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News Flash : 1. Sheetla Mata Mandir Gurgaon Uttrakhand Relief


Location and boundaries-The district lies between 27 39' and 28 32' north parallels of latitude and 76 42' and 77 33' east meridians of longitude, forming the extreme south-east corner of Haryana State. It stretches towards the outlying hills of the Rajasthan tablelands, and is very irregular in shape.

It is bounded on the north-west by the Rohtak district and on the north-east by the Union Territory of Delhi. On the east, river Yamuna separates it from the Bulandshahar and Aligarh districts of Uttar Pradesh. On the south, it adjoins the Mathura district of Uttar Pradesh and the Bharatpur district of Rajasthan, on the south-west the Alwar district of Rajasthan and on the west the Mahendra garh district. In fact, it touches inter-State border on three sides and is connected with its own State only on the west and the north-west.

Gugga PIr's shrine is distinguished by its square shape with minarets and domed roof and is always known as a mari. Some of the places where the festival is celebrated in the Gurgaon, Pataudi, (tehsil Gurgaon), Nai(tahsil Firozpur Jhirka), Bissar Akbarpur, Rethaura and Hathin (tahsil Nuh).

Mela Masani Mata or Sheetla Mata ka Mela - Chief among the fairs of the districts is that of the goddess of as Seetla Mata ka Mela, it is held in village Gurgaon, suburb of Gurgaon town, at the temple of Seetla Mata. This goddess is believed to help her devotees to ward off smallpox. There is a temple of another goddess int the village. She is called Choganan Mata on account of her temple being located near the main crossing()chogan of the village. It is believed by some people that she is the younger sister of the goddess Masani. This temple is stated to have been built by the sweepers of the village when they were not allowed access to the temple of Masani Mata. It is, however, now visited now visited by all shades of visitors without any distinction of caste or sub-caste.

Tradition has it that Kirpai or Lalita, the wife of Dronacharya used to live in Keshopur, a village in the Union Territory of Delhi. He visited the village daily to see his wife, where she busied herself in attending to the children, especially the diseased ones. People called her Mata(Mother) out of affection and respect. Once Dronacharya, Detained by circumstances, could not go to see her for some time. The ideal wife, unable to vear the separation, burnt herself to death in the spirit of a true SATI. A temple was built in her honour by the villagers and she began to be rememberd as Mata Sitla or Mata Masani, i.e. the godess of smallpox.

It is said that more than three centuries ago, Masani Mother appeared in a dream to Chaudhri Singh Ram alias Singha, a fiefholder of village Gurgaon. She expressed her desire to leave Keshopur and come to Gurgaon. she bade him build a place for her and authorised him appropirate all the offerings made to her.

To the south of the village, lies a pond near the temple of Dronacharya. It is said that Singha selected this spot as the site for installing the statue of goddess Masani but the goddess urged him in one way or the other not to trespass on the territory belonging to the Guru. Therefore, Singha built the shrine to the north of the village. The village was divided into two portions known as 8 biswas and 12 biswas. Singha lived in the portion of 8 biswas whereas the shrine was set up in the portion falling under 12 biswas.

The legend goes that even after Singha had brought and installed the goddess Masani, after her own heart's desire, at village Gurgaon, the residents of Keshopur continued to dispute the claims of Gurgaon folks. This controversy was put at rest during the time of Begum Samru, the Governor of Jharsa under the Mughals. Her child who had contracted smallpox was cured after being consecrated in the prescribed manner before the goddess Masani at Gurgaon. It was thence finally established that the goddess had begun to live at village Gurgoan.

The present temple building is said to have been built by Jawahar Singh, the chieftain of Bharatpur, in memory of his victory over Delhi for which he invoked the blessings of the goddess. A pond is attached to temple now. A few people cite the name suraj Mal of Bharatpur in place of Jawahar Singh.

The image of the goddess is of mixed metal with gold polish and weighs about 4 kilograms. It is kept in a wooden casket which is placed on a small marble platform in the temple. The statue remains in the possession of the pujari(priest) who moves it to the shrine only when it is needed. The main purposes for which the devotees come to pay homage and make offerings is to entreat the goddess to help them ward off smallpox. This purpose is achieved by requiring the people to visit the temple for the performance of important ceremonies. This is done by a ceremony known as jal dena; the devotees spend a sleepless night at the temple chanting hymns and songs in honour of the goddess. A section of the visitors come for the mundan ceremony (the first hair-cutting ceremony) of their children and offer the crop of hair at the altar of the goddess. Among other visitors married couples also come to invoke the blessings of the goddess for a happy married life.

The fair is held on two days in a week .i.e Monday and Tuesday. The name of the shrine has spread to distant places. The pilgrims now come from all over India. Men and women are almost equal in number. The attendance is at its peak during the month of Chaitra (March-April) when all the roads leading to the village and the village site are found full of bustling humanity. More than one lakh people are estimated to visit the fair on this occasion. It speaks of the faith that people, especially the simple country folk, still repose on traditional fairs and miraculous cures. The railways and the Haryana Roadways authorities provide special trains and buses from Delhi to Gurgaon and back for the convenience of the pilgrims. The attendance is considerable during the three succeeding months, and then again in the Asuj navratras. However, the month of Srawana (July-August), members of the Scheduled Castes like Seperas and Sansis alone comet to attend the fair, other castes generally do not attend in that month.

In addition to this fair being celebrated in village Gurgaon, it is also held for one day at Tihara in the Gurgaon tahsil and at Tigaon (as Sitla Devi Fair) in the Ballabgarh tahsil. Known as Budho Mata ka Mela or Mela Budho Mata, it is held for ione day at two other villages of the same name, .i.e Mubarikpur, one in the Gurgaon tahsil and the other in the pataudi sub-tahsil.

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