Yogi offers ‘First Khichdi’ of Makar Sankranti
Gorakhpur: The month-long khichdi mela (fair) of Makar Sankranti festival will begin at the Gorakhnath Temple in Gorakhpur with the offering of the first ‘Khichdi’ to the deity by the Goraksh Peethadhishwar Yogi Adityanath, who is also the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh.
After the first offering by Yogi, the Khichdi sent by the King of Nepal will be offered to the deity as per tradition followed by the offerings made by common people.
Offering Khichdi to Baba Gorakhnath is a centuries-old tradition celebrated with gaiety and religious fervour at the Gorakhnath temple. Innumerable number of devotees from across UP, Bihar, Nepal and also from other places throng the temple to offer Khichdi.
According to a legend, Baba Gorakhnath had once gone to Jwala Devi temple in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh. The Goddess Jwala Devi invited him over dinner. Seeing the ‘tamasi’ (non-vegetarian) food, Baba Gorakhnath said that he takes only rice and pulses received as alms. His request was fulfilled.
Later, Baba Gorakhnath moved to Gorakhpur located in the foothills of the Himalayas. After placing his ‘Akshay patra’ (bowl for alms) on the confluence of the Rapti and Rohini rivers, he started his spiritual penance. The people started putting rice and pulses in it but could not fill the Akshay patra. For them, it was like a miracle of Baba Gorakhnath. And since then, the tradition of offering khichdi to Guru Gorakhnath continues in Gorakhpur.
Devotees from far off places gather at the temple to celebrate the occasion every year. First, they take holy bath in the Bhima Sarovar of the temple. The Khichdi fair lasts for a month from the day of Makar Sankranti in the temple premises.
As per Hindu calendar, Makar Sankranti is dedicated to the Sun God. On this day, the Sun begins its journey from Sagittarius to Capricorn beginning the start of warmer days. The Sun, which is believed to be the source of energy, transits in all 12 zodiac signs throughout the year. The entry of the Sun from one zodiac to another is called Sankranti. In this sequence, when the Sun enters Capricorn from Sagittarius, then the auspicious period of Makar Sankranti comes. In Hindu tradition, it is considered as the best period to start all auspicious works.