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Chhath also called Dala Chhath) is an ancient Hindu festival dedicated to the Hindu Sun God, Surya, also known as Surya Shashti. The Chhath Puja is performed in order to thank Surya for sustaining life on earth and to request the granting of certain wishes. The Sun, considered the god of energy and of the life-force, is worshiped during the Chhath fesival to promote well-being, prosperity and progress. In Hindu mythology, Sun worship is believed to help cure a variety of diseases, including leprosy, and helps ensure the longevity and prosperity of family members, friends, and elders.
The rituals of the festival are rigorous and are observed over a period of four days. They include holy bathing, fasting and abstaining from drinking water (Vratta), standing in water for long periods of time, and offering prashad (prayer offerings) and aragh to the setting and rising sun.
Although it is observed most elaborately in Bihar, Jharkhand and the Terai regions of Nepal in modern times, and is more prevalent in areas where migrants from those areas have a presence, it is celebrated in all regions and major urban centers in India. The festival is celebrated in the regions including but not exclusive to the northeast region of India, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Chandigarh, Gujarat, Delhi, Mumbai and Mauritius.
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Navlakha Palace (also called Naulakha Palace) is situated in town of Rajnagar near Madhubani in Bihar . This Palace was built by Maharaja Rameshwar Singh of Darbhanga. This Palace suffered extensive damage during the earthquake of 1934 and was not rebuilt thereafter. Now this palace is in ruins. The oldest surviving Madhubani painting (done in year 1919, on occasion of marriage of Shrimati Lakshmi Daiji, daughter of Maharaja Rameshwar Singh of Darbhanga) is found in the gasauni ghar (the room where family deity is kept) of this Palace.
Navlakha Palace was situated near eastern banks of Kamala River . To the north of the main entrance to the Palace campus, was situated a portion known as Durga Bhawan. Durga Bhawan was the southern most part of the Palace. Durga Bhawan faced eastward and had a big pond in its front. On the northern side of this pond, a marble temple of Goddess kali was situated. A temple of Goddess Durga formed integral part of this building. This temple was situated in a huge hall having two-storeyed high ceiling. This hall was also used for purpose of dance and music recitals. The middle part of the Palace had a seven storey high tower.
In the western side of Durga Bhawan, a rectangular building having three courtyard was situated. This building was the portion for ladies. On the northern most part of this building was the white coloured two storeyed palace of Elder Queen (Bari Maharani). On the north of Maharani’s palace another pond was located. This pond was surrounded on the remaining three sides with garden. To the south of Maharani’s Palace was residence blocks of the rest of ladies of royal household. Thereafter, Gosauni ghar (the room housing the deity) was located and then the Palace of Younger Queen (Chhoti Maharani) was located. The palace of Chhoti Maharani was the southern most part of this building. This building was connected to the Durga Bhawan by a two-storeyed corridor. The upper storey was covered with windows having red, blue, yellow and green glasses. The ladies could pass from the ladies wing to Durga Bhawan through upper storey of this corridor and could also witness the scenes, tamasha, etc. held outside or inside the palace campus from this corridor. This corridor had two gates, which were large to let a elephant along with its "Hauda" (a seat, may be with or without a canopy, carried on the back of an elephant or camel) pass through. The complex also contained a temple of Goddess Tripura Sundari, which had painting of the Goddess which seemed to stare at you even if you looked at it from different angles. This painting was done by an artist named Abdul Gani.
Saurath Sabha Saurath is a village situated six Kilometers north east of Madhubani town in Madhubani Ir>. It is famous for being the place where thousands of Maithil Brahaman converged to fix marriage during marriage season. The people gathered at Saurath Sabha Gachchhi (Sabha means congregation and Gachchhi mean orchard in Maithili language). This gathering is an annual event held in the Hindu calendar months of Jyestha-Aasadh. This was an important social congregation where the marriages of Maithil boys and girls are fixed up according to the reading of horoscope by the Panjikars ( Registrars ). The gathering is organised in an orchard covering 22 bighas of land that was donated by the Maharaja of Darbhanga .
