The Manektari Punam Fair, also called Mahanektari Poonam, is one of the famous fairs among many celebrated in the state of Gujarat. Every year, this fair is held on the fifteenth day in Ashwin, the seventh month of the Hindu lunar calendar.

Ashwin is a Sanskrit word that means Light . This is supposed to be the first star that appears in the evening sky. In the solar religious calendar for Hindus, Ashwin month is born on the New Moon day post the Autumnal Equinox, when the sun exits Virgo. The Gregorian calendar equivalent day of this fair usually falls between mid-September and mid-October every year, after the regular monsoon.

A Famous Belief about Manektari Punam Festival

A famous belief about Manektari Punam festival is that, on this particular night, when a small drop of rain from the cloud under Swati constellation falls onto the mouth of an oyster in earth, that drop of rain transforms into pearl. The full-moon day hence is named Manektari Purnima to mean the transformation of a rain drop into a pearl under the specific astrological conditions mentioned above.

Manektari Punam Celebrations in Gujarat

In Gujarat, people celebrate the Manektari Punam festival to display their happiness towards the change in season, after a short spell of rain during the monsoon in September. The Dakor village of Kheda district in Gujarat is lit with colorful lights and decorated with fragrant flowers to invite the beginning of the new season after the monsoon. 

One can see the local people of Gujarat as well as those from other parts of the country, sometimes totaling up to as much as 1.5 lakhs of people, gathered to worship the full moon and enjoy the fair at the Dakor village that marks the celebrations of ‘Manektari Punam’.

Traditions, Culture and Rituals of Manektari Punam

In the Manektari Punam Fair, several stalls flooding the streets are commonplace. These stalls at the fair brim with clothes, utensils, toys, accessories for children and women, and food stuff so as to attract the gatherers. Native folk dance and music of Gujarat form the centerpiece of the Manektari Punam Fair celebrations.   

The gatherers and the devotees observe rituals so as to pay heed to the Moon god. Hindu priests perform Pujas and Yagnas to the moon god among other in an effort to appease the gods of nature for the upcoming Autumn season.  In Dakor, there is a famous temple of Lord Krishna, which has historical importance.

Men and women wear traditional folk dresses of Gujarat on this day. Special Gujarati dishes are prepared at home and the family members get together for lunch after visiting temples or performing rituals and puja at their home.

Legend behind Manektari Punam

Long ago, Bholanath, a devotee of Lord Krishna used to walk all along from Dwaraka to Dakor of Gujarat on the night of every Full Moon to worship his favorite God, Krishna. Moved by his devotion, Lord Krishna told Bholanath one day that He has decided to stay at Dakor and thus accompanied his devotee to Dakor. The full moon day in the month of Ashwin is believed to be the day on which Lord Krishna came to Dakor as Ranchhodrai. This is also the story behind the fact that idols of Lord Krishna both in Dwaraka and Dakor are called Ranchhodrai.

इस आर्टिकल को हिंदी में पढ़ने के लिए यहां क्लिक करें

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