Jatra or Yatra is a religious gathering of the people
Jatra or Yatra is a religious gathering of the people of a village for a festival of a deity or for the birth or death anniversary of a saint or for a particular day or after a certain period of time in a pilgrimage year. The festival which is held on the occasion of the death anniversary of a virtuous person in Islam is called Urus or procession. Devotees come to the fair to pay their respects to that deity or to one or more of the deities in the pilgrimage area or to the pious person. For the worship of deities or good men, bathing, darshan, poojaarcha, shraddha, bhajan, kirtan, sports, dance, fair, procession, race, meal etc. are performed.
Fairs have a unique significance in Indian society. Therefore, the popularity of the fair has remained in the 21st century even today. Jatras are an important feature of Indian rural society and the popularity of this popular culture can be seen in the information given about the village fairs on the calendars hanging on the walls in the houses of Maharashtra. The fair is an important source of socio-cultural history.
Fairs are held near various tombs, tombs, monasteries, inscriptions, old temples, confluences, king’s tombs. Especially these fairs are held on the occasion of birth anniversary of saints, Punyatithi, Kartik Vadya Ekadashi, Mahashivaratri, Pournima, Chaitra Purnima, Ganesh Chaturthi etc. Generally the duration of fairs is from two days to fifteen days. Gavajatra (village Fairs) culture is a very popular cultural practice and is found all over Maharashtra and India. These fairs have an important place in the cultural life of the Indian society.
During the fair, special deities are worshiped. The procession is carried out by placing the deity in a chariot or in a palanquin. If there is a custom, then the marriage ceremony of that deity is also celebrated in the presence of all the devotees during the fair. Since Jatra is mainly a religious festival of a deity or a good person, it is of special importance for the devotees to pay obeisance to the deity, perform poojas, make vows or pay, take prasadagrahan etc. Feeding sugar, jaggery, coconut, sweets, etc., according to the sattvic or tamas nature of the deity as per the customary indication while paying the vow; Offering coconuts, ores, offerings, animal and bird sacrifices; Devotees satisfy the deity by performing Bagadadi self-inflicted forms, offering alcohol, rice liquor, etc. In Bengal, it is customary to offer Kalis animal sacrifices on Navratri.
In Maharashtra too, it is customary to sacrifice goats, hens, etc. in front of some goddesses. The festival of Goddess Poleramm is also important in South India and she is sacrificed to Redya. The pilgrimage to Vithoba of Pandharpur fills Ashadi and Karthiki Ekadashi in large numbers. Warkari and Bhajani congregations from all over Maharashtra and other states come to this fair on foot or in vehicles. This is called ‘Wari’. Ahir merchants decorate their shops during Mary’s fairs. On the day of the fair, the main men and women walk around the market in the fair. On the occasion of the fair, she gets new clothes and beads from her husband. At this time, the old lover of the man comes to him and asks for some reward and if he does not give it, then it is customary to pull his dhoti or curse him.
In Orissa, Puri also has a big procession of Jagannath and people from all over India gather there. The Kumbh Mela held every twelve years or the Ardha Kumbh Mela held every six months at Haridwar, Prayag (Allahabad), Ujjain and Nashik were also very important and large crowds in India. Millions of people gather at this Kumbh Mela and bathe in the holy shrine. Since Kumbh Parva is considered to be very auspicious, it has a special significance in the life of a Hindu.
In addition to the main religious organs of the fair, it also has social, economic and cultural organs. In the fair, there is a large trade of goods made in the surrounding villages and the livelihood of the artisans in the villages is based on them. The fair is attended by a large number of young and old, men and women, dressed as much as possible in the festival, and enthusiastic experience of social life.
In ancient times, there was a great demand for goods and goods made in the area from fairs due to lack of means of transportation. That is why the fair was important as a great market and still is to some extent today. The trade of textiles, utensils, food, sweets, bullock carts and damanas, animals, toys, etc., is carried on in a special way through the fairs. Some fairs in Maharashtra are famous for their trade in certain animals. For example, Kanifnath fair in Nagar district is famous for trade of donkeys and mules, while Khandoba fair in Malegaon in Nanded district is famous for horse trade. Therefore, instead of calling this fair as Khandoba’s fair, people know it as ‘Horse fair’.
The fairs mainly include entertainment programs such as spectacles, Dashavatari plays, wrestling fairs, bullock cart races, circuses, movies, sky watching, roaming wooden horses, magic games etc. The fair includes sale and purchase of various goods and livestock, caste panchayat meetings, political affairs, kirtan, bhajans, discourses etc. Due to the gathering of people from different walks of life, the exchange of ideas and thoughts between them also brings about cultural enlightenment and helps in strengthening social cohesion. The fair is an important meeting place for the wandering tribes throughout the year. The fair is an important place to forge new relationships as they come in contact with each other year after year. Relatives also gather at the fair and match their children’s soirिकes for the occasion. Therefore, the fair is a mixed place for various transactions.
