Modi to visit Junagadh on Maha Shivaratri

March 5th, 2008 - 1:33 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Narendra Modi

Junagadh (Saurashtra), March 5 (IANS) Narendra Modi will become the first Gujarat chief minister to take part in the annual Maha Shivaratri fair held here at the Bhavnath Mahadev Temple at the foothills of Mount Girnar. Modi, who returned to power in December, is expected to reach the shrine on the morning of Thursday, by when crowds are expected to soar up to half a million. Shivaratri falls on Thursday.

A five-car train from Rajkot to Junagadh, 97 km away, is being run until Saturday. The Gujarat State Road Transport Corp is running more than 130 special buses from different parts of Saurashtra to the Bhavnath temple.

The five-day festival of Bhavnath began March 1 with the ‘dvaja’ ceremony (flag hoisting) atop the temple, situated seven kilometres from the city.

The “maha puja” of Lord Shiva takes place at midnight at the temple on the 14th day of the dark half of the month.

On Maha Shivaratri night, naked Naga sadhus from different parts of the country move towards the fair holding flags and tridents and blowing conch shells.

A palanquin carrying a decorated idol of Lord Dattatreya precedes them. Once the procession ends, the Nagas take a dip at the Mrigi kund in the temple premises.

The Bhavnath Mahadev Temple is surrounded by many equally ancient and holy places, all of which snugly rest at the foothills of Girnar. Maha Shivaratri is one of the important annual fairs of Gujarat.

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