Shraavani Mela: The Festival Of Wealth & Prosperity
‘Shraavani Mela’ is a major cultural carnival that has prolific significance. It is the longest religious carnival of the world that is celebrated for a month and multitudes of devotees throng the place irrespective of their caste, creed, religion and country. We, human, are the idols of greed who pack bags and baggage for heading to the pilgrimage of almighty. And there, we urge with open arms to fulfill the lap with happiness, wealth and prosperity.
The pilgrimage ‘Deoghar’ is located amid array of hills or hillocks of Chattisgarh where pilgrims gather like bees during Shraavani Mela. When Hindu month Sawan onsets, the tremor begins to take swirl in the hearts of pilgrims to get set go for Baidyanath Dham on feet wearing saffron-clad or cloak. They fetch holy water from around 100 km from the Ganges at Sultanganj. It is the time when Kanwar Yatris, the staunch devotees of lord Shiva, carry Kanwar while bowing down their heads to the Hindu pilgrimage places of Haridwar, Gaumukh and Gangotri in Uttarakhand. Meanwhile, they fetch a pale of holy water of sanctified Ganges River.
This holy eve is vital to celebrate since Hindu saint Sri Guru Raghavendra Swami left this mundane world achieving ‘Videha Mukti’ on Sraavan Bhula Dwitiya in 1671 AD.
This pious eve has become subject matter to enjoy that festive account with pomp and show. The devotees with revered heart knock at the door of ‘deity of all’, or Devadhidev Mahadev.
The market in the way is enticed with all things those carry significance in carrying on rites and rituals as per Hindu tradition.
The junctions or venues to be passed:
5) Jilebiya Mor
8) Kanwariya Dharamshala
12) Darshaniya (the venue from where the Trident of lord Shiva begins to appear)
13) Shiv Ganga Taalaab or tank (just a step behind the shrine Baijnath Dham)
How to get into Deoghar?
A card is to be provided for offering ‘Jal’ to ‘Prabhu Ashutosh or Shiva’. The card will carry exact timing to follow the ritual while passing through Jalsar road.
With the chanting of mantra ‘Bolbam’, Kanwariyas carry ‘GangaJal’ from Sultanganj of Bhagalpur district (the biggest railway station) to Baidyanath Dham which is 109 km away. Devotees have to walk barefooted on the bumpy roads, streams, rivers and sloppy surfaces of Chattisgarh. It seems as the chant of ‘bolbam’ gives them strength to cover the long distance of 109 km that depends on the speed and strength of the devotees.
Belief & Significance:
People think that they will achieve Salvation on provided homage to lord Shiva during this occasion. And for those who want not to be caught in the trap of rebirth, it is a never-to-miss chance for those devotees. Fasting during this month brings happiness in the marital life, children, peace and prosperity. Women do fasting for the long life of their husbands.
The erection of lord’s Shivlinga was an idea of deity Vishnu who wanted the ‘Linga’ to be established at the place beside where one of the 51 ‘Shaktipeethas’ was. Using his divine power, he made the king of Lanka, Ravana, confounded for pissing. So, he de-boarded his ‘pushpak-vimaan’ and ordered a shepherd to hold that divine ‘linga’ until he came back. Every arrow of lord Vishnu’s plan was shot straight at the target. As king Ravana got out of sight for defecation, the shepherd put that ‘linga’ down that got fixed there. On return, the fury of Lanka’s king Ravana was at peak as the linga was stuck to the ground stubbornly. He thumped it deep down into the ground and went away with irked face.
Kanwar: Kanwar is a carrier to carry on the sacred water of river ‘Ganga’ collected from Sultanganj. It is decorated with Tridents, bells, buntings and other decorative materials. And kanwariyas hit the market and its stalls for decorating their kanwars in customise manner despite its night. Some prefer only buntings while some desire to make their kanwar look extremely decorative with vermillion, bells and buntings etc..
Two vessels are tucked in the kanwar which are filled with Gangajal. The sanctified ‘Gangajal’ in one vessel is to be offered to Baidyanath Dham and another is to be dedicated to Vasukinath dham.
Cautions: Kanwariyas have to get their ‘Kanwar’ from the touching of the dogs. Since these creatures are known as ‘Bhairo bam’; thus, the devotees have to be cautious for keeping their kanwars away from their touch.
1) Daak Kanwar or Daak bams: The fastest kanwariyas are known as Daak Kanwars as they are registered with the Sultanganj administration so that their journey would be relieved from hurdles. They run down straight to Vasuki dham and Baidyanath Dham without interrupting a while. Eating and drinking water are to be done while walking down tying ‘Gangajal’ at the back.
2) Khadaa Bam or Kanwars: He takes rest and moves ahead afterwards. But the kanwars should be on the shoulders of another standing kanwariya. Most often, they complete their Yatra within 2 or 3 days.
3) Normal Kanwars: These are the kanwars who hang their kanwars somewhere on the stand. These kanwars cover their pilgrimage within 3 to 4 days.
4) Saashtaang bams or bowing down kanwars: These cover the pilgrimage in the longest time and one man accompanies each such kanwariya for holding ‘Gangajal’. These may take two to two and half months to reach their destination
Bolbam is an automatic religious term coined from Babadham of India.
It has become a part of Indian culture since the day Ravana went to offer sacred ‘Gangajal’ in two vessels to lord Shiva. Following this trend, Lord Rama also adored the same deity.
Manokaamana Shivlinga: The ancient old replica of lord Shiva is popularly known as ‘Manokaamna Shivlinga’. The traditional story briefs that the amputated heart of ‘Ma Sati’ fell down here. Thus, it is also known as ‘Chitt Bhoomi’ or ‘Hridaya Peetha’.