Sunday, November 7, 2010
Marthanda Bhairava Temple - Jejuri
Name : Marthanda Bhairava Temple. It is also known as Khandoba, Mhalsakant or Malhari Martand.
Jejuri in Purandhar district, located to the southeast of the Pune city in Maharashtra. The town is known for being the venue for one of the most revered temples in Maharashtra.
Regarded as the ‘God of Jejuri’, Khandoba is held in great reverence by the Dhangars, one of the oldest tribes in India. The temple is an ornate structure with little resemblance to other temples of the region. It is on the summit of an unpretentious hillock with a wall running around it like the ramparts of a fort.
A series of over 200 steps of dressed stone lead up to the temple. Flanking the steps on both sides are tall, tapering stone pillars with provisions for lamps.
In the innermost shrine of the temple, Khandoba appears as a linga, but what is strange is that his counterpart, Mhalsa Devi too appears as a linga. The two lingas are covered with silver masks, and dressed colourfully in all finery to symbolise divinity.
Khandoba, above anything else, is acknowledged to be the God who answers prayers, who fulfils every wish. The worshipper, in turn, is counted upon to take a vow before the deity that if the wish were granted, his or her gratitude would be demonstrated through an offering, penance or sacrifice.
The offering may be in various forms, simple gestures like sponsoring a special puja for the God, circumambulating the temple a number of times in obeisance or donating money to erect another deepmala.
A sword competition is held every year at the temple on the occasion of Dusshera. The one who lifts the sword of the temple high up, for the maximum time, is declared the winner.