Khandoba Temple Jejuri, Maharashtra

By Pritam Sakpal | 2022

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1. Front view of Jejuri Mandir. It is the main centre of worship of Khandoba, also known as Malhari Martanda. Khandoba is the deity of many shepherd, warrior, farming and some Brahmin communities. Today all communities visit Jejuri Temple. The temple is on a hill named Jejurigarh, at a height of about 2,300 feet, built-in Hemadpanthi style. Man is throwing Haldi popularly called Bhandara.

2. Jejuri is famous for its Bhandara Festival that you see. Devotees throw Haldi or turmeric also called Bhandard on all. “The bhandara festival takes place almost three times each year. Known locally as ‘Sonyachi Jejuri’ or golden Jejuri, the festival begins with the ‘yatra’ of the idol and culminates in its immersion in the nearby Karha river.”

3. Steps enroute to temple. “One has to cross 7 arches & descend several steps to reach the temple whose very extensive courtyard has walled compounds within which are 63 verandas (roofed porches). This style of architecture is probably the main reason why villagers refer to it as a ‘kot’ or fort. It has 3 entrance gates & devotees have to approach temple from the northern gate.”

4. Temple view. According to puneonline.in, “It was at Jejuri where all the strategic decisions against Mughals were taken by the Marathas. Khandoba is well-known amongst both Vaishnavas & Jain traditions. Khandoba is one of the most popular deities of Maharashtra, foremost centre of worship is Jejuri. Khadoba signifies a warrior king and ‘Kand’ means a sword.” Sometimes Khadoba is identified with Mallanna of Andhra & Mailara of Karnataka.

5. Devotee throw bhandara on Nandi before going to temple. “Divti is the martial symbol of Khandoba. It has the shape of a dagger, doubles up as a lamp.” Jejuri is famous for Sword Lifting competition (with mouth or teeth) called Mardani Dussehra. It weighs 42 kgs & was probably gifted to temple by Maratha Sardars in the 17th century. Those who can hold sword longest is winner. See Video (2 minutes) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLPwyI1GMbA

6. Next 3 pics show Khandoba connect with the Holkars, former rulers of Indore. Entrance to Rajwada, Indore has this board JAI MALHAR. Side board in marble reads Martand Mandir, Old Rajwada (Shivalay). Holkars belonged to the shepherd community that worships Khandoba. So in 1742, Holkars constructed pillars and completed battlements and tank at Jejuri temple.

7. Board outside Rajwada temple. Deity that you see is Shri Malhari Martand, a form of Lord Siva, also known as Khandoba. To see a 7 minute video on visit to Jejuri temple https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lqpdSQeCwR8

8. Close up of deity of temple inside Rajwada Indore Shivalay. Much information taken from other sites. Captions by editor.

9. Another Haldi Festival i.e. celebrated by the Dhangar community at Pattankodoli village near Kolhapur. To see album https://www.esamskriti.com/a/Maharashtra/HALDI-Festival-Kodoli-Kolhapur.aspx

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