Jumbo chariot cheer amid 'holy' rain

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  • Published 31.05.13

Hazaribagh, May 30: The streets of Hazaribagh witnessed a historic moment this morning when two elephants pulled a 21-feet high chariot.

The gajrath, as part of ceremonies being hosted to mark the pran pratistha of the new Digamber Jain temple at Boddom Bazar near Mahavir Sthan Chowk, was held in eastern India after a gap of 120 years. The last gajrath was held 120 years ago at Madhuban in Giridih, a Jain pilgrim spot.

But what made today’s ritual special was the light rain that Jain spiritual leaders hailed as auspicious. More than 15,000 people from the Digamber Jain community walked with the chariot, which was brought from Lalitpur in Madhya Pradesh along with the elephants. Twenty-one people, who were selected for a special puja on May 25, bagged place on the chariot while two prominent Jain saints Praman Sagar Ji Maharaj and Virat Sagar Ji Maharaj joined the procession.

Sources said 90 people came from Lalitpur to help the chariot roll on the streets of Hazaribagh. “All these people have so far attended 285 religious functions, but they did not find rain at any of the places. Each and every person in the procession got wet, which is a holy sign,” said president of the community Rajkumar Ajmera.

A large numbers of onlookers gathered on both sides of the road as the chariot made its way through Masjid Road, Banshi Lal Chowk, Budhwa Mahadev, and then GGS Road before returning to the jain temple. “About 9,000 people have come to take part in the pran pratistha ceremony of the new temple,” Ajmera said.

The Jains had another reason to rejoice after Hazaribagh municipal board chairperson agreed to name the road from Bengali Durga Mandap to Jain Middle School after Praman Sagar Ji Maharaj.

All ward commissioners agreed to the proposal, which will be passed at the civic body’s next meeting.

Anupam Sinha, an associate of Anjali Kumari, said: “Praman Sagar is from Hazaribagh. His parents reside near Bengali Durga Mandap. He was known as Naveen Kumar Jain before he became a Jain spiritual leader in 1988 and is now referred to as Praman Sagar Ji Maharaj. It’s a matter of pride that a prominent saint of this community is from Hazaribagh.”

In his speech, the saint urged people to get rid of their ego and enjoy the moment without worrying about the future. JVM supremo Babulal Marandi, who attended the function, took Praman Sagar Ji Maharaj’s blessings.