“Smara-garala- KhanDanam mama Sirasi Mandanam
Dehi pada-pallavam Mudaram”
These famous lines is from “Geet Govindam” written by Famous poet Kavi Joydev of ancient India.
There is a very interesting, better to say a spiritual incident behind these lines…
While composing Gita Govindam the poet was busy to write down the eternal love of Radha and Lord Krishna, a thought knocked in his mind but the poet thought how he can describe that… Krishna who is the supreme lord is bowing down to a Gopi ?????…yes the sloka means… Lord Krishna is asking Radha to keep her feet upon His head…so Jaydeva left the idea to pen it down and went to take bath in the river, in the mean time Lord Krishna appeared there in the disguise of Poet Jaydev and asked Padmavati, the wife of Joydev for the palm leaf and completed the verse and went away. after coming back home from river Poet Jaydeva saw the verse is completed and asked her wife how it’s been possible, when he came to know the entire incident he was spellbound and explained his wife how much fortunate she is to get a glimpse of supreme lord.
So, the fair widely known as “Jayadev Mela”(In bengali) takes place every year from the day of Makar Sankranti (In the last day of Paush mash according to Bengali calendar, appro. 14th-17th of January) and continues for three consecutive days,huge number of pilgrimage visit the river and takes holy bath there in the dawn.
The name of the village where the fair takes place is Jaydev after the name of Poet Jaydev and the name of the river where Poet Jaydev used to take bath is Ajay.
Two years ago, that is in 2017 i suddenly planned to visit this fair, last time when i visited is during my childhood days, memories have faded away such a way that they have almost vanished.
Here are some pictures taken in the entrance, the vast area is allowed for parking for the buses and other vehicles….
There are many interesting facts related to this fair…
It’s one of the oldest fairs of India continuing from last more than 400 years.
“Akhra” is a bengali word, “Akhra” is very much similar to Pandals that is “marquee” in English, made of bamboos and tarpaulins, a fabricated structure made for temporary shelter.
Huge number of Akhras can be seen in this fair of different sizes and designs. In every Akhra in Joydev fair two scenarios are very common…there will be a short, medium or big sized stage (depending upon the size of the Akhra) for the “Baul” singers and the rest of the place is for the pilgrimage so that they can take rest there.
To take rest there or to spend night you don’t need to pay anything.
Here are some glimpses of the Akhras…
2.Lunch and Dinner
this is the most interesting part of this fair, here you never need to think for your lunch and dinner, though now a day’s lots of small and big sized stalls are available where you can get different types of foods and drinks including the restaurant items but for this you have to pay whereas the Akhras not only provides shelter to the visitors at free of cost rather the owners of the Akhras (standing in the entrance during the lunch time, Starts from 11 am and lasts till 2 AM approx.) make request to the visitors “Please visit my Akhra and take food here”. These foods are free of cost and you can take as much you want. It’s really not an easy job to arrange food for millions of visitors there for the two times for three consecutive days.
It is said that it’s a very holy and virtuous work to provide food and shelter at free of cost.
Who Make these Akhras?
it’s not only the millionaire businessmen who are behind the Akhras but yes when you visit such a Akhra whose owner is a rich personality so naturally you will find much better arrangements there though there is actually no such necessity of luxurious arrangements because the visitors, especially those who are visiting this fair from last several years are habituated with non-luxurious shelters.
Except the businessmen lots of devotees of Baishnava Dharma arrange these Akhras, like, there is a carpenter in my town who started to beg for money and rice from people in the houses he was working and also begged from other people managing time from his working hours, he started to do this when there were two months left for this fair and he informed everyone that he is doing this to provide food to the visitors of this fair, rest of the money he invested himself and made a Akhra there.
Lunch and Dinner items
now naturally the question will knock into your mind that what types of foods are available there then i must inform the lunch items with several number of preparations is not available there rather in every Akhra the common items are…boiled rice, a preparation of Cabbage, daal(Soup) and condiment and sometime in some Akhras provide sweets.
last year when i visited this fair and was planning to take lunch there suddenly i found a highly decorated Akhra there and when i was entering the arrangement made me surprised and i became more surprised when i finally reached the inner part, beautifully decorated chairs and tables were there…these are very much unexpected to see there coz lunch and dinner have to take sitting in the floor, the owner of the Akhra seeing whom anyone can recognize that he is businessman folding his hand made earnest request to take lunch there, when i asked the reason for such beautiful chairs and tables he informed all these are for the people who find it tough to sit in the floor, specially the old aged ones, though he requested me to sit there but i choose the floor.
Here is the picture of the entrace of That Akhra…
Here is the picture of the owner of that Akhra who gave us a warm welcome and made repeated request to me to use the chair table…
In my next post i will share more interesting facts …
To Be Continued….