the main attraction that makes this fair distinct from others.
The scene there is amazing and watching them is a new rather mysterious experience. The Naga Sadhus are practically nude. They believe that the whole world is their home and sky is like a cover so they do not need clothes to cover their bodies as they are sky dressed.
They have accepted nakedness as part of their way of life.
All the Naga babas in the vicinity gathers at the time of maha puja on the fair site. They come seated on the elephants, holding flags in their hand and blowing conch shells, tungis, and turis; the environment is echoed with their sounds. The forward movement of the procession to the temple initiates an emotive religious ceremony.
The marching of Naga babas through the darkness of late evening (after 9 p.m.) of Mahashivratri is the grand attraction of this fair. The religious procession of Naked Sadhus features an exhibition of sword fight practices and other interesting activities. Only three akhadas (groups of sadhus) participate in the display. The procession reaches its end finally at 12.00 in midnight at Bhavnath temple’s Mrugi kund (tank) where they take bath.
It is a five day fair which concludes on the annual Mahashivaratri day. Grand puja of lord Shiva is conducted at midnight of Maha Shivratri.
Pilgrims take 7 meter long parikrama of the holy hills of Girnar, before going to the fair. About one lakh people, mainly from Gujarat and Marwad, claded in bright colour come here every year. Special temporarily set stalls sell idols, rosaries and mouth-watering sweets.
Devotees believe that Lord Shiva himself visits the shrine on this auspicious occasion. The nine immortal nathas and eighty-four siddhas who are said to be homed at Girnar also visit the temple as invisible spirit during Mahashivaratri.
The organizers provide free meals to visitors. The atmosphere is rhythmic. The musical notes of local folk music can be sensed in air and the view of beautiful folk dances as bhavai in colourful dresses is awesome. The handicraft & dazzling ornaments worn by devotees and tribes that come to Bhavnath Fair captures the senses of every mankind.
Richness of our culture is on display during the whole mela as it meets ourself with our roots, customs, practices, ritual, belief. This fair is a real beauty, equally passionate, intense and mystic.
How to reach
The Bhavnath Fair is held at the Bhavnath Mahadev Temple near Damodar Kund, at Girnar Taleti, 8 km from Junagadh. The distance of Junagadh is just few kilometers from the fair ground at the foot of Mt. Girnar. Junagadh has a major railway station, and is also connected by ST buses to cities around the state. The nearest airport is in Rajkot which is 110 km away.
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