Fairs can be classified according to time and space. Some fairs are limited to a specific region for a limited period of time, while some fairs are spread across the country and are not bound by any region. Fairs can be urban as well as rural. Fairs can be categorized according to time, region and geography; But Gavajatra is associated with these village deities. In some places, village fairs are held around Satpurush, Devi-Devta and Baba Maharaj etc. The study of village fairs has not been done much in sociology. Anthropologists have made a few details about village fairs. Indian sociology, on the other hand, studies Indian society in a dual way, tradition and modernity. This means that the practice of daily rural life is studied from a structural functionalist point of view. Even in the sub-branch of ‘Rural Sociology’, Gavajatra is not seen as an important part of popular culture.
Colonial Village Fairs: In British documents and from the District Gazetteer, there are three perspectives on village fairs: religious gatherings, gatherings of people of different religions, cultural activities of different communities and economic markets. Thus the entries made in these documents as a religious matter or as a cultural transaction are descriptive entries. These documents describe the rituals, poojas, vows, kauls, animal sacrifices, deities and their nature and types of offerings, methods of worship, entertainment, games etc. There are also descriptive records of barter animals, food grains, etc.
Sociological Studies: The study of the Khandoba Fair in Maharashtra by Sonthaimer Gunther by Oriental and Sociological Organs is considered important. According to him, ‘folk religion’ is in a way a structure of religious consciousness. Which can be identified from actual experience. In particular, a fair is a place for various communities and individuals in the community to register their own understanding or vision and social background through the exchange of rituals. About 11,425 fairs are held in Maharashtra every year. The word Jatra is synonymous with the word Utsav. Jatra Brahmins do not fill the chronology but the season and the cycle of farming. It is said that the date of filling the fair is decided by Kaul. Fairs are often associated with reproduction and life. The fair is considered to be a symbol of the ongoing cycle of agriculture and human development. Moreover, at the end of the fair, the prophecy of how it will continue will come to an end with the future of the war, agriculture, rain, etc., which God will come into the body of the devotee.
Although fairs were seen as religious gatherings or cultural practices in contemporary colonial documents, Sonthaimer has given a more in-depth analysis of fairs. They make subtle distinctions between fairs and folklore. According to him, ‘Gods and devotees come to the same level in the fair and participate in community worship; In folklore, however, the form of worship is limited to personal liberation by the abstraction of the individual. ‘ Devotees participating in Sonthaimer’s study come to the fair from tigers and flutes for recreation, sexual services, sticks and bullock cart races, and most people come to the fair to meet their religious needs. He has suggested that devotees from their studies participate in fairs to save themselves from death, danger and disease, worship the deity in the fairs and seek their Mars future. They see fairs as a place of exchange of social background.
Very little study has been done at this level to understand what people understand about the cultural practices of the fair. Very few scholars have taken into account the opinion of the participants about the fair. The fact that the British authorities limited the fair to a market in their reports makes a brief mention of economic transactions and certain cultural features in their reports. Moreover, by emphasizing on the superstitions of the fair, he seems to have underlined the fascination of the mysterious, religious traditions of the local Indian people of the time. According to the British, ‘people come to the fair only for religious ceremonies and business transactions’. The British have not shed any light on the issue of which caste’s cultural practices are produced and reproduced in the village fairs. In fact, he seems to have been of the opinion that the then Indian society was a united backward class. Sonthaimer’s assessment is that at the Khandoba fair, all castes, religions and classes come to the same level.
A look at the records and reports of the colonial British authorities about all the fairs has led to the fairs being held in the form of religious fairs, economic fairs and market-trade centers and cultural fairs, entertainment and sports. According to Anand Patil, ‘On the occasion of the fair, folk artists are invited home and folk art is performed by them. On this occasion, relatives are also invited and they also participate in the joy. ‘ They view fair events on an emotional level; However, they do not take into account the consumption of such occasions and the passing through them, the foundation and reproduction of gender structures.
Just as it is said that a Hindu should make a pilgrimage to Kashi at least once in his life, so it is said that every Muslim should make a pilgrimage to Mecca. All Muslims in the world consider Hajj a success when they meet. Apart from this, pilgrimages to Medina and Karbala are also important in Islam. Chishti Khwaja Muinuddin’s famous Urus in Ajmer attracts a large number of Muslims not only from India but also from outside India. Urus of Nizamuddin Auliya from Delhi is also famous. Like most Muslims in Urus, Hindus also participate in large numbers. In Sikhism, the births and deaths of Sikh Gurus are considered sacred and people of Sikh faith gather there on certain days. Gurudwaras in Amritsar, Nanded, Anandpur (Punjab), Patna (Bihar) etc. were his holy places of pilgrimage. Jerusalem is of paramount importance to both Christianity and Judaism. Traveling to Jerusalem is considered an important religious duty in their lives. Visits to holy sites such as Bethlehem, Nazareth, and Rome are also important in Christianity.
In Buddhism, it is considered prescribed to travel to places like Lumbini, Bodhgaya (Gaya), Sarnath, Kushinagar etc. In Jainism, it is considered preferable for pilgrims to visit places like birth, exodus, knowledge, Nirvana as well as Siddha areas like Sammedashikhar, Mandargiri, Girnar, Pavapuri etc. and holy places like Abru, Shatrunjay Parvat, Shravanabelagola, Champapur etc. Tribal people also perform yatras on the occasion of the birth anniversaries of their gods and ancestors. E.g., Kachargad Yatra (Madhya Pradesh).
