#Thread :Khandoba of Jejuri.
Khandoba,the god that is revered by every section of the society in Maharashtra. It is one of the prime deties in this region. The place at which it is situated, Jejuri has immense historical importance but first, let's read about the folklore.
Khandoba is also called as MalhariMartand. (मल्हारीमार्तंड)
It is said that a battle took place between Siva as Martanda Bhairava against the daitya. Malla or the two daityas Mani and Malla.
As familiar from the Purina, the daityas had usurped the three worlds and were ruling over them, in this case from a city built on the Mountain Manicul. The extremely brave daityas or rakshasas set out to kill cows and Brahmans and became enemies of the gods
Indra, Vishnu and the Rushis requested Siva to join and lead them. In the gigantic battle which ensued between the gods and the demons and their armies, Mani and Malla were killed by Shiva,
but at the same time were released from their blindness or bondage and they became forever associated with Khandoba.

The locals tell us various stories regarding Khandoba. The temple of Jejuri is filled with devotees round the year.
The temple is about 13 Kilometres from Saswad city. The temple is situated on a cliff that is to the south of Jejuri. It is about 75 metres high. There are three ways to reach this temple. You will find many vendors as you climb the stairs selling Bhandara.
The east and the west ways do not have any stairs so most devotees prefer to climb via the North Gate. It takes about 400 stairs to reach the top. You will find several temples as you climb. Newlywed couples come here to take darshan of Khandoba.
It is a custom in Maharashtra. According to some historical records, there were about 18 Arch Doors on these stairs. As you enter the last door, you see a beautiful, grand and pristine temple of Khandoba and the 4 iconic Deepmalas. It is also known as 'Sonyachi Jejuri'.
As you face the temple you will see a beautiful and massive bronze tortoise (कासव) of about 20 feet. Just behind it is a large Nandi facing the deity. The entry to the Garbagriha is from the left of this tortoise.
As you enter the garbagriha you will see two sculptures of horses facing the north and the south direction. You will see many murtis like that of Ganpati, Yaksha, Banai, Mhalsa Devi till you reach the main murti.
The beauty of that murti cannot be described in words. Malhari Martand, Mhalsa and Banai are standing there with pride for centuries protecting us. It is a sight to see.
As you leave the Garbagriha from the right side and as you complete the Pradakshina you will see the number of small temples of other deities. Not everything can be explained in words and a #thread cannot justify the magnanimity of this place. !
This place was destroyed number of times in different centuries by many Islamic rulers. But the Hindu rulers rebuilt it time and again. From the times of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj to Bajirao Peshwa, many gave donations to this temples.
But Punyashlok Ahilyadevi Holkar gave this place a new identity. The current temple that we see was not just rebuilt but renewed during her tenure.
She built it like a fortress, so that no enemy would attack it again Her contribution for the revival of Hindu Dharma is unparalleled. As you seat at the top of the fortified structure of Jejuri temple seeing thousands of devotees,you feel blessed to be born in Maharashtra.
Jejuri is a place close to my heart. The historical importance of this place and many places around it is massive. For now, let's end our Jejuri trip here.
We will read the history and travel experience of yet another place next Saturday! Please leave your views about this thread in the comment section.
येळकोट येळकोट जय मल्हार !
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