Kapil Muni Fair
Location : Bikaner
Legend : Sage Kapil Meditated Here For The Redemption Of Mankind.
Time : Kartik Purnima (January)
The Kapil Muni Fair is the biggest fair of Bikaner district held on
Kartik Purnima at Kolayat -- originally Kapilayatan -- named after the sage Kapil who is supposed to have done 'tapasya' (meditation) here for the redemption of mankind. Kolayat is located in an arid area. There is a lake with 52 ghats shaded by Banyan trees around the lake.
A temple devoted to Kapil Muni is located on the Kapil Muni Ghat and it has a marble statue of the saint. A large number of people come to Kolayat to redeem them by taking holy dips in the Kolayat Lake throughout the year, but it is considered very auspicious to take a dip on Kartik Purnima.
The lakeside is dotted with temples. Ghats named after these temples allow privacy to the pilgrims, with some ghats meant only for women. Visiting Kolayat has been considered to be a 'tirtha' or pilgrimage of great importance and it is believed that one day's stay at Kolayat benefits as much as 10 years spent at any other sacred place.
The legendary Maharishi Kapil and the Kapilayatan Lake find mention in the Puranas and Kapil Muni is believed to have descended from Lord Brahma. Worship in the temples is performed by Sewag Brahmins whose priesthood is hereditary. 'Aarti' is performed twice daily and 'bhog' is offered. On the day of Kartik Poornima, the day of the
Kapil Muni Fair, 'deepmalika' is performed in the evening. People float lighted lamps in the sacred lake as a part of the rituals and this creates a beautiful sight.
Offerings are made at the temples consisting of coconut, 'batasha' (sugar drops), dry fruits, 'mishri' (sugar cubes) and cash. Songs extolling the virtues of Kapil Muni are sung ardently by the devotees. People belonging to diverse castes and communities gather at the fair. They come to take a holy dip, pay homage at the shrines and also for trading in cattle and a host of other products.
HOW TO GET THERE
Kolayat is situated 50 kms. to the south-west of the city of Bikaner. There is a straight railway route from Bikaner to Kolayat. Regular buses ply from Bikaner to Kolayat.