I am Nagar – II


As I had mentioned in my previous post, the principal deity of all Nagars is Lord Hatkeshwar.

Every year Hatkeshwar Patotsav, also known as Ochchav, is celebrated by all Nagars. The Hatkeshwar Jayanti falls on the Chaudus (fourteenth) of the Chaitra month in the Hindu calender. It is believed that Lord Shiva incarnated as Lord Hatkeshwar on this day.

The celebrations include puja, and a procession called Palakhi no Varghodo.

The day begins with decorating the deity and then begins the puja. There are recitations of Rudrabhishekh, recitals of the Shivmahimna Stotra and so on. In the evening, the Lord is taken around town in a varghodo (procession) symbolizing the arrival of the Lord in the lives of Nagars. After that, all of the people gathered go to the Hatkeshwar temple to perform puja.

The Patotsav is almost always a proper Nagar feast.

Memories: Personally, I attended the Ochchav every year whilst I was in India. I have fond memories surrounding this day. Even though it almost always happened that the Ochchav fell on a school day, so we were not able to attend the entire day’s puja but we made sure that we went to the temple as soon as school was done. All the Nagars in the city converged to meet at the old city Hatkeshwar temple.

Everyone took to the streets as the procession got ready to make a round of the old city. The Palkhi was preceded by kids dressed up in a variety of costumes ranging from Lord Shiva to fairies. Some were on horses while others opted to walk in procession. Following all of this, came the Palkhi carried on the shoulders of men who in no way showed a sign of pain from carrying the doli. The others walked chanting the name of Shiva, along with filling the air with gulal and giving out oblations to the believers. Something like this

After the Palkhi was taken back to the temple, we visited the temple and prayed before heading home. In the back of our minds, these words keep reverberating

Namami Natkeshwaram
I bow to you, Lord Natkeshwar
Bhajami Hatkeshwaram
I worship you, Lord Hatkeshwar

Jai Hatkesh

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