History of Saurath village
Original name of the village, as mentioned in 'Tithi Nirnaya' is Saurashtra. This village was originally named Saurastra, literally a cultural and intellectual centre of sau-rastra, nations associated with Janaka , the ancient king of Mithila . Janak is mention in the Ramayana epic as father of Sita. Tradition has it that the svayambara (self-chosen form of marriage) of Janaka’s daughter, Sita, took place in this village.The presiding God of this village is Somanath or Shiva. There is an interesting story which links Saurath to Somnath Temple In Dwarka , Gujarat. According to folk tradition, in AD 1025, Mahmud of Ghazni attacked the famous temple of Somnath, looted the fabulous wealth of the temple, and destroyed it completely. It is believed that Lord Somnath appeared in the dream of the two Maithil Brahman brothers, Bhagirathdutta Sharma and Gangadutta Sharma, and asked them to take His lingam away. The two brothers, following God’s instruction, went to Dwarka and brought the lingam to Saurath and kept the lingam in hiding for a long time. Later the lingam was duly enshrined. Somanath temple at Dwarka is situated in a region known as Saurashtra . In the 18th century a Maithil king constructed here the temple of Somnath. This story is mentioned in the introductory chapter of the official District Gazeteer of Darbhanga (1964, when Madhubani district was part of Darbhanga) by Roy Choudahary, available in all major libraries of India.
Saurath Sabha or Sabha Gachchi
Mithila King Harisinghdeva (1310-1324) introduced Panji Prabandh in Maithila. This applied to Brahimins and Kayasthas. Panji Praband gave rise to an elaborate system of genealogical records, which is known as Panji. This was considered a major social reform at that time and was enforced through royal patronage and supervision. It was proposed that to facilitate marriage and to curb evil practices associated with the fixing of marriages, the marriage people should be allowed to meet father as well as the prospective grooms so that the marriage could be fixed in front of everyone. The Maharaja of Mithila once again sanctioned this idea and accordingly 14 villages were identified to hold such sabhas: Saurath, Khamgadi, Partapur, Sheohar, Govindpur, Fattepur, Sajhaul, Sukhasaina, Akhrarhi, Hemnagar, Balua, Baruali, Samsaul, and Sahsaula. While Saurath maintains the tradition, all other villages have discontinued holding such Sabha.
Tradition of Saurath Sabha
Almost every year, during suddha or auspicious days for the settling of marriages, thousands of Maithil Brahmans gather at Sabha Gaachchi in Saurath. The Panjikaras (the person maintaining "Panji" or genealogical record) plays a very important role in fixing of marriage since it is obligatory for every person desirous of marriage to get a certificate called asvajajanapatra (non-relationship) from a panjikara, stating that there is no “blood relationship”, as per the prescribed rules of prohibited degrees of relationship, between the bride and groom. There is a fixed sitting place - dera - for every village in the sabha. The timing and number of days etc. are decided in a general meeting of the scholars and pandits of Mithila in accordance with the traditional astrological almanac- Pachanga.
Usually it is held for seven to 15 days every year or sometimes twice in a year during the auspicious period (months). After reaching at the dera, the father or guardian of a bride starts searching for a suitable groom with the help of his relatives and a ghatak (middleman). The negotiation takes place in a complete democratic manner since it is held in open, in sight and hearing of everyone around. The grooms also arrive at their respective deras along with their parents. However, ladies are not allowed in Saurath Sabha.
Ekadash Rudra Mahadeva Temple at Mangrauni
This ancient Temple boasts of having rare 11 Shiva Lingams, representing 11 forms (AVATARAM) of Lord Shiva. The Local Priest, Baba Aatma Ram states that no where else you may find such temple. Lord "Shiva" is "Shakti" or Power, popularly known as THE DISTROYER GOD of Hindus., the most powerful God of the Hindu pantheon and one of the godhead in the hindu Trinity. HE is known by many names - Mahadeva, Mahayogi, Pashupati, Nataraja, Bhairava, Vishwanath, Bhava, Bhole Nath, - Lord SHIVA is perhaps the most complex of Hindu Deities. The Temple is popularly known as " Shee Ekadash Rudra Mahadeva Temple.
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A Mundan ceremony
at Jayanagar, Madhubani
"Khaza" sweet meat shop