All religions, sects, castes and tribes of the world tend to come together at certain places on certain days to pay their respects to the deity, the good man, the river, the lake, the reservoir, the mountain, the village and the places of incarnation, samadhi, birth and death, etc. Yatra is found in all these religions and societies. It is natural that there is a difference in the form of these fairs, in the rituals and in the small number of people who gather.
The four dhams of Badrinath, Jagannathpuri, Rameshwar and Dwarka in India are Kashi, Prayag and Gaya are Tristhali Ayodhya, Mathura Maya etc. Saptapura 12 Jyotirlinga 52 Shakti Peetha Happening. Traveling to that place is considered to be a special blessing in Hinduism.
The changing nature of fairs: The subject of fairs is still important from a sociological point of view. Fairs are an important resource for understanding cultural and social history. Considering a historical journey of fairs, along with the changes in India and the global capitalist economy, the changes in fairs from the time of filling the fairs to the goods and services being sold in them are very clear. We see that these changes have broken the traditional business skills. It also looks like new businesses and skills have emerged. Today, the fair is becoming a meeting place for political affairs, castes and tribes.
The traditional forms of entertainment, objects, food, rituals and cultural practices of the village are changing drastically. It is also found that new modern businesses have given birth to new types of invisible inequalities. Although the fair is a place of simultaneous enjoyment, it is also an area of social inequality and reproduction of religious thought. Until the colonial period, the fair was an annual event or event; But now he sees a permanent form coming from different new programs.
Thousands of fairs are held in different places throughout the year in every state of India. Thousands of fairs are held in Maharashtra every year. The villages, names and districts (in brackets) of some of the important and large scale fairs are as follows: Shri Vithoba (Pandharpur-Solapur), Shri Gyaneshwar (Alandi-Pune), Shri Tukaram Maharaj (Dehu-Pune), Shri Khandoba (Jejuri-Pune). , Shri Jotiba (Wadi Ratnagiri-Kolhapur), Shri Tuljabhavani (Tuljapur-Osmanabad), Hajimalang Urus (Wadi-Thane), Baba Diwansaheb Urus (Bhiwandi-Thane), Shri Ambareshwar (Ambernath-Thane), Shri Mahalakshmi (Mahalakshmi-Mumbai) , Shri Vithoba (Wadala-Mumbai), Hazrat Makhdum Fakih Alisaheb Urus (Mahim-Mumbai), Mount Mary (Bandra-Mumbai), Shri Saptashrungidevi (Saptashrunggad-Nashik), Shri Kshetra Trimbakeshwar (Trimbakeshwar-Nashik), Shri Ram Navami and Rathotsav ( ), Shri Kalikadevi (Taloda-Dhule), Shri Muktabai (Kothali-Jalgaon), Shri Saibaba (Shirdi-Nagar), Shri Kanifnath (Madh-Nagar), Shri Someshwar (Karanja-Pune), Shri Nath Mhaskoba Maharaj (Veer-Pune) ), Shri Kalubai (Mandhardev-Satara), Shri Shambhumahadev (Shinganapur-Satara), Shri Khandoba (Pali-Satara), Shri Siddhanath (Kharsundi-Sangli), Shri Yallamadevi (Jat-Sangli), No. Ta Nath (Vairag-Solapur), Shri Nagnath (Mohol-Solapur), Shri Gadda (Solapur), Shri Nath Shashti (Paithan-Aurangabad), Shri Nagnath (Aundha-Parbhani), Shah Turab Ulq Urus (Parbhani), Shri Parli Vaijnath (Parli-Beed), Shri Datta Janm (Mahur-Nanded), Shri Khandoba (Malegaon-Nanded), Shri Mahasiddha Baba (Dhanora-Buldhana), Shri Balaji (Deulgaon Raja-Buldhana), Shri Sakharam Maharaj (Loni-Akola), Shri Bahiram (Karanja-Baheram-Amravati), Shri Mahadev (Salvardi-Amravati), Shri Vitthal-Rukmini (Kaundinyapur-Amravati), Shri Ranganathaswamy (Wani-Yavatmal), Shri Ambadevi (Kelapur-Yavatmal), Shri Nanaji Maharaj (Kapasi) Apart from Shriram (Ramtek-Nagpur), there are fairs like Bhairavajatra, Bhairavijatra, Parjanyotsav, Gaijatra, Indrajatra, Kumarijatra, Machhindrajatra, Narayanjatra, Ganeshjatra etc.
Most of the scholars have analyzed the Jatra by paying more attention to the same facts from different roles in the social and cultural practices of the Jatra. For example, some have circuses, entertainment and livelihoods; Some are irrational and thrilling; Some have looked at the agrarian culture from different angles, such as the food of the minds of the people, the social equality given by the Abrahamic tradition, the unity and the challenge it has brought to the Brahmanical powers. In short, the complexity of the materiality, symbolism, nationality, religion, law and power of the culture is seen on the surface of the fair.