After 22 years, Prashar Rishi deity today arrived in Mandi town to take part in the week-long Shivratri fair along with his followers in large numbers. The religious part of the festival had been started yesterday on the arrival of Kamrunag deity, the main guest of this festival.

However, officially it will be inaugurated by Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh tomorrow (February 25). Today, mini Jeleb (a procession of deities) of Madho Rai was held in the town, in which a large number of deities took part. The deity received a grand welcome in the town, who was welcomed by Mandi Deputy Commissioner Sandeep Kadam, the chairperson of Shivratri fair committee and Kardar Sangh, at Madho Rai temple, the chief deity of event.

According to ritual, deities coming to the town visit the temple of chief deity Madho Rai to pay him obeisance. However, on the return of deity from Madho Rai temple, the family of Raj Parivar was waiting to greet him at Raj Mahal but Prashar Rishi refused to meet them because according to ritual, the deity pay obeisance only to chief deity Madho Rai.

Embarrassed over the situation, the palanquin of Madho Rai was brought up at the venue and thereafter he met with the Raj Parivar. It was Raja Suraj Sen (1664 to 1679) of Mandi state, who did not have an heir, built the temple known as “Madhav Rai temple”, dedicated to a form of Lord Vishnu, as protector of Mandi. An elegant silver image of Radha and Krishna was made by his goldsmith Bhima, in the year 1705, which was named “Madho Rai” and deified, and ordained as the King of the State of Mandi thereafter.

Since then the rulers served the state as servants of Madho Rai and custodians of the State. Suraj Sen’s successors have also held the deity of the temple in great reverence. It was 20 two years back, when Prashar Rishi decided to shun the event because of poor management for his stay during weeklong fair in the town but this year Shivratri fair committee assured to provide all arrangements for the stay of deity, thereafter he accepted the proposal to join the event.

The president of Kardar Sangh, Mandi, Shivpal Sharma, said Prashar Rishi, Kameshvari Devi of Balah valley, Hurang Narayan of Chhohar valley, including Pitthu Narayan of Bali Chowki, around 150 deities have arrived in the town, while remaining deities are expected to arrive tomorrow.