PAROLA & ITS RELIGIOUS PLACES
Parola is a taluka place in Jalgaon district of Maharashtra State in India. It is located in between Dhulia and Jalgaon city, i.e. on the Mumbai Nagpur National highway. Parola is placed in the fort. This fort is beautifully construted on the elements of Vastushashtra. This fort was constructed in 1727 by the landlord Hari Sadashiv Damodar. Besides this, there are other renowned temples like Janardhan Temple, Shriram Temple, Santoshi Mata Temple, Hinglaj Mata Temple, Bhate Temple, Mahadev Temple in Fort, Swami Temple, Vithal Temple, Shree Dwarkadhish Temple, Zapat Bhavani Temple. Considering that the temples and places of worship are instrumental in creating religion awareness and maintaining the ancient age-old culture, in Maharashtra the land of Parola has inherited the same in abundance. Surrounded by temples and religious shrines Parola has become an attraction of touring pilgrims.
HISTORY OF SHREE BALAJI IN PAROLA
Due to the dedicated services of various religious devotees and their blessing bestowed on them Parola is now popularly known as the devotional city. Its 345 years ago that Shree Balaji (the God Almighty) first arrived here. Shri Giridharshet Shimpi a great devotee of Shree used to travel from the age of 15 till he reached 85 years of age on foot to Tirupati every year to pay his homage to the great almighty. Finally at 85 years of age he bade a tearful adieu to Shree pleading that age had overcome him and he may no longer be able to visit him. On his way back to his great surprise Shree appeared before him and said that he was accompanying him. Overwhelmed Giridharshet returned to Parola offering his prayers and singing praises of the lord all along the way. Being well to do he started performing religious rites and offerings to the lord similar to that in Tirupati. The then landlord Shri Nevadkar offered to build a huge temple of the deity. The lord once more appeared before him in his dreams and revealed his desire to stay amongst devotees and not to disturb them. Later on Giridharshet started the Navratra festival with great devotion and in the traditional manner.
THE TEMPLE OF SHREE BALAJI
The holy temple is very pleasant to look at, in the premises is a huge stone entrance with a `Nagarkhana’ (a place for the drummers to sit and perform) on the top of it and in front of the temple is the `Garudadhwaj’. The temple was renovated in the year 1925 by Shri Gangaram Chhabildas Gujarathi. A huge one & quarter feet tall pleasant, cool and calm, and a very eye-catching statue of SHREE BALAJI is placed high above on a Sinhasan.
SHREE BALAJI AND THE NAVRATRA FESTIVALS
During the Navaratras festivals the idol is taken in a chariot accompanied by different statues of deity beautifully carved out of wood everyday in different streets of Parola. This gives the satisfaction of The God coming to their place to the residents of the city. After the yearly procession when the time comes for shifting the idol in its original place whilst shifting the idol becomes heavier and heavier, as if Shree giving an indication that he is not willing to leave his devotees. But after the performance of repeated `Arti’ the idol starts becoming lighter. This miracle is observed by the devotees every year. The popular chariot is supposed to have been beautifully designed as per the Vastushashtra elements.
Every year the fortnight long fucntion is celebrated from the first day of Ashwini, of the Hindu Calendar, till the fifteenth day, i.e. Sharad Purnima Day, in honour of the Balaji deity giving happiness and liveliness. A great festival look hangs all over Parola streets during the fortnight, welcoming the Shree. The air is full of liveliness, streets decorated with rangolis to welcome the chariot of the lord. Thousands of people from every corner throng the city to have a glimpse of the chariot, the lord and take part in the festival which is performed with great religious pomp.
On the out scuirts of the city, in the grave yard a 33 feet tall memorial of the beloved devotee of the Shree, Giridharshet was built. On the 7th day of Ashwin every year God himself come on a chariot to pay a visit to his beloved devotee. This practice of the lord visiting the crematorium to meet his devotee is exceptional only in Parola and hence made its crematorium too holy.