Often referred to as one of the most sought after holy places of Junagadh in Gujarat, Bhavnath Mahadev temple is situated at the foot of the Girnar Hills. There isn’t much of information on its origin, nevertheless the historic evidences of the temple has been vividly described in many religious sculptures and stories. The place is particularly famous for the Bhavnath fair, which is visited by devotees from around the world. The temple has been believed to have stood here at Junagadh from ancient times. Bhavanath is a small village located in the state of Gujarat in Junagadh, India. The temple is located in the neighbouring area of Girnar mountain range which is near to Girnar Taleti. From Girnar Taleti one has to reach the temple by foot climbing up to the Girnar hills.
The Bhavnath Mahadeva temple existence dates back to the ancient era and its story is found in the Puranic era. The temple is dedicated to worshipping Lord Shiva and it is believed that the Shiva Lingam present here was born out of the divine intention of making this place, a place of worship of Lord Shiva. As per the story about the place as mentioned in many Hindu religion scriptures, Once a while Lord Shiva nad his beloved Parvati were crossing the Girnar hills and then inadvertently their sacrosanct garment fell on the Mrigi Kund and from then this place became an auspicious location to worship Lord Shiva. To celebrate the purity of the place, even today, naked sadhus here take bath in the Mrigi Kund before the celebration of Mahashivaratri. The Bhavnath Mahadev temple itself is so ancient that the story of its origin is not known to people.
Every Year at the temple two key festivals are celebrated which include Maha Shivaratri and Lili Parikrama.Maha Shivaratri
Every year at the time of Maha Shivaratri in the month of February or March, the temple witnesses a festive mood wherein devotees enthusiastically worship Lord Shiva and take his blessings. As per the Hindu religion, at the midnight of the day of Maha Shivaratri, the place gets decorated and the Naga Sadhus take holy dip into the Mrugi Kund which is believed to be, their way of offering prayer to the Lord Shiva. These Naga sadhus belong to the Dashanami Sampradaya. People of the Hindu religion believe that Lord Shiva on this day comes to visit the temple and watch his devotees. Before the puja gets started devotees go around visiting the Girnar hills and many pilgrims from Gujarat, Kutch and Mewar visit the temple. Sellers from Mathura and Ayodhya sell sacred statues and rosaries which attract not only tourists from India but also from other parts of the world. The Naga Sadhu performs Hatha Yoga which should not be missed during the visit. During the time, the whole place gets filled with auspicious music, tungis and turis and the Naga Sadhus sitting on to their elephants, holding in their hands the religious flags of the Hindu culture reach the temple, which is followed by a palanquin laden with an embellished statue of Lord Dattatreya reaching to the temple.Lili Parikrama
Lili Parikrama is held in the Bhavnath Mahadeva temple during the month of October or November which is the month of Karthik as per the Hindu calendar. The celebration starts after the day of Vijaydashami and it lasts for a period of five days, which concludes on the full moon day. Only after hoisting the Dhaja on the temple, the Lili Parikrama gets started, which is, making the circular travel of about 36 km all around the Girnar Mountain. The travel covers all the widest forest reserves, the rugged terrains and several other sacred places in the nearby area. It includes going about from the Bhavnath Temple to Jina Bawa Ni Madhi, Hanuman Dhara, Malvela, Bordevi and at the end returning to the Bhavnath Temple. Lili Parikrama of Bhavnath mahadeva temple is same as the Lili Parikrama of Govardhana Mountain in Vrindavan. People believe that Lord Dattatreya at this time himself, comes down on to the earth to give blessing to his devotees and he stays here on earth for the time span of five days as long as the festival lasts. Besides that, the place is very suitable for the lovers of nature, as it lets them get in touch with the treasure of nature.
The fair is held during the time of Bhavnath Mahdeva temple in Junagadh in the state of Gujarat at the foot of Girnar Maountain. Girnar is the holy residence of nine Gods or Nathas who are believed to be spiritually uplifted souls with eighty four Sidhas. According to the Hindu calendar, the puja at the temple takes place in the midnight of the Mahashivaratri in dark half of the month of Magh which occurs on 14th day and it occurs somewhere in the month of February. With the start of the puja the Naga Sadhus, start their march sitting on their elephants and a palanquin is decorated which carries the statue of Lord Dattatreya. Unlike the Kumbha Mela, only three groups of saints take part in the holy bath. And the very special thing about the temple is that, Lord Shiva himself is believed to visit the temple on the occasion of Mahashivaratri.
There are special types of arrangements of transportation to facilitate the visit o0f the devotees to the temple coming from various parts of Saurashtra. There is also an arrangement for the devotees with free meals and vendors from Mathura and Ayodhya sell holy beads, idols, rosaries and organize for tea stalls for visitors to get refreshment. The holy beads are sold in the form of rudraksha Malas and also various types of utensils of brass and copper can be seen at many shops on the way.
Timing: Held during in the month of Magh as per the Hindu calendar and in the month of February or March as per the Gregorian calendar.
Location: Is held at the Bhavnath mahadeva temple which is located near Damodar Kund which is 8 km from Junagadh. The city of Junagadh has a major railway station and has plenty of buses connecting almost all the major states. The nearest airport to the temple is Rajkot airport which is at a distance of 110 km.
Facts: on the day of Mahashivaratri at the midnight, in the Akhada which is situated just next to the temple, the ritual of the dance and martial arts programme of Naga Bavas is arranged.
Other Destinations in the Neighbourhood: From the temple, the Gir National park is only 60 kms away and the Porbandar city which is on the west Cost of the state at a distance of about 112 km. The rebuilt temple of Somnath temple is also at a reachable distance from the temple. Moving further, there is the former Portuguese colony of Diu along the coast.
Duration: Five days
Bhavnath Fair: 13th February 2018