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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Trimbakeshwar pilgrimage draws over 2 lakh devotees

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Trimbakeshwar pilgrimage draws over 2 lakh devotees

Vaishali Balajiwale


For the first time close- circuit cameras were used to keep vigil

NASHIK: Defying security fears in the backdrop of the Hyderabad blasts, more than two lakh people congregated at the temple town of Trimbakeshwar on Sunday and undertook the 20-mile circumambulation (‘pheri’ in the local language) around the Bramhagiri mountain.

As part of an age-old tradition, devout Hindus congregate here on the third Monday of the Hindu calendar month of Shravan and worship Lord Shiva after the pheri. Police kept a strict vigil while close-circuit TV cameras were, for the first time, used as part of the elaborate security measures.

After taking a holy-dip in the pond Kushavarta Teertha and a ‘darshan’ of Lord Trimbakeshwar, people started for the pheri around midnight. With most taking the 20-mile route, they reached the temple only by 9 am. The east door of the temple were kept open in view of the heavy rush. In Nashik, thousands took a holy-dip in Godavari and had ‘darshan’ of Lord Shankara in the famous Kapaleshwar and Someshwar temples.

People started on the 20-mile or 40-mile route before dawn, going round the mountain barefoot, and returned in the afternoon, depending upon the distance. People undertake the pheri on the third Monday of Shravan as the day falls closer to the full-moon night, when it is easier to trace the route in the moonlight.

The path of the pheri crosses through paddy fields, hillock, rivulets and mud patches, But now stalls, selling eatables to cigarettes and gutkhas are all lined up along the route. For many, this is a chance to get on a ‘high’. Till about ten years ago, this was an entirely religious affair. Now, the pheri and the fun associated with it have caught attention of the people from across the country. Now, youngsters constitute the better part of the crowd, who come for the pheri. For them it’s a ‘trek’ to have ‘fun’.

Trimbakeshwar is recognised as one of the sites of 12 Jyotirlingas in the country, hence religiously very significant. Circumambulation of the Bramhagiri mountain, from where the river Godavari is said to have emerged, is part of the tradition. The tradition of going round the Bramhagiri mountain is more than 1,500 years old.

Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation had made arrangements of 350 more buses for Sunday and Monday. The buses, this time round, plied from various bus-stands in the city instead of the central bus stand, reducing traffic-load in the central Nashik.

In Trimbakeshwar, no private vehicle was allowed on the two days of the pheri. All private vehicles were halted at parking area in Khambale, some 10 km from the temple-town. From there on, people had to take the state transport buses. Private taxis and rickshaws were also not allowed.

1 comment:

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