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 Chandangaon. 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 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 neighboring 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 the 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 deepaks are lit and the offering comprise of rice, white and yellow flowers, sandalwood, camphor saffron, mishri (crystallized 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 kalash Abhishek. The golden chariot (rath) is drawn by bullocks. Four persons wave chanvars (fly-whisks) over the homage and the site resounds with “bhajans” and religious songs with intermittent slogans of “Shri Mahavir Swami-ki-Jar”. After the ceremony, the procession return with the same grandeur and the image is restored at the vedi of the temple. Chandangaon, 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. From Karauli 176 kms.
Vikram Samwat - Lunar Calendar = Chaitra-K (12)
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