Champa Shashthi is a prominent ritual observed particularly in Maharshtra. It is celebrated on the shashthi of shukla paksha in the Margasheersh month as per traditional Hindu calendar.
As per the Gregorian calendar, it is celebrated in the month of November December. If this auspicious day further combines with Shatabhisha Nakshatra and Vaidhriti Yoga and falls either on a Sunday or a Tuesday, then it is considered to be supremely auspicious.
In 2016, the Champa Shashthi will be observed on the 5th of December, Monday.
Legend of Champa Shashthi
Long ago there were 2 demons called Mani and Malla. They had gained supreme power by rigid penance. With this supreme power they were terrorizing other kings, sages, persecuted the sages and threatened to overturn King Indra. They had gathered huge number of other demons and were aspiring to establish a Devil’s Kingdom in the three lokas. Manichurna Mountain, which was the abode of saints was taken over by the demons. Religion was thus about to be completely destroyed and all the sages and men of religion overpowered. All the Gods and sages went to Vishnu to seek a solution, but Lord Vishnu knew that only Lord Shiva could do it. So he took the holy men and the Gods to Lord Shiva in the Kailasa Mountain.
Lord Shiva upon hearing the tale, from his own hair created female demon called Ghritakumari and said that she will be of invaluable help. Shankar then himself took the form of Bhairav, who is the formidable and Parvati became Shakti or Mhalsa, a combination of Mohini and Parvati. Ganpati led the army in this battle. The moon became a white horse on which Shiva rode, he held in his hand the Damaru or the drum which is shaped like an hour glass; and the Kahnra which is a two edged sword.
On the day of Pratipada, Mani came to battle with an army of demons. The battle went on and on for 6 long days, finally Mani fell unconscious. He prayed to Lord Shiva to save him and asked for his forgiveness. Shiva forgave him and asked him to pray for a boon. Mani wished that he could be always near Shiva and then died. The Gods sought a peaceful understanding with the brother of Mani called Malla. But he too fought a long battle and finally was vanquished. Malla too asked Shiva for moksha or liberation, which Shiva granted him. But after his death the five sons of Malla called Devgandharva, Kumbh, Suchil, Mahabahu and Lohargala came to battle. They too were defeated. The day the battle ended is known as the Champa Shashthi.
Celebration of Champa Shashthi
It is believed that after the prolonged battle Lord Shiva decided to stay on in the place in the form of Swayambhu. In Pembar a jatra or a cultural program is held in memory of this great fight,,which continues up to the new moon day. The temple of Khandoba at Jejuri in Pune is dedicated to the memory of this battle. Khandoba is the family deity of numerous families in Maharashtra and is said to had two wives- Mhalsa and Banai. Devotees who serve Khandoba are known as “Vaghya”. These devotees always carry a leather bag, which is tied to their waist. In this bag they keep bhandar or halad which is turmeric. This is given out as the angara or the holy ash of Khandoba. Because of his wife Mhalsa, Khandoba is also known as Mhalsakant. Other names are Malhari Martand, Khanderaya or Martanda Bhairava.