Bhavnath Mahadev Mela is celebrated near the Bhavnath Mahadev Temple, situated at the foothills of Mount Girnar, in the Junagarh city of Gujarat. The fair takes place on the auspicious occasion of Mahashivratri. It is organized in the month of February and lasts for five days. According to Hindu mythology, Girnar is believed to be the abode of the nine Nathas. They are the immortal Lords and Protectors as well as nine of eighty-four Siddhas, the spiritually elevated souls. All of them are said to be residing in the temple in their invisible spiritual bodies.
On the festival of Mahashivratri, the mahapuja (grand worship) of Lord
Shiva takes place in the temple. The worship begins at midnight, on the
14th day of the dark half of the Hindu month of Magh. As soon as the
prayer ceremony starts, the Naga Babas, living nearby, march towards the
Bhavnath Mahadev Mela. They are naked sages who can be seen seated on
elephants, holding flags in their hands and blowing shells. The place is
washed over by the tides of spirituality and devotion.
The fanatic sages show their gratitude towards the Lord by shouting
aloud His name and seek His blessings in return. According to the belief
of local people, Lord Shiva himself visits the shrine on this holy
occasion. The pilgrims are served free meals by the organizers. Special
stalls selling idols, rosaries or holy beads, utensils of brass and
copper, sweets and fruits flank the venue of the fair. These stalls are
brought here especially for the Bhavnath Mahadev Mela, by the vendors of
Ayodhya and Mathura.