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Becharaji or Bahucharaji is a temple town and taluka capital in Mehsana district of Gujarat state, India. The town is associated with Hindu goddess Bahuchara Mata worshipped as Bala. It is one of the three Shakti Peethas worshipped in Gujarat, the other being Ambaji and Pavagadh.
|• Type||Municipal corporation|
|• Body||Nagar Palika|
|• Density||230/km2 (600/sq mi)|
|• Official||Gujarati, Hindi|
|Time zone||IST (UTC+5:30)|
|Sex ratio||952 (Taluka) ♂/♀|
The town's name is derived from Bahuchar Mata or Bahucharaji Mata, a popular deity or 'Devi' of Hindus. Earlier this town was a small village. Although, it is still a Gram Panchayat. Its development is mainly due to temple of Bahuchara Mata. Another reason for its development is the fact it was declared as Taluka Place or Taluka Panchayat and centre for shopping for peripheral villages. For the development of temple of Bahuchar Mata, Sayajirao Gaekwad extended the Gaekwar's Baroda State Railway (GBSR) that was under the control of his state up to Becharaji.
This taluka comprises population of around 1 lakh. A majority of the population follows Hindu religion, although there are some villages with Muslim population. Among Hindus, the main communities are Patel, Brahmins, Jain, Charan, Rabari, Bharwad, Thakore, Khant, etc.
Becharaji town is small in area. Earlier, it was divided in two parts, namely, Upali Bajaar (Upper Market) and Nichali Bajaar (Lower Market). However, now it is developing at rapid pace and many new complexes are being developed, like 'Dayanand Complex'. There are many dharamshalas in the town. Apart from this, many shops of different commodities are found there. "Becharaji APMC" and "Becharaji Taluka Kharid-Vechan Sangh or Becharaji Taluka Purchase-sales Union" are situated in the town. [State Bank Of India] and "Mehsana District Cooperative Bank" are having their branches in the town. Most of the hotels and restaurants are situated on the highway.
The Temple of Bahuchara Mata is located in mid Bechraji town. It is 110 km from Ahmedabad and 35 km west of Mahesana. The main temple fort and gate was built by Manajirao Gakewad in Samvat 1839 or 1783 AD when he was Suba of Kadi. He gave 3 villages for the maintenance of the temple. These villages were subsequently taken over and Rs. 10,500/- per year was paid towards maintenance, which is merged and is now under Government control. For the development of this temple Sayajirao Gaekwad extended the GBSR railway that was under the control of his state up to Becharaji.
The centre temple was built by Maratha Fadanvesh. It has been renovated. Learned Saint Kapildev built the varakahdi temple and was then renovated by Kalari king Tejpal. That temple too has been again renovated.
On night of every Punam (15 th day of the month as per Vikram Samvat calendar) and on 8th day of Aso sud and Chaitri sud police with arms pay Guard of Honour to Mataji's procession. It is also considered as important place for the 'Hijras (Eunuchs)'.
'Bahuchar Mata' is a Hindu goddess. She was a daughter of a charan, Bapal dan Detha. She and her sisters were on journey with a caravan when a marauder named Bapiya attacked their caravan. It was common practice in charan men and women if overpowered by their enemies, not to surrender but to kill themselves. Shedding the blood of charan was considered heinous sin. When Bapiya attacked the caravan, Bahuchara and her sisters announced tragu and cut their breasts. Legend tells that Bapiya was cursed and became impotent. The curse was lifted only when he worshiped Bahuchara Mata by dressing and acting like a woman. Today Bahuchara Mata is considered patroness of—and worshipped by—the hijra community in India. Her followers believe in non-violence and consider killing of all animals and creatures a sin.
Shri Bahucharaji Mataji's temple is one of the Shakti Piths where Daksha's daughter Ma Bhagwati Sati's hands had fallen. This place is a sidha Shakti Pith. In this complex of religious importance, there are three main temples viz. Adhya Sthan, Madhya Sthan and Main Temple. In the main temple, gold studded Bala Yantra made of crystal is being worshiped. Among the ten main goddesses in the whole universe, Shri Balatripur Sundari Shri Bahucharma is a sidh shakti. From religious point this place has the same importance as other religious places like Ambaji, Pavagadh, Dhwarka, Somnath, Palitana, Girnar and Dakor.
Shri Bahucharaji Mata rides rooster. During Solanki dynasty period in Gujarat, rooster was a symbol on the state's flag. There are many miracles and legend associated with the Mataji's rooster. Devotees of Mataji consider rooster sacred and worship it.
Parents desirous of children and parents of new born children having physical disability or for their well being offer various offerings to Mataji with devotion.
Chaul kriya (babri) is one of the 16 sankskars as per Hindu religion and is performed by offering hair of children near the Mansarovar lake. Its being said that even Lord Krishna's babri was also performed at this lake.
Shri Bahucharaji Mata is kuldevi for many castes in Gujarat and they all come here with devotion and reverence and carry out chaul kriya (babri) of their children.
