Festivals of Gujarat > Bhadra Purnima
The shrine of the Goddess Ambaji located in
the village bearing her name, lies at the foothills of the Aravalli mountain range. It is
the principal shrine of the goddess in Gujarat and its origins are lost in the mists of
time. There is a reference to this location as far back as A.D. 746.The deity is
represented by a triangular VISHWA yantra, inscribed with figures and the syllable 'Shree'
in the centre. There is no idol. This is a fact testifying to the temple's antiquity since
worship of images of deities became popular much later. The temple of Ambaji is recognised
as one of the original Shakti pithas whe according the ancient scriptures written
about the goddess, the heart of the Goddess Ambaji fell to earth, when her body was
dismembered. It is said that the tonsorial ceremony of Shri Krishna was performed at
On full moon days there is a virtual festival at Ambaji,
but the full moon of Bhadrapad is one of the four most important festival days of the
year, when agriculturists go to the temple in their thousands, along with members of the
general public. There is a large fair on this occasion, while in the evening performances
of Bhavai are held, and garba programmes are organised. The devout attend readings of the
Saptashati, the seven hundred verses in praise of the goddess, and visit the temple
for an auspicous view, darshan, of her.
There are other holy places around Ambaji which pilgrims usually visit on such occasions.
One such place is Gabbargadh, a small hill two miles west of Ambaji. There is a pipal tree
at the top, which pilgrims circumambulate.
Kumbhariya, although a small village, is
famous because it holds five Jain temples dedicated to different Jain Tirthankaras.
Koteshwar, three miles away is famous because the hill near the temple of Koteshwar
Mahadev, is the source of the Saraswati river. Pilgrims usually bathe in the kund into
which water from the Saraswati flows.
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