Bihar: Covid-19 shadow on famous ‘Malamas’ fair in Rajgir

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BY MANOJ PATHAK
Rajgir (Bihar), Sep 20 (IANS)
According to Hindu beliefs, no auspicious function is held in the month of ‘Malamas’ (Adhimas), but there is a tradition of holding the world-famous Malamas fair in Rajgir in Bihar’s Nalanda district in which a large number of saints and devotees gather. However, this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the entire fair location is deserted due to the ban on the event.
The once-in-three-years Malamas started on September this year. On this occasion, the international pilgrimage event at Rajgir was inaugurated on Friday amid Vedic chanting and flag hoisting.
According to ancient belief, during Bala Malamas lasting for one month, 33 lakh gods and goddesses stayed in Rajgir for a whole month. In the Saptadhara Kund of the Brahmakund complex, 33 lakh goddesses were invoked by worshiping with Vedic chanting while following social distancing. During this time, ‘Mahaarti’ was also organised in the Kund complex by Panda Samiti Rajgir.
For the first time in history, ‘Malamas’ started in a very simplified environment.
Sudhir Upadhyay, spokesperson of Rajgir Tirth Panda Samiti, says that in this month, all 33 crore gods of Hindus migrate to Rajgir.
In this historical and religious city, many men and saints have made it their abode. For this reason, lakhs of saints visit here during Malamas. On the first day of Malamas, thousands of devotees used to take a dip in the hot pool of Rajgir and worshipped Lord Vishnu. But bathing is also banned this year.
It is believed that a person who worships and donates to Lord Vishnu in Rajgir during the ‘Malamas’ gets his sins washed off and becomes part of the heavenly realm.
In the scriptures, ‘Malamas’ is described as the thirteenth month. It is religious belief that this additional one month is called ‘Malamas’ or extra month.
Ravi Jyoti Kumar, MLA of Rajgir, says that due to the fair not being held this time during the ‘Malamas’, the government has suffered huge revenue loss as well. During the ‘Malamas’, business worth crores of rupees used to be transacted.

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