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Gogaji riding the horse
|Abode||Dadrewa, Gogamedi, Rajasthan, India.|
Gogaji (Hindi: गोगाजी) (Rajasthani: गुग्गो), also known as Jahar Veer Gogga is a folk deity, worshiped in northern states of India especially in Rajasthan, Punjab region and Uttarpradesh. He is a warrior-hero of the region, venerated as a saint and a 'snake-god'. He is worshiped as a peer among Hindus and Muslims .
Gogajee is believed to born by blessings of Guru Gorakhnath, who gave 'Gugal' fruit as a prasad to gogga's mother Bachhal. Since the fruit of Guggal was cause of his birth, he was referred as Gogga. Whereas devotees call him goggajee respectfully. adding the suffix 'Ji' or 'Jee' to the original name 'Goagga'. Another belief is that he was called Goga jee because of his remarkable service to cows(Gou in Sanskrit).
Gugga (also pronounced as Gogga,Goga) or Jahar Vir, one of the snake-kings, and a Chauhan Rajput, had a kingdom called Bagad Dedga near Ganganagar that spanned over to Hansi near Hisar in Haryana and included territory up to the river Sutlej in Punjab. Gugga is worshipped in Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab, Uttar pradesh, Madhya Pradesh Maharashtra, Himachal PradeshJammu and Kashmir.and Gujarat. In Gujarat, an annual procession is held in honor of the great warrior. Rabari community in Gujarat and Rajasthan is great believer in Gogaji.
A clan of Rajputs, Bachal Rajputs, is said to get the name from queen Bachal, who was mother of famous folk-deity Jaharveer Gogaji. Gogaji, according to legend, was the son of a Chauhan Rajput Ruler named Jewar, whose wife Bachal was from Tuar clan. Gogaji was born upon blessings given to Queen Bachal by Guru Gorakhnathji. Bachal Rajputs, who worship him as Kuldevta can be found in the states of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh.
Gogaji was born to queen Bachchal and king Zewar in Dadrewa in the Churu district of Rajasthan. The earliest parts of Gogaji's life were spent in the village of Dadrewa, situated on Hissar—Bikaner highway in Sadulpur tehsil of Churu districtin Rajasthan. He was born as a member of the Chauhan Clan to the rulers of this area, Jewar Chauhan and Queen Rani Bahcal around 900 AD.
When Queen Bachal was worshipping the Gorakhanath (Hindu Nath yogi), her twin-sister decided to usurp the blessings from the Guru Gorakhnath. In the middle of the night, she wore her sister's clothes and deceived the Guru into giving her the blessing fruit. When Rani Bachal came to know about it, she rushed to Guru Gorakhnath and said that she had not received anything. To this, the Guru replied that he had already given his blessings and said that her sister was attempting to deceive her. After lots of asking from Rani Bachal, the Guru relented and gave her two Gugal candies. She distributed these candies to ladies having no child, including the 'blue mare' who was pregnant at that time.
When the Guru gave the blessing to Rani, he foretold that her son would become very powerful and would rule over the other two sons of her aunt Rani kachal.
He was married to Shreeyal Roz who was daughter of Tandul Nagari's King Sindha Singh. When Goga ji came to know that his cousin brothers Arjan and Sarjan were attracted to Shreeyal and had an ill will for her,he killed both his cousins and informed his mother, who became very angry and decided not to ever see her son's face again.
Gogaji is popular as a Devta who protects his followers from snakes and other evils. Almost every village in Rajasthan has a Than (sacred place,generally a small temple) dedicated to him.
His shrine, referred as medi, consists of a one-room building with a minaret on each corner and a grave(Mazar) inside, marked by a Nishan( A symbol, a sign), which is made up of a long bamboo with peacock plumes, a coconut, some colored threads and some handpankhas with a blue flag on the top.
On the 9th of Bhadra, the people worship his symbol, a black snake painted on a wall. Worshippers take a fly-flap, known as chhari, round the village. Devotees pay their respect to it and offer churma. The Savayians sing devotional songs known as ‘Pir ke Solle’ in his honour to the accompaniment of deroos. Beating of deroos is the exclusive priviege of the Savayian community; others may sing, dance or offer charhawa. It is believed that the spirit of Gugga temporarily takes abode in the devotee dancer who lashes himself with a bunch of iron chains.
Worship of gogaji starts in Bhaadra month of Hindu calendar. Grand fairs are held at his birthplace and Smadhi sathal Gogamedi. Gogamedi is 359 km from Jaipur, in