Dhenkanal: The world-famous Joranda Mela or Mahima Mela, kicked off amid a religious fervour in Joranda on Saturday. Also known as Magha Mela, this is one of the famous fairs of Odisha that is held annually on the full moon day of the Hindu calendar month of Magha (Magha Purnima), in January or February.
A huge number of Mahima Sanyasis (ascetics), devotees, monks, and pilgrims have taken part in Joranda Mela this year to worship Mahima Gosain’s Samadhi Pitha (shrine) in Sunya Mandir (temple). The temple in Odisha was built in the early 20th century; however, the shrine existed since 14th century.
Mahima Dharma, also known as Mahima Panth, is a Hindu sect practiced primarily in Odisha and neighbouring states. The religious movement was based on the worship of God, known as ALEKH, as attributeless. as condemnation of all religious customs set by the rich and upper-class society.
Rituals during this very popular Mela include, the Jhadu Neeti followed by Kheera Lagi Neeti. For the Jhadu Neeti, silver vessels are used to carry water for sacred rituals and gold utensils for sprinkling sandalwood water. Later, seven huge offerings – ‘Bhog’, are offered to the deity.
The saints here are divided into two groups–Koupunidhari Samaj and Bakaladhari Samaj. The significant Jhada Deepa ritual will be conducted at 5:30 pm today. A huge posse of police personnel has been deployed at the Joranda to ensure smooth conduct of the fair.
During the Mela, all pay their tribute at Mahima shrines known as Gadi Mandir, Dhuni Mandir, Akhanda Bati Mandir and Ghanta Mandir. Joranda Mela is observed to mark the day of salvation of Mahima Gosain in Sunya Mandir (temple) and is celebrated in particular by the people of Mahima sect.
The temple is dedicated to the supreme Lord – Sunya Bramha, the shapeless Lord. No image or idol worship is done inside the temple. The great saint had ignited a perennial flame called the ‘Akhanda Dhuni’ at Joranda, which continues to burn till today. A Havan or Yagya is held in ‘Yagna Kund’ (holy pyre) as a part of mela celebrations and is the main attraction for tourists and pilgrims. The Mela continues for three days and thousands of liters of ghee is offered to havan fire.
Special prayers are made to bring peace upon earth and to bring prosperity to people. Devotees chant ‘Alekh Brahma’ in a rhythmic tone and the rhythmic sound engulfs Joranda with it. It is exclusively a mass prayer of ascetics for the welfare of the world, which aims at spreading the message of love and humanity in the name of Mahima Gosain.