This is that time of the year when flocks and flocks of people flee their homes, nudge up against each other in trains and buses and on their rooftops as well to visit Junagadh and have fun in the Maha Shivratri Mela Junagadh. Yes, that time, of day and night merriment is here. So why are still in front of your digital screen? Get out of your home, if you are from Junagadh then go straight to Bhavnath and if you are not then let’s see if you are lucky enough to get your way through the Mela crowd!
But before you go for it, read this article and get your brain fed with all that you should know about the importance of this festival.
As usual, we will start with the History of Maha Shivratri celebrations and just like every other Puranic stories, there are several different myths associated with this celebration. Let’s take a plunge into them one by one.
One story depicts this celebration as the marriage of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.
Another one goes by stating it as the day when Lord Shiva drank the poison found in the ocean during Samudra Manthan and stored it in his throat which made it turn blue giving him the name Neelkanth thereby saving the world.
One such story is about a hunter who was waiting for hunting his prey on the branch of a Woodapple Tree(Bilipatra) and to leverage a deer for hunting he started throwing leaves from the tree on the ground and unknowingly the leaves were falling on the Shiva Lingam that lay there. Pleased by his patience and persistent efforts, Lord Shiva being “Bholanath”, blessed the hunter.
Yet another myth goes on to say that it is celebrated as the day when Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu got into a fight about who is supreme which angered Lord Shiva and he punished them by taking the form of fire that spread across the length of Universe.
We now know the stories behind celebrating Maha Shivratri so let’s move on to the part that we Indians enjoy the most – Celebration!
On this day, people go to Jyotirlingas and worship Lord Shiva. They also perform meditation and Yoga and fasting for the entire day thereby practising introspection which is symbolic to Lord Shiva. It also symbolizes the transition from darkness and ignorance to enlightenment. People also do Jaagran(staying awake for the entire night and devoting it to Lord Shiva). At major Hindu temples, various artists perform Nrutya dedicating it as a worship to the Lord of Dance – Natraj.
Now let’s take you to the prime attraction of this festivals – Mela and so we’ll tell you about one of the very famous Mela that takes place in India – Bhavnath Maha Shivratri Mela.
In Junagadh, Shivratri Mela spans over 5 days and ends on the day of Maha Shivratri. People from all over Gujarat and Marwad come to Junagadh during this time to enjoy in mela and worship Lord Shiva and offer penance in the place where he is believed to have taken bath, Damodar Kund and they take bath in this water praying to wash away any sins they have committed.
Even in this mela, the supreme attraction is gained by Naga Baba which makes this fair unique. On the night of Maha Shivratri, there is a procession of these Naga Baba where they display their various talents. Naga means nude and so are these sages. They practice nudity as they believe that the whole world is their home and the sky is their cover so they don’t need external cover in form of clothes. At midnight this procession proceeds to Bhavnath Temple where they take bath in the Mrugi Kund and it is said that the ones who are true Sadhu will not appear after the bath!
Isn’t this mysterious?
So what do you say? Want to be a part of this 5-day festival celebration and feel proud of our rich culture? We bet you do!
Stay tuned with us for more such stories and photos from the fair.
Hope you enjoyed reading this and share your insights in the comments and let us all get enlightenment this Maha Shivratri!
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