|Bhandara festival(turmeric festival). stone Deepamala (lamps). wannabemaven.com|
|Bhandara festival jejuri - Khandoba Temple near Pune. |
Jejuri, one of the most famous religious places in Maharashtra is about 48 kilometers away from Pune city. Jejuri is a village popularly known as Khanderayachi Jejuri and the temple is on a small hill and can be accessed by ascending steps. During the reign of Shivaji and his father Shahji, it was a well known fort and Shivaji Maharaj used to meet his father here to discuss various war strategies to confront the Mogul rulers who were bent on capturing the Maratha region.
Khanderayachi Jejuri is one of the primary gods worshiped by Dhangar, the oldest tribes in the state of Maharastra. The belief has been that the God never fails to fulfill the desires of devotees who visit the shrine with true devotion and abiding faith. The early construction was in 1608 and additional buildings such as audience mandap -the Sabha hall was built in 1742 . There are two parts in the temple the audience hall - Sabha mandap and Garbagraha.
Actually there are two temples, the first is an ancient temple known as Kadepathar which is difficult to access. It is more than an hour long arduous walk uphill. God Khandoba (Lord Shiva took the incarnation of Khandoba and he came to this spot first on this earth). The other being quite popular and is easy to climb. Built by Late Dada Holkar / Ahilyabai Holkar there are about 450 steps to get to the top. On the way one can see 18 Kamani (big stone invitation doors), and 350 Dipmalas (tall stone oil lamps holders). At the foothills of this
|Khandoba's newer Temple in Jejuri. en.wikipedia.org|
Here the famous festival is called Bhandara, which is being attended by people in thousands. It is a popular rural festival in Jejuri that falls on the day of Somvati Amavasya - no-moon day that coincides on a Monday. In a year, the auspicious day may occur twice, or thrice. It is celebrated by a large section of people including women with religious fervor. This one day festival is marked by hundreds of people throwing turmeric powder on the God's idol, hence the God is referred to as Sonyachi Jejur. According to locals, in particular, Dhangar tribes, Shepard, nomads of this region ''Turmeric is symbolic of Gold.'' Same day the God is taken on a palkhi or palanquin for a bath in the river Karha at the base of the hill. People in thousands witness this holy procession which begins around noon. By 5 PM the deity is taken back to the temple sanctum from the base of the hill.