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JEJURI (18 o 16’ N., 74 o 09’ E.; ht. 2,273 ft.; a. 1 sq. mile; p. 3,036) in Purandar taluka, a station on the Southern Railway meter-gauge line between Pune and Bangalore and 32 miles from Pune, is a famous place of pilgrimage. It is more a village than a town and derives its importance from the religious fairs held in honour of the god Khandoba, who is also called Mhalsakant, Martand-Bahirav, Malhari . It is situated on a high level and is surrounded on all sides by fertile and cultivated lands. Khandoba has two temple at Jejuri, one older than the other, both built at the end of an outlying spur of the Purandar range which here sinks into the plain. The new one is larger and stands close to and about 250 feet above the village. The smaller temple, however, is believed to be more sacred. It is built on a small plateau called Kadepathar two miles off and about 400 feet higher. The old village site, now deserted, was to the east of the hill on which the new temple stands. Close to the south of the old village site is a reservoir, 37 acres in area, built by the last Pesava, Bajirav II (1796-1817), and called the Pesava’s reservoir. It is round and encircled with a massive stone wall. The water which is used for irrigation is drawn off through an elaborate mass of masonry. Stairs lead to sluices which draw the water off at different levels. The reservoir has several small bathing cisterns or hauds and a shrine of Ganapati. In the low ground beyond the Pesava’s reservoir, and fed by soakage from it, is a well or spring called Malhar Tirth, bathing in which forms part of the pilgrimage ceremonial. On the N. W. of the new village a square stone reservoir called Holkar’s Tank, of about 20 acres, was built about 1770 by Shri Ahilya Devi Holkar. Between this reservoir and the village stands a temple to Mahadev built in memory of Malharrav Holkar. The chief object of worshipis a ling, behind which are statues of Malharrav and his three wives Banabai, Dvarkabai, and Gautambai, all in Jaipur alabaster.
The plateau of Kadepathar is 11½ acres in extent, and, besides the older and more sacred temple of Khandoba it contains several other temples and shrines and houses occupied by priests and temple servants.
On the profile of the spur between the upper and lower temples sacred spots are marked by shrines and arches.
The chief festivals are four, all between December and April : (1) from the bright fourth to the bright seventh of Margasirsa (November-December); (2) from the bright twelfth to the dark first of Pausa (December-January); (3) from the bright twelfth to the dark first of Magh (January-February); and (4) from the bright twelfth of the dark first of Caitra (March-April). Large fairs are held at the time of festivals and attract pilgrims from as far as Khandesh, Berar, and the Konkan. Two smaller festivals, s a rule attended only by people from the immediate neighbourhood, are Somavati-Amavasya (no-moon Monday) whenever it comes, and Dasara, the bright tenth of Asvin (September-October).
The temple priests are Guravs, not Brahmins. The worshippers are chiefly Marathas, who come from all over the surrounding districts and even from greater distances. The most important of the pilgrims are the Marathas from Khandesh and Berar. The Berar Marathas attend the Pausa (December-January) fair. The pilgrims from Khandesh come in Margasirsa (November-December), Pausa (December-January) and Magh (January-February); they do not come in Caitra (March-April). The fishing Kolis from the sea coast are also worshippers of Khandoba and come occasionally in large numbers. When they do come, they attend the Magh (January-February) fair.
In 1662, Sahaji, father of Sivaji, visited the Jejuri temple among other places in Sivaji’s territory. In 1845 disturbances of Raghoji Bhangria the insurgents carried off the litter of the god with holy image but brought it back. In 1946 the holy images was stolen away, but it was recovered with its right hand cut.
A municipality established in 1868 to carry out sanitary arrangements during the religious fairs.