calendar icon Mon, July 20, 2020

Celebrated in the quiet and slow-paced town of Jejuri, only a one-and-a-half-hour drive southeast of Pune, the Bhandara Festival sees devotees from Maharashtra and Karnataka come here to seek the blessings of Lord Khandoba at the Khandoba Temple. Drenched in love and devotion for their lord, thousands of devotees come here to cleanse their souls and purify their hearts amidst sounds of devotional chanting and splashes of turmeric that turn the entire town a golden yellow. And this is what makes the Bhandara Festival such a unique celebration of faith and belief.

As legend has it, Khandoba was believed to possess the qualities of Lord Shiva, and his two wives – Mhalsa and Banai were seen as the incarnations of Goddess Parvati and Ganga. Revered mainly as the ancestral god in Maharashtra, Khandoba is also worshipped by the Dhangar tribe, herdsmen, shepherds, farmers and the nomads from Maharashtra and Karnataka. While some offer turmeric, bel fruit leaves and vegetables, others offer puran poli (sweet flatbread) or a bharit rogda made of onion and brinjal. The beliefs of his devotees might be different, they might even come from different geographical regions and schools of thought, but all these differences become united during the festival – via a beautiful hue of haldi or turmeric.