The city of Udaipur can be likened to a big lustrous diamond radiating rays of various hues in all directions. No wonder a number of epithets have been used to describe its beauty. It is a city of lakes as it has several azure waterbodies. Its numerous exquisite temples of all sects make it a city of temples. The famous Gulab Bagh and Sahelion Ki Badi have earned it the name of city of gardens. Another name that can be added to this list could be a city of processions. Not the processions taken out by all sorts of parties, unions, groups and the like to press their demands for a High Court Bench or some similar issues or to protest against other matters. The grand religious processions that one sees on the Udaipur roads from time to time give the city a distinct identity.
According to Hindu tradition, a woman performs ‘jalma pujan’ after a few weeks of the birth of a child. So on ‘Jaljhulani Ekadasi’, Lord Krishna’s mother did this ‘pujan’. Now the idols of the Lord are taken to waterbodies and he takes bath in the newly collected rain water. This year Lake City has had a fairly good monsoon but one is reminded of the time
when the lakes were completely empty and water from the temples had to be carried in pitchers for bathing the idols.
Idols of all the gods and goddesses from the temples in the city were taken out for the sacred bath. The ‘palkies’ or ‘bimans’ formed a big procession which was one of the largest of its kind in the town. Most of the idols were taken to Gangaur Ghat, Pichhola whereas the destination for others was Swarup Sagar. Those from temples in Ayad and Sundervas areas reached Gangoudhbhav Kund for the holy dip and some from Goverdhanvilas went to Goverdhan Sagar for the auspicious ritual.
From the Bannathji temple in Janana Mahal of City Place the procession of Bhagwan Gyanraiji, Pitambar Raiji, and Bannathji, was taken out with great pomp and show and flowers were showered enroute. It passed through Bada Chowk and Fatehpol. The bath was given at Rameshwar Ghat on the bank of Pichhola where several rituals were also performed. On this occasion ”panchamrit abhishek” was performed at Jagdish Temple. The idol was attractively dressed and decorated with jewellery. ‘Bhog Aarti’ was done before noon and in the afternoon it was taken in a procession accompanied with bands to Gangaur Ghat. At Asthal
Ashram, Suraj Pole, Dwarikadheesh and Saligram idols were seated in a silver palanquin. Male devotees were shouting ‘Hathi Ghoda Palki’, ‘Jai Kanhaiyalal Ki’, ‘Govind Jai Jai, Gopal Jai Jai’ while ladies were singing ‘mangal bhajans’. Wrestlers of Laxman Singh Akhada demonstrated daring deeds. On the way to Gangaur Ghat, devotees paid respect and offered floweres and coconuts. When the procession returned to the Ashram after a holy dip, the Mahant did ‘Karkpur aarti’ at the main gate. At Baiji Raj Kund, inside Delhi Gate, Thakurji did ‘jal vihar’ in the water of the ‘kund’ where a big crowd of devotees had gathered. There was a big crowd also at Gangu Kund where idols from Laxmi Narain temple, Sutharvada, Charbhujaji temple, South Ayad, Governath temple, Bohra Ganesh Lali Sarai, Hanuman Mandir, Pahada and from temples at Rawatvadi, Anand Nagar and Banjara Basti had come for ‘snan’.
Meda Kshatriya Swarnkar Samaj took out a procession of Thakurji Jagannath Raiji from Sunaraun Ka Chowk, Jagdish Road in the afternoon. From Sitaram Mandir, Hiran Magri, Sector-11, started the proession organized by Shree Agrasen Sahayata Kosh Trust. The Ram Rewadi procession of Dhobi (Vasita) Samaj began from Laxmi Narain Temple,
Moti Chowta. The invitation to attend it were personally delivered well in advance. One speial features was the participation of ‘akhara’ in whih 200 wrestlers displayed their amazing feats. Other participants in the ‘yatra’ inluded Gaur Samaj, Namdev Tank Samaj, Dashora Brahmin Samaj, Maheshwar Samaj, Shrimali Samaj, Agrawal Samaj, Khatik Samaj, Bhoi Samaj, Kasara Samaj, Malviya Lohar Samaj, Mali Samaj, Harijan Samaj, Lakhara and Jeengar Samaj, Kumawat Samaj and Suthar Samaj.
From Ghantaghar to Gangaur Ghat a large number of Ram Rewadis moved in a group. At Jagdish Chowk, they stopped for a while to present their special items and there was a big crowd there to watch them. After a holy dip in the water of Lake Pichhola at Gangaur Ghat they returned to their temples where they were welcomed with ‘aarti’.
Foreign tourists in the city also participated in the celebration very enthusiastically. They danced and sang and took a lot of photographs of this fascinating event.
Jaljhulani Ekadashi is a big event not only for Udaipurites but also for people in the neighbouring areas of Mewar. At one of the main holy places of this region, Sanwaliaji temple on the Chittor road, there was a
‘mela’ for three days. A huge ‘shobhayatra’ procession was taken out and Ramlila was enacted on a big stage. Various cultural programmes were organized. On the first day of the fair, there was a ‘Kavi Sammelan’. The same night there was also a ‘bhajan sandhya’. On the next day another such evening was organized. There was also a fascinating firework display. The final day also witnessed several entertainment programmes. At Charbhuja Mandir at Gadbor Charbhuja, the idol was taken out in a golden ‘palki’. A large number of people from various parts of the state and also places outside it, flocked to the temple. Darshan at the temple started early in the morning. The procession that started at noon reached Dudhtalai at 2 PM where devotees bathed the idol. At 5 P.M. the procession returned to the temple. It was led by priests of the Gurjar community. People danced at the tunes of ‘bhajans’ played by the band. At Eklingji temple, Kailashpuri the idol of Lord Ganesh was taken out in a procession by a crowd of the villagers to Indra Sarovar where traditional rituals were performed.
Jaljhulani Ekadashi is a celebration which is eagerly awaited by people of Mewar. Their religious fervour on this occasion is really worth watching.