Stage set for month-long Chaitra fair at Deotsidh in Hamirpur

Hamirpur: The stage is set and preparations are on for the final stage at the historic Deotsidh Kaswa of Hamirpur district of Himachal Pradesh where the month-long Chaitra fair of Baba Balak Nath is going to start on Sunday next.
Though the actual fair is to start from Sunday next yet thousands of pilgrims have already visited the temple since March 1. A huge rush is seen every Saturday and Sunday because they being holidays.
The temple of the Baba Balak Nath is located atop the hills of Dharsidh range of Shivalik ranges in between the districts of Hamirpur and Bilaspur.
While Babaji who is known to be the incarnation of Lord Kartikeya, the son of Lord Shiva was born in the Shah Talai area of the Bilaspur district, his main area of work took place in the district of Hamirpur and that is why the main Babaji temple is located here.
Nearly fifty to sixty lakh people from across the country and abroad visit the temple every year and pay their obeisance to Babaji for the welfare and well-being of their families and themselves. They offer rotis made of wheat atta, gur and desi ghee, karha prashad made of sooji, sugar and desi ghee and seek his blessings.
Last year the fair was abandoned due to the COVID-19 pandemic and thereafter only the temple pujari was responsible for the puja at the cave as devotees were not allowed to enter the temple premises.
Even when the temple was opened recently, proper SOP was followed and is likely to be followed in the upcoming fair as well.
This temple is managed by a government-owned trust known as Sidh Baba Balak Nath temple trust, Deotsidh since January 16, 1987, under the HP “Hindu Public Religious Institution and Charitable Endowments Act, 1984”.
A tehsildar ranked officer manages the temple affairs and is known as the temple officer. SDM, Badsar under whose jurisdiction, the temple falls is the Chairman of the temple trust and the Deputy Commissioner, Hamirpur is the Commissioner of the trust.
Puja of Shri Baba Balak Nath Ji is performed twice a day. Rot Parsad of “Bhog” is offered to Shri Baba Balak Nath Ji in each puja accompanied by two different aarties.
Since women are not entitled to visit the cave of the Babaji, a special platform had been set up just opposite the cave. During the COVID-19 period when the devotees were not allowed to visit the caves, both men and women had darshan of the Babaji cave from the platform, thereby proving that all were the same in the darwar of the almighty.
The temple trust provides lunch and dinner absolutely free of cost in its langar. Besides, one can also get 24-hour free meals by just asking the temple authorities.
An extra police force and Home Guards have been deployed for security and order during the melas up to June.
The entire administration of the temple has been divided into four sectors for better management of mela and the temple would remain open round the clock during the entire duration of the mela.
Extra mobile toilets have been arranged for the convenience of the devotees and visitors.
Similarly, proper arrangement for water has also been made at the places where there are no taps. Pitchers and water tankers are also used for the supply of water supply as and when needed.
A visit to the temple showed that the authorities are taking no chances for the successful organisation of the fair which is the main source of income for the temple.
The temple is being cleaned two times a day and the premises were properly disinfected.
The town is presenting a festive look with the arrival of new items for the benefit of the pilgrims visiting the temple. Shops of roates have also come up and they will sell their products as per the rates fixed by the temple administration.
Meanwhile, carrying of arms and ammunitions in the entire Badsar revenue subdivision has been banned till the end of the fair and no private langars (free food) will be allowed for the safety of the pilgrims.
However, pilgrims would be provided with food inside the temple complex where a new langar bhawan (campus) has come up.
Debasweta Banik, the Deputy Commissioner of Hamirpur had recently visited the temple town and had long talks with the trustees and other officers dealing with the fair.
She told them to work with utter dedication and zeal for making the fair a huge success.
Talking to UNI she said that all facilities will be provided to the people visiting the temple town and adequate security measures would also be made for their security and safety.
She said that the fair would start with the flag hoisting ceremony that would be followed by havan and other puja activities.
The Deputy Commissioner urged the people to abide by the COVID-19 guidelines and wear facemasks and maintain social distance during the fair for their own safety and well-being.