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States » North

Temple town beckons tourists on Mahashivratri

Mandi, Feb 14(UNI) The temple town of Mandi, with its pristine grandeur is beckoning tourists and Shiva devotees from across the world for the festival of 'Mahashivratri'.
Temple town of Mandi, situated on the banks of Beas is the land where Hindus, Sikhs and Budhists monks and saints had meditated for centuries.
The Mahashivratri fair will be formally inaugurated by Himachal Pradesh Chief minister Jai Ram Thakur on February 22, 2020 and celebrated in accordance with traditional religious fervor and fanfare.
The Chief Minister will first go to the temple of Bhootnath to pay his respects and then proceed to temple of Madho Rai to whom the sovereignty has been vested since the rule of Surya Sen, who ruled the hill state of Mandi from 1664 to 1679.
According to the history of Mandi, all the 18 sons of the king died during his life time. He, therefore, vested his kingdom to Madho Rai (Lord Vishnu) and the Raja was merely his agent.
The same practice is still continuing. After independence the place has been taken over by the chief minister, who gives the same reverence to Madho Rai.
After the Pooja of Madho Rai, a massive Shobha Yatra, headed by Madho Rai, gods and goddesses, elite of the towns, officers wearing colored turbans , bureaucrats, women and children wearing multi coloured costumes take out a procession in the town from district Secretariat to the sprawling Paddal Stadium, the venue of the International Shivratri Fair.
Over half of the vast stadium is covered with Shivratri Exhibition where attractive and educational stalls from India and abroad are set up to acquaint the hill folk with the latest technplogical advances made by the scientists.
The history of the present Mandi town is also interesting. Long back Mandi town was located on the right bank of Beas and the present Mandi town was a grassland where cattle used to graze. A farmer was astonished to observe that his newly calved cow was not yielding the desired amount of milk. On closer observatin of the cow he saw that the cow was pouring her milk on a particular stone.
The news spread across town like forest fire and also reached the king who personally witnessed this.
In the meantime the Raja saw Lord Shiva in a dream who ordained him to dig beneath the stone. He was astonished to find a large-size stone image of Lord Shiva.
This happened During the fairs of Shivratri. The joy of Raja knew no bounds. He prolonged the fairs for a month. He decided to build a marvelous temple of Lord Shiva on the spot where the stone image of Shiva had been found buried. Today, the same image of Lord Shiva is adorned in the Temple of Bhootnath at the heart of Mandi where thousands of people pray to the Lord.
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