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Gugga Naumi Festival

Gugga Naumi is a snake worshipping festival. The religious festival is celebrated all around Haryana in the month of August and September. The sacred festival is also celebrated in other parts of India as well which includes the states of Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab. As the name suggests, Gugga ji is worshipped on the ninth day in the month of Bhadon. In Rajasthan, he is known as Goga ji.

According to the tales, Gugga was a warrior king born in Churu district of Rajasthan. Gugga ji is known to protect against a snake bite and is worshipped in shrines which do not look similar to any religious figure. Gugga Naumi is celebrated in honour of Gogaji, the warrior hero and saint who is believed to protect his deities from snake bites. Also known as Goga, Gugga Pir, Gugga Rana, Gugga Bir an Jahan Veer Gogga among others, Gogagji was the ruler of Dadrewa in Rajsthan. It is believed he ruled around 12th Century AD which makes him a contemporary of another Rajasthani warrior Prithvi Raj Chauhan, Gogga Ji, it is believed was conceived with Baba Gorakhnath blessings, who gave 'Gugal' fruit to Goga's mother Bacchal, and thus the child was named Goga. Another belief states that Goga was so named because he loved cows dearly and looked after them with great care and affection.

Gugga Naumi

The cult of Goga falls within the realms of folk religion which ensures that he has a following among all faiths. Generally worshipped as a demi-god, Goga is believed to protect his followers from snake bites and other types and forms of evils. He is particularly popular amongst followers of Naga cult. Initially a deity in Rajasthan, records suggest that Goga since 17th century is being worshipped in Western Himalayas—probably because of migration from Rajasthan.

Goga enjoys unbridled popularity amongst farmer as snakebite incidents and deaths are frequent occurrence in agricultural farmlands. Amongst Muslims, he is considered to be a peer (saint) who has powers to eliminate the effects of zahar (poison). His shrine, known as medi, consists of a mazar (grave) inside and minarets on all four corners. Devotees worship a black snake (his symbol) on the 9th of Bhadra and roam with fly-flap like object known as chhari around the village where the villagers pay their reverence by offering churma—a dish made of crushed wheat cooked along with jiggery and ghee. Devotional songs known as Pir ke Solle are sang in his honour top the beating of deroos by the Savayian community. People also untie their rakhi on this day to offer it to Gogaji. Goga fair which is held for three days at his at samadhi sathal Gogamedi is attended by thousands of devotees.

Thaneek Pura in Himachal Pradesh is the venue of Gugga Navami. The festival attended by thousands of devotees witnesses large scale fairs and other cultural events is a three day affair. Tale of Guhga ji is recited from Raksha Bandhan to Gugga Naumi when devotees go from door to door collecting grains on Chhat (a wooden umbrella).

Gugga Mela- The highlight of the celebration is the Gugga Mela. It is organized in various cities including Bikaner, Asadpur, Bawal etc. Bamboo sticks with flumes of peacock and a blue flag with colored threads are used as the medium of celebration. The fans carry out a procession on the ninth day with drums across the village. Reverence is offered in the form of “Churma” and “Sevian” by the saints.

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