Gugga Naumi is an important festival observed in many parts of Himachal (especially the Una district), Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan. The festival is named after Gugga Pir, a venerated religious leader, who was born at Dadreva village in Bikaner, Rajasthan. Gugga Naumi is normally celebrated at a specific traditional time known as “the 9th Bhadon”, which falls sometime between August and September every year.
Gugga Naumi: Jahar Veer Gogga Festival
The sage of Gugga Pir is an interesting one. He was actually born Bachraj, a scion of the princely ‘Chauhan Rajput’ clan, and later was said to have wed Princess Kumari Sirial, daughter of a prominent local chieftain. Gradually, however, after a rapid chain of events, he renounced worldliness and adopted sainthood, garnering many followers along the way. Now, Gugga Pir is revered by both Hindus and Muslims alike throughout North India.
The festival, in fact, commences a week before the stipulated day when a large procession, bearing Gugga Pir’s idol, winds its way across the streets. The idol is known as ‘Gugga Kichhari’ and comprises a solid elongated bamboo rod embellished with wreaths, flowers, colorful scarves, and related paraphernalia. Besides the teeming devotees, the procession also sees the participation of ‘Bhagats’, senior religious priests. One Bhagat supervises the procession upfront while five other Bhagats make up a travelling musical troupe. This troupe constantly sings folk tunes eulogizing Gugga Pir and plays religious music with the aid of traditional Indian instruments like the dholak, manjiras, deru (a diminutive percussion instrument), and chimtas.
The procession sustains for a week until it finally culminates on Gugga Naumi, when special prayers take place.
Rituals during Gugga Naumi:
On Gugga Navami, devotees worship the idol of ‘Gugga ji’. He is seen riding a blue colored horse and also holds yellow and blue flags. In some regions, the rituals of worshipping Lord Goga starts from ‘Shravana Purnima’ (that day of Raksha Bandhan) and continues for nine days, until Navami. For this reason it is also known as Goga Navami. Devotees recite Gogaji katha at the end.
After completion of puja ceremonies, rice and chapatti are distributed as Prasad among the devotees.
Various pujas and processions are organized on this day in Guga Mari temples. On Goga Navami, Hindu devotees also tie Rakhi or Raksha stotra to Lord Goga as an assurance of protection from any injury or harm.
Also during the time of Goga Navami elaborate fairs are held at various places in the rural regions of Northern and north-western India. Among all the fairs and melas, the Guga Navami Mela in the district of Hamirpur, Himachal Pradesh is the largest and most popular.
Significance of Goga Navami:
Goga Navami is one of the significant Hindu festivals celebrated in honour of Gogaji. As per the legends, Guga is known as powerful Rajput prince who possessed supernatural powers to control venomous snakes. There are different versions of his stories that are narrated on this day as a part of rituals. Some of the stories describe his divine birth, his marriage, family life, wars, his incredible art of healing snake bites and his disappearance from Earth. Hindus believe that by worshipping Him on this day will protect them from snakes and other evils. Moreover there is also a popular belief that Lord Guga protects children from all harm. Hence married women perform pujas on Goga Navami and pray to Him for the well-being and log life of their children. Some childless married women also pray on this day to be blessed with progenies.
Goga Navami Festival Dates:
|2022||Saturday, 20th of August|
|2023||Friday, 8th of September|
|2024||Tuesday, 27th of August|
|2025||Sunday, 17th of August|
|2026||Saturday, 5th of September|
|2027||Thursday, 26th of August|
|2028||Monday, 14th of August|
|2029||Sunday, 2nd of September|