Festivals of Gujarat > Bhavnath Mahadev Fair
Famed Jain temples atop
Girnar hills.The city of Junagadh, situated at the foot of Mount Girnar, is famous as the
site of many historical events, dating from the remote past. The Edicts of Asoka (3rd
Century B.C.) are inscribed on a rock at Junagadh. The peaks of Girnar, the highest of
which is the Gorakhnath (3,666 ft), are dotted with numerous Jain temples. The Bhavnath
Mahadev Temple, located at the foot of Girnar, is so ancient that its precise, origins are
unknown. The Bhavnath temple is surrounded by many equally ancient and holy places.
Buddhist caves are also found in and around at Upperkot, Junagadh.
Mahashivaratri at Bhavnath
The fair during
Mahashivaratri is held for five days and takes place during February, and the events
associated with it are colourful indeed. The mahapuja of Lord Shiva takes place at
midnight, in this temple, on the 14th day of the dark half of the month of Magh. When the
puja starts, naga bavas (naked sages) living nearby move towards the fair seated on
elephants, holding flags, and blowing conch shells, sounding tungis and turis. It is
firmly believed that Lord Shiva himself visits the shrine on this occasion. Girnar is said
to be the abode of the nine Nathas, who are immortal, and eighty-four siddhas or
spiritually elevated souls all of whom also visit the temple, in their invisible spiritual
Visitors are served free meals by the organisers.
Special stalls sell idols, rosaries brought by vendors from Ayodhya and Mathura, utensils
of brass and copper, sweets and fruits.
From Junagadh one can
journey easily to nearby Porbandar (112 kms away) on the west coast, where Mahatma Gandhi
was born. Equally close by (88 kms) is Veraval, where the rebuilt temple of Somnath,
stands proudly. Further along the coast is the former Portuguese colony of Diu. Sasan Gir,
the last habitat of the Asiatic lion is only 60 kms from Junagadh.
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