Good business hope at 17-day Pitripaksh Mela

Gaya, Sept. 5: The stage is set for the 17-day Pitripaksh Mela, beginning here on September 11, and it is business time for many.

The pilgrims, who come here to offer pinddaan, spend crores every year. Gayapal pandas, priests, barbers and businessmen, including those selling pinddaan items, wait for the 17-day-long mela as there is a huge rush of pilgrims during this time of the year.

Selling pinddaan items is a lucrative business. Not only those who have permanent shops in the area benefit during this time, but also those who set up temporary stalls earn profits. The items sold are similar to those sold during a traditional puja.

About 10 lakh pilgrims from across the country visit the place throughout the year. During the mela alone, around three to five lakh people visit Gaya.

Shambhu Lal Gurda, a shopkeeper at the northern side of the main gate of Vishnupad temple near Deoghat, told The Telegraph: “Five permanent shops sell pinddaan items around the Vishnupad temple and around 20 shops near Pachmahalla, also known as pindvechi. Besides, several temporary stalls are set up around the temple area and other places.

Another shopkeeper at Deoghat, Jagdish Singh, said while the sale is worth Rs 300 to 400 on a normal day, it goes up to Rs 1,000 a day during Pitripaksh Mela. Singh added that each shop sells around five to six quintals of oatmeal each day during Pitripaksh. Oatmeal is used for making pindas. Pinddaan items are also available in small packets of Rs 25, Rs 51 and Rs 101 each.

Apart from shopkeepers selling the pinddaan items, the Gayapal pandas thrive during the 17-day fair. Huge numbers of yajmans (clients) visit the place during the period. Pandas offer sufal (good results) to those performing pinddaan without which the rituals are considered incomplete. In return, they get dakshina from the devotees. Besides, the priests who perform the karmkand puja of the pinddaan rituals also earn a lot of money during this period.

Now, all eyes are on the number of pilgrims that turn up during the annual fair.
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