Fast, Fairs and Festivals of India Fast, Fairs and Festivals of India
Location : 135 Kms from Jaipur, Rajasthan.
Feature : Jain Festival
Time of the festivity : March - April
The Shri Mahavirji Fair is held from Chaitra Shukla Ekadasi to Baisakh Krishna Dwitiya (March-April) to commemorate the memory of Shri Mahavir Swami, the 24th tirthankara (saint) of the Jains, in Chandan Gaon. Among the visitors to the fair are the principal followers of Mahavir Swami - the Digambar Jains, who come from far and wide to pay homage to the saint at the shrine.
The Mahavirji temple is located in an enclosure known as 'Katala' and houses the image of Mahavir Swami believed to have been dug out by a leather worker from 'Devta-Ka-Tila', a nearby hillock. The temple also has images of other Jain tirthankaras and the idol of Bhairon is installed as the guardian of the shrine at the door. There is a 'Man- Stambha' (tower of glory) made of marble in front of the temple. Mahavir Ji
Members of any community can come to pay homage. Consequently, the shrine attracts devoted pilgrims of all castes and creeds from neighbouring areas as well as from Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Maharashtra, Delhi, Bengal, Assam and Bihar.
The temple is maintained by the chief priest called 'Bhattarak' and assisted by 'Brahmacharis' .These members of the Jain community conduct various rites and rituals. The pilgrims gather at the temple to worship, meditate and seek the blessings of the saint with folded hands. The image of Mahavirji is washed early in the morning, the ritual being called 'prakshalan'. This is followed by 'pujan' and 'ashta-argha' (eight oblations). In the evening, 'aarti' is performed. Ghee lamps are lit and the offerings comprise of rice, white and yellow flowers, sandalwood, camphor, saffron, 'mishri' (crystallised sugar), and dry fruits.
The fair of Mahavirji reaches its peak on Baisakh Krishna Dwitiya when the image of the deity is taken to the bank of river Gambhiri in a grand procession for 'Kailash Abhishek'. The golden chariot (Rath) is drawn by bullocks. Four persons wave 'chanvars' (fly- whisks) over the image and the site resounds with "bhajans" and religious songs with intermittent slogans of 'Shri Mahavir Swami-Ki-Jai'. After the ceremony, the procession returns with the same grandeur and the image is restored at the 'vedi' of the temple.
Permanent shops exist at the site, selling food grains, cloth and general merchandise. Temporary shops spring up at the fair and cater to the needs of the visitors. Food stalls, toy shops and fruit vendors are a common sight. A merry-go-round, a circus and plays offer recreational outlets and students of Jain schools stage plays based on Jain philosophy.