Popular Jejuri Khandoba temple near Pune

Bhandara festival(turmeric festival). stone Deepamala (lamps). wannabemaven.com
Bhandara festival jejuri - Khandoba Temple near Pune.
 An interesting aspect of the Indian subcontinent is basically the culture and tradition may be homogeneous among people living across India, but if you observe them closely, they vary from place to place even within the same state. The hill tribes and nomads, though they are Hindus, their methods of worship varies from region to regions. Their faith in their worship is deep rooted, no matter where they live. Hence individuality is the hallmark of Hinduism within the purview of basic concept: God is one, no beginning, no end and is omnipresent. Regardless of our sincere efforts and hard work,ultimately  He is the one to decide our fate - ''Karma''in our journey through various phases of our lives. 

Jejuri, one of the most famous religious places in Maharashtra is about  48 kilometers away from Pune city. Jejuri is  a village popularly known as Khanderayachi Jejuri  and the temple is on a small hill and  can be  accessed by ascending  steps.  During the reign of Shivaji and his father Shahji, it was a well known fort and Shivaji Maharaj used to meet his father  here to discuss various war strategies to confront the Mogul rulers who were bent on capturing the Maratha region.

Khanderayachi Jejuri is one of the primary gods worshiped by Dhangar, the oldest tribes in the state of Maharastra. The belief has been that the God never fails to fulfill the desires of devotees who visit the shrine  with true devotion and abiding faith.  The early construction was in 1608 and additional buildings such as audience mandap -the Sabha hall was built in 1742 . There are two parts in the temple the audience hall - Sabha mandap and Garbagraha.

 Actually there  are two temples, the first is an ancient temple known as Kadepathar which is difficult to access. It is more than an hour long arduous walk uphill.  God Khandoba (Lord Shiva took the incarnation of Khandoba  and he came to this spot first on this earth). The other being  quite popular and is easy to climb. Built  by Late Dada Holkar / Ahilyabai Holkar there are  about 450 steps to get to the top. On the way one can see 18 Kamani (big stone invitation doors), and 350 Dipmalas (tall stone oil lamps holders). At the foothills of this
Khandoba's newer Temple in Jejuri. en.wikipedia.org
temple  is the  Holkar tank.

Here the famous festival is called Bhandara, which is being attended by people in thousands. It is a popular rural festival in Jejuri that falls  on the day of Somvati Amavasya - no-moon day that coincides on a Monday. In a year, the auspicious day may occur twice, or thrice. It is celebrated  by a large section of people including women with religious fervor. This one day festival is marked by hundreds of people throwing  turmeric powder on the God's idol, hence the God  is  referred to  as Sonyachi Jejur. According to locals, in particular, Dhangar tribes, Shepard, nomads of this region ''Turmeric is symbolic of Gold.'' Same day the God is taken on a palkhi or palanquin  for a bath in the river Karha  at the base of the hill. People in thousands witness this holy procession which begins around noon. By 5 PM the deity is taken back to the temple sanctum from the base of the hill.