The shravan maas is synonymous with religious festivals and events. It is the considered a very auspicious time for conducting any Puja or other religious ceremonies, and all days of this month are considered very prosperous. The holy month of Shravan as per the traditional Hindu calendar holds great importance at the Baba Baidyanath Dham – the very famous Lord Shiva Temple at Deogharh in Jharkhand. Each year millions of Shiva devotees from different states of India, Nepal and other countries around the world undertake the sacred pilgrimage from Sultanganj to Baba Baidyanath Temple. This month-long fair is known as Shravani Mela. The Baba Baidyanath Jyotirlinga temple, also popularly known as Baidyanath Dham or Baba Baidyanath Dham is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas, one of the most sacred abodes of Lord Shiva. This temple is located in Deoghar in the Santhal Parganas in Jharkhand, India. In 2019, the Shravani Mela starts on Thursday, 18 July and will go on till Thursday, 15 August. This mela or fair continues for about 30 long days and is the biggest and longest continuing religious fair in the world.
The Kanwar Yatra also takes place during the auspicious Hindu month of ‘Shravan”. It is the annual auspicious pilgrimage of the devotees of Lord Shiva, during which the “bearer” called ‘Kanvaria’ visits Hindu pilgrimage places like Gangotri and Gaumukh in Uttarakhand and Haridwar, and Sultanganj in Bihar, to fetch water or “Gangajal” from the River Ganga or the Holy Ganges and then offer the jal at the Baba Baidyanath Dham Temple.
The total distance between Sultanganj and Deoghar is 115 kms and the total journey takes around 4 to 5 days to complete. The devotees, also known as Kanwariyas, get holy water or Gangajal from Sultanganj and then take a bare-footed journey to the famous Baba Baidyanath Dham at Deoghar. The River Ganga at Sultanganj in Bihar, is the only place where it takes a north turn. This is a miracle of Lord Shiva, from whose locks the river Ganga descends on earth.
The Temple at Deoghar, the Baidyanath Dham is the most important pilgrim temples in Hindu religion. This temple is devoted to the worship Lord Shiva and has one of the 12 Jyotiralingams which makes it very important to Lord Shiva devotees.The word “ Deoghar” means the “home of Gods” and this place is also associated with Ravana, the demon king. According to Hindu mythology, Ravana worshipped Lord Shiva here to get his blessings.
The devotees carry the Ganges water on their shoulders and come from far away places barefoot to offer holy water on the Shiva Lingam at the temple. This Lingam is also known as Kamna Lingam – which means this lingam can fulfil one’s desires and wishes. The shravani Mela is organized not too far away from the temple. As Monday is dedicated to Lord Shiva so heavy rush is seen on this day at the Baba Baidyanath Dham Temple.