Deoghar, Jharkhand: The commencement of Malmas, an extra month in the Hindu calendar, has sparked concern among businesses and traders in the sacred city of Deoghar, where the renowned Shravani Mela is being observed. The additional month has led to a significant decrease in the number of devotees and has consequently affected the sales and profits of shopkeepers and hotel owners.
As per reports from local traders, the impact of Malmas is evident across various businesses, ranging from small shop owners to prominent halwais (sweet vendors). The uncertainty surrounding the return on investments during this period, including the capital invested for setting up shops and infrastructure for the Shravani Mela, has caused apprehension among the traders. Even the expected returns from the devotees who would come during the final 15 days of the Shravani Mela, starting from August 16th, are uncertain.
Shravani Mela in Deoghar, held during the holy month of Shravan (July-August) in accordance with the Hindu calendar, is a significant event for devotees who come to offer prayers at the Baba Baidyanathdham temple. It typically spans four weeks to encompass four Mondays of the month. However, this year, due to the occurrence of Malmas, the Shravani Mela is being conducted in two phases. The first phase is scheduled from July 4th to July 17th, while the second phase will be observed from August 17th to August 31st.
The impact of Malmas has been observed in a decrease in the influx of Kanwariyas (pilgrims carrying water from the Ganges to offer to Lord Shiva) during the Shravani Mela in Deoghar. With fewer Kanwariyas arriving in Deoghar, the business activity around the temple premises has been noticeably low. The reduced footfall has led to sluggish sales in the market, affecting shopkeepers and traders who heavily rely on the revenue generated during this annual religious fair.
One hotel owner in the vicinity of Deoghar, Gautam Singh, had invested around 2 to 3 lakhs to set up his hotel for the Shravani Mela in Deoghar. However, due to the decreased number of Kanwariyas, his hotel’s occupancy rate has been minimal, leading to doubts about whether he made the right decision in choosing the hospitality business over his traditional occupation of rice farming. This sentiment echoes among other traders who now find themselves in a dilemma about the viability of their business ventures during this Malmas affected Shravani Mela in Deoghar.
Despite the challenges posed by Malmas, the administration has made efforts to facilitate the pilgrimage and devotion of those devotees who have arrived. The Railways has organized special trains to ease the rush during the Shravani Mela, with 18 pairs of Shravani Mela Special trains operating between Asansol and Patna, and MEMU Special trains running between Jasidih and Baidyanath Dham.
The temple authorities, as well as the district administration, have ensured that arrangements are in place for the devotees. However, it remains to be seen how the overall impact of Malmas will unfold during the second phase of the Shravani Mela in Deoghar, beginning on August 17th.
As the holy month of Shravan progresses, the traders and businesses in Deoghar hope for an improvement in footfall and sales during the latter part of the Shravani Mela in Deoghar, while also remaining vigilant about future implications of Malmas on the sacred festival in years to come.
(Note: The information provided in the news articles has been used to create a comprehensive news article on the impact of Malmas on the Shravani Mela in Deoghar.
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