SHRI MAHAVIRJI FAIR

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Location: 176-km From Jaipur, Rajasthan
Religious Significance: To Commemorate Mahavirji, the 24th Jain Tirthankara
Tourist Attraction: Rath Yatra
Duration: 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.

Shri Mahavirji Temple, Rajasthan, Jaipur, Rajasthan 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.

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 . WORSHIP AND RITUALS
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 RATH YATRA
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.

SHOPPING AND RECREATION


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.

HOW TO GET THERE

Rail: Chandan Gaon, the site of the fair, is 6.5 kms away from Shri Mahavirji Railway Station of the Western Railway on the Delhi -Mumbai broad gauge line. It is 18 kms. from Hindaun, 29 kms from Karauli and 176 kms from Jaipur.
Road: Buses ply regularly between Jaipur, Hindaun and Shri Mahavirji and buses and tongas transport the passengers to the temple.



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