Besides the three main temples within the temple complex, there are others temple of Shri Ganesh, Shri Narsangveer Mandir, Shri Neelkanth Mahadev, Shri Saheriya Mahadev, Shri Sidhanath Mahadev, Shri Gutaeshwar Mahadev, Shri Bhuleshwar Mahadev, Shri Kachrolia Hanuman, Shri Chachar. Opposite Shri Chachar there is Hanuman temple, Havan place, Akshayapatra ni deri, cock house, Mataji's seat, Dipmala, and guest houses with decorative arches and pillars.
In a true sense Bahucharaji is a religious place where Tripur Sundari Bahucharaji resides at adya Shakti place. At this place Ma Bahgwati came personally to help her devotees.
- Pratham Pragatya (occurrence)
As described in Puranas, area surrounding Bahucharji was under the control of Dandasur demon. His capital was Rajpura (Detroj). Bahuchraji Mata in the form of young girl killed Dandasur and re-established vedic religion.
- Second Pragatya
On Bhagvan Kapil muni and Kardam muni's prayers she gave darshan to them.
- Third Pragatya
In the forest of varakhadi (boru), shepherd boys had cooked rice in small earthen pots to be offered as prasad to Mataji. One king came there with his troops and challenged the Shepard boys to serve prasad to his troops. The boys served prasad to the whole troops from the small earthen pots.
- Fourth Pragatya
A princess was born the queen of Kalari's Solanki King Vajesingh. However, they declared that a son is born and was named Tejpal. He was married to Chavada King of Patan. But when his in-laws came to know about his secret he ran away on his horse and sat at Mataji's place in boruvan. He saw a bitch transforming to a dog and his female horse transforming to a male horse, he too went to take a dip in the lake and was transformed from female to male.
Shri Mataji gave darshan to Vallabh Bhatt at the age of 13 yrs. and blessed him as Devi Saraswati (Goddess of Knowledge) and he wrote 'Anand no Garbo'. A regular singing of Anand no Garbo leads to fulfilment of one's desires.
There are many other miracles associated with Shri Mataji. Shrinathji at Nathdwara wore a nose ring. The dead cocks ate by soldiers of Allauddin Khilji were reborn. Srimant Manajirao Gakewad was cured of disease. To honour the word of devotee Vallabh Bhat even without season, food with mango juice was served. Goddess attended the marriage ceremony of devotee Jaduram Bhat's son.
As earlier said, Bahucharaji is Taluka Place. It is headed politically by president of Taluka Panchayat and administratively by Taluka Development Officer (T.D.O.). There are 52 villages in Becharaji Taluka. They are as follows:
- 1. Adivada
- 2. Ajabpura
- 3. Akba
- 4. Ambala
- 5. Asjol
- 6. Bariyaf
- 7. Bechar Alias Becharaji
- 8. Bhalgamda
- 9. Chadasna
- 10. Chandanki
- 11. Chandroda
- 12. Chhatasana
- 13. Dedana
- 14. Dedarda
- 15 Delpura Khant
- 16. Delvada Khant
- 17. Dethli
- 18. Devgadh
- 19. Dhanpura
- 20. Dharpura-Khant
- 21. Dodivada
- 22. Edala
- 23. Finchdi
- 24. Gambhu
- 25. Ganeshpura
- 26. Indrap
- 27. Jetpur
- 28. Kakasna
- 29. Kalri
- 30. Kanoda
- 31. Karansagar
- 32. Khambhel
- 33. Mandali
- 34. Matrasan
- 35. Modhera
- 36. Motap
- 37. Poyda
- 38. Pratapgadh
- 39. Ranchhodpura
- 40. Ranela
- 41. Rantej
- 42. Ruppura Karanpura
- 43. Saduthla
- 44. Sankhalpur (Shankhalpur)
- 45. Sanpavada
- 46. Sujanpura
- 47. Suraj
- 48. Surpura
- 49. Udela
- 50. Vanpur
- 51. Venpura
- 52. Vijapurda
State highway no. 7 connects NH-14 from Deesa, Patan, and Chanasma to Becharaji, from where it further goes to Viramgam, Dhrangadhra, Halvad and Maliya. From Maliya, one can connect to NH-8A and reach Kutch.
Another state highway, SH134, connects Mehsana, Modhera and Kalri to Becharaji.
- Shankhalpur - origin of Toda Bahuchar mataji Mandir 3 km from Becharaji. This temple is also large and well maintained
- Modhera - World Famous Sun Temple, Step well and Suryakund, Temple of Modheshwari Mata, : 14 km
- Viramgam - 1000-year-old Munsar Lake of Solanki's Era : 50 km
- Patan - Rani ki vav, Sahastraling Lake, Well of Dharmadhar, Home Industries of Patola, Khan Sarovar Lake, Jain Temples : 50 km
- Sidhpur - Rudra Mahalay, Bindu Sarowar, Vahorawad: 80 km
- Shankheshwar - Jain Temples :30 km,
- Fattepur - tantreshwar mahadev Temples 10 km
- "Place within: Rediscovering India", by M. G. Vassanji, Doubleday Canada, 423 pages.
- Yagnik, Bharat (5 November 2011). "Driving through the queer legends of Bahucharaji". The Times of India. Retrieved 2 July 2015.
- Pattanaik, Devdutt (2002). The Man Who was a Woman and Other Queer Tales from Hindu Lore. Haworth Press, Binghamton, NY, USA. p. 165. ISBN 1-56023-181-5.