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Lakhs throng Ramdevra shrine to offer prayers

Jaipur, Sep 5 : A large number of people have been thronging a small place of Ramdevra Teerth in Western Rajasthan, around 10 km from Pokhran, and being visited by people of all castes and religion. Over 10 lakh devotees from all religions, walk hundreds of kilometres, to offer their prayers here during the annual fair which is currently underway.

While Hindus consider him as Ramdev, Muslims recognise him as Ramshah Pir. For common people, the place is known as a temple of justice where there is no discrimination on the basis of caste and creed.

"Since 14th century Ramdevra symbolises a perfect example of cultural and religious harmony where religion, community and culture have been co-existing and flourishing", says Binjraj G Runicha, a temple trustee, adding people belonging to all religions visit the shrine and seek blessings of Ramdev.

According to him, Ramdevra fair is celebrated with the birth anniversary of Baba Ramdev Ji, who was born as a prince in a royal family in the 14th century and then turned into a saint and took 'samadhi' in the year 1458 AD.

His birth anniversary is celebrated as Ramdev Jayanti on the second day of 'shukla paksha' of Bhadrapada month of Hindu calendar. A huge fair is organised each year to commemorate his birth anniversary. This year, the fair is being organised from September 1 to 14, he said.

Born as a son of King Ajmal, Ramdev is regarded as the incarnation of Lord Vishnu, who worked hard to bring equality among diverse sections of society.

"Last year, around 40 lakh devotees visited the shrine. People came from Maharashtra, Gujarat, MP, Rajasthan, Haryana and Punjab to offer their prayers," said Runicha.

Surprisingly, around 50 per cent of these devotees had come walking, says Jaikishan Dave, a resident of Pokhran, who organises free camps near the shrine for devotees, offering them free meals and massage to so that the pain and blisters they developed while walking can be healed.

"You can see such camps been organised at each stretch of five kilometres by villagers for devotees who are walking, driving, riding in bus towards Pokhran from different states. Fresh-cooked breakfast, lunch and dinner are also served to devotees".

From 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., these camps serve meals, hot tea and milk free of cost to these devotees. Thousands of camps are being organised on the way to Ramteerth at different places. Also, arrangements are made to give them therapies for muscle pain while walking for hours, he adds.

"Last year, we were getting 10,000 devotees each day but the floods this time have kept the numbers in check this time. We are getting 8000 devotees each day in our camps," he says.

The temple complex housing the 'samadhi' of Ramdev at Ramdevra was constructed around Ramdev's final resting place by Maharaja Ganga Singh of Bikaner in 1931. It also houses 'samadhis' of his disciples.

The complex also houses the tombs of five Muslim Pirs, who had come from Mecca to witness the mystical powers of Ramdev.

The complex further has a step-well, the water of which, devotees believe, has healing powers.

Each year, the railways run extra trains to cater to the demands of the passengers coming from different parts of the country.

North western railway senior PRO Gopal Sharma says, "Five special trains are being run this season to accommodate the traffic."

In fact, many hotels and dharamshalas have also come up to accommodate the rising number of devotees, says Singh.

(Archana Sharma can be contacted at arachana.g@gmail.com)

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Lakhs throng Ramdevra shrine to offer prayers


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