Fast, Fairs and Festivals of India Fast, Fairs and Festivals of India
Location : Tehsil Nokha, Bikaner District, Rajasthan.
Feature : In Memory of the founder of Bishnoi Sect Jambeshwar Ji.
Time of the festivity : February - March
The Jambheswar Fair is held in the village Mukam of Tehsil Nokha, Bikaner District, twice a year on Phalgun Budi Amavasya and Ashvin Budi Amavasya, in memory of the founder of the Bishnoi sect Jambheswar ji. His teachings are condensed into 120 sabdas (sayings) which propagate the cardinal virtues of self-control, truth and non-violence. He taught 29 articles of religion and hence the term Bishnoi from Bees (twenty) and Nau (nine). The Bishnois consider him to be an incarnation of Vishnu. Near the Nokha Town, there are two temples of Jambheswar ji, one in the village Mukam (mukam literally means abode because he resided here) and the other on the sand dune of Samarthal. The temple at Mukam has the samadhi of Jambheswar ji and a life-size portrait adorns the central hall. On the ground floor, there are five rooms, one of which is used to store grain offered by the visitors and the rest serve as a guest house. The grain which is offered at the temple is used to feed pigeons, peacocks and birds throughout the year at fenced platforms beside the temple, built specifically for this purpose.
A large fair is held in February-March on Phalgun Budi Amavasya every year. It is attended by people from Punjab, Delhi, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, apart from the local visitors.
The second fair which is a smaller, localised affair, is attended by people coming in from neighbouring villages on camels, bullock carts and even on foot. The number of shops is lesser and comprises mostly of sellers from Nokha, Himmatsar and Bikaner. They sell general merchandise which caters to the needs of the rural people-foodstuff, hides, cloth etc.
Worships and Rituals
The fair places no barrier to the participation of any caste or community and anyone can visit the shrines and pay homage. The visitors go to the temple at Mukam and the sand dune at Samarthal (where Jambhaji used to preach) and take part in the worship and rituals. It is customary to take some sand from the tank called Talai at Mukam and deposit it at the foot of the dune at Samarthal.
Worship is performed at both these shrines by a priest or Sanyasi belonging to the Bishnoi community. A Deepak (an earthen lamp) is kept lit round-the-clock at both the temples. Havans are held to the accompaniment of Ved mantra and Sabdas of Jambheswar ji. Aarti is sung in his praise to a melodious tune. Sanyasis deliver sermons which are heard with rapt attention by the gathering.
The ghee that is offered amounts to quintals and is used in havans and for lighting the perennial deepaks at both the shrines. Among the Bishnois, it is customary to offer the first ghee made from the milk of a cow to the shrine.