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Haryali Teej

The month of shravan (Jul- Aug) is the time when monsoon sets well in the plains and hills of north India. The rains start a little ahead of Shravan, and first few days of the season are quite uncomfortable as these are warm and humid. As the rainy season sets in, it becomes pleasant day by day. By the middle of the month (Haryali Amavasya) the season is really enjoyable, we have cool moisture laden easterlies sweeping across the fields. Sometimes it is cloudy, sometimes sunny. We also have long spells of drizzle interspersed with heavy rains. Traditionally it is the time for more and more outdoor activities in the gardens and the woods. In Brijmandal, many rural sports tournaments like wrestling, long jump, high jump, races, hurdle race and others are organized in the make shift stadiums and Akharas. While men folks get busy with their sporting events, ladies and young girls also come out to gardens and enjoy their swing festival along with other outdoor games.


A seasonal peculiarity is that the berries of neem tree ripen in this month. Young girls on the swings just before the month of Shravan therefore sing:


Kachchi neem ki niboli sawan juldee aaiyo re |


Meaning the neem trees are laden with raw berries, it is the time that the month of Shravan is approaching fast. There are so many other folk songs describing the cuckoo’s sweet call in the orchards and the beauty of seasonal blossoms in the gardens.


On the spiritual level the month is largely dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is believed that this was the time when Lord Shiva proceeded to his abode in Kailash along with Godess Parvati after a rather long stint in Himachal (home place of Mata Parvati). A beautiful folk song goes as:


Shiv shanker chale Kailash bundiya parne lagi |


Meaning: as lord Shiva headed for Kailash, it started drizzling. What is the message contained? Is it not an advisory to the Lord to stay back as it is already raining?


We have rituals associated with Lord Shiva coming up at this time. The most revered is the Amarnath Yatra. The holy cave shrine in high Kashmir Himalayas, where a natural ice shivlingam is formed these days, is visited by lakhs of devotees every year. In the plains we have Kanwar mela. Lakhs and lakhs of devotees carry the holy water from the Ganges on their shoulders to the Shiva temples of their villages and offer gangajal abhishek on the Shravan Krishna Trayodashi day. At a still larger plain devout Hindus, ladies as well as gentlemen observe fasting on Mondays in this month, practice austerity and perform worship in the evenings in local Shiva temples.




How the month and the day is celebrated in the temple

Supreme enjoyer as our beloved Thakurji Shri Bankey Bihari ji Maharaj is known to be, His way of celebrating the month is marvelous. For first fifteen days, i.e. up to Haryali Amavasya the summer festival of Phool Bangla (palace of flowers) is continued. Last Phool Bangla of the season is decorated in the evening of Haryali Amavasya. From the same day the preparations for putting up the Hindola (grand golden swing) starts. This swing is a huge palatial structure which is erected on a platform outside of jagmohan. The grandeur and beauty of the swing is a matter to be seen not to be described. A few real pictures of this swing are available in our photogallery.


On the evening of Haryali Teej, Bihariji grace the swing. Along with Priyaji and Swami Haridasji, He moves out of the sanctum sanctorum to occupy the swing in the courtyard. Thakurji is adorned with a green poshak in harmony with nature. The special preparations for Prasad on this occasion are ghevar and pheny. A very large number of devotees throng the temple on this day to have a glimpse of their beloved Thakurji enjoying the swing. The festival is also referred to as Jhoolan Yatra. A sweet composition for this occasion goes as:


Radhe jhoolan padharo re ghir aaye badra |


Here Lord Krishna is suggesting O beloved Radha, look sky is overcast let us go for swinging.


Festival Significance : Jhoola festival
Festival Date (Hindu Calender) : Shravan Shukla Tritiya
Festival Date (English Calender) : Wed, Aug 07, 2024

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