Shrinath Veer Mhaskoba Festival

By Sudhir Nazare | 2022

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1. “Shreenath Veer Mhaskoba festival is the annual pilgrimage of Lord Mhaskoba Maharaj. It is celebrated in Veer village i.e. 50 Kms from Pune & on banks of river Purnaganga. It overlooks the Purandar Fort at a distance. Festival takes place during the Magh Poornima (full moon of February) & continues for 10 days; the Sunday & the last day being the most prominent of all the events.”

2. Palkis moving towards temple. Devotees come on foot from village Kondit to village Veer with palkis, a distance of 30 kms whilst playing Tutari (regional bugle). “The 10 day festival attracts 10-15 lakh devotees who gather in the temple at Kondit. Some stay for 10 days, some come from village in a traditional bullock cart, cook on a traditional CHUUL i.e. a make shift stove.”

3. Main temple, colour and dholakhs. The red colour that you see is called Bhandara. The Dhangar community popularised the worship of Kaal Bhairava form of Shiva through worship of Shrinath Mhaskoba. Do see marriage of Mhaskoba and Mata Jogeshwari. Marriage is celebrated over 11 days and nights.

4. Palkis, main temple and Saffron Flag. Devotees come from nearby regions.

5. Gulal all over. “Shrinath Mhaskoba Navane changbhala is what devotees chant whilst throwing the red colour in the air. The fleet of the Gods perform a dance form each day which compels devotees to stop by and watch.”

6. Note musical instruments being played. “After the 5th day of the yatra there is a ceremony called Bhaknuk where it is assumed that the deity assumes a devotees body and communicates with the rest of the devotes about rain, ups and downs of village. When the deity is believed to have entered the body of the devotee they perform amazing stunts with swords.”

7. Devotees worshipping the holy sword. Note number of dholaks. The atmosphere must be electric. Captions from Mahesh Lonkar site, who has also clicked super pics. https://www.maheshlonkar.com/shrinath_mhaskoba_festival_DailyProgram.html

8. Sword in hand. “Amidst the chanting and throwing of gulal, spiritual leaders perform Chabina dance with holy sword. They then pronounce the prophecy of the climate and the harvesting prospect of the upcoming year.” This is quite similar to the Haldi Festival i.e. held in October annually near Kolhapur.

9. Balloons, gulal, sword, temple and palkis.

10. This seems like after the sword dance is complete. To see pictures of dance by devotees children included https://www.maheshlonkar.com/shrinath_mhaskoba_festival_TraditionalDance.html

11. Some caption taken from Arun Saha photography https://www.arunsaha.com/

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