Khandoba Temple is one of the most popular pilgrimage sites in Maharashtra, and the Khandoba Yatra that happens during the Bhandara festival at the temple has great importance among the devotees of Khandoba, who is regarded as the manifestation of Shiva and also known as Martanda Bhairav or Malhari. There are two main Khandoba temples in Maharashtra. While the first Khandoba Mandir is located in Jejuri, 50 kilometers from Pune and another is located in the Pali town of Raigarh district in Maharashtra. They are known as Jejuricha Khandoba and Pali Khandoba, respectively. However, the one in Jejuri is more popular among the devotees where Khandoba Yatra takes place thrice a year.
About Khandoba Temple
There are over 600 temples of Khandoba in the Deccan region. The Khandoba Mandir in Jejuri, as well as in Pali, is dedicated to Lord Shiva in the form of Khandoba. The Khandoba temple has idols of Khandoba and both of his wives Maasai Devi and Banai Devi, to his left and right. Lord Khandoba is called by various names such as Bhairava, Malhari, Martanda, Mairala, and Mallukhana. While Khandoba is mostly devoted to Maharashtra, there are devotees in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka as well. He is also regarded as the kuldevta or the family god in these regions. In addition to Hindus, Khandoba is also worshipped among Muslims who know him as Mallu Khan and by the Jains and Lingayats.
The Significance of Khandoba Yatra
The Khandoba Yatra is performed from different parts of Maharashtra to Jejuri, the town located 50 kilometers from Pune, fondly called ‘Sonyachi Jejuri’ or ‘Golden Jejuri’ due to turmeric play that happens during the Bhandara Festival. The Khandoba Yatra usually falls two or three times a year during the Somvati Amavasya. However, the major yatra, also known as Jejuri Yatra, is a six-day long festival happening in the Hindu month of Margashirsha. This colorful festival is celebrated by throwing plenty of turmeric over the devotees who dance and sing at the foyer of Khandoba temple. The town of Jejuri echoes with the sounds of ‘Jai Malhari’ as thousands of devotees flock to worship Lord Khandoba.
When is Khandoba Yatra?
The Khandoba Yatra at Jejuri or Bhandara festival takes place on Somvati Amavasya, the new moon day that falls on Monday (Somvar). In 2020, Khandobachi Yatra is and will happen on three dates: March 23, 2020, July 20, 2020, and December 14, 2020. However, the biggest Jejuri Yatra would start in the month of December 2020 in the Margashirsha month on the Hindu calendar.
How to Reach Jejuri
Although a small town, Jejuri has a lot of religious significance and sees a large number of people coming for Khandoba darshan. Hence, the town is well-connected with major cities in India. Jejuri is located 50 kilometers from Pune, and one can reach here merely by taking a bus from Pune. One can also take a bus from Mumbai to reach Jejuri. There are MSRTC buses as well as private bus operators offering services to Jejuri that are listed on the redBus website. All you need to do is to choose Jejuri as your destination, enter a suitable date of journey, and you’ll find enough bus options to choose from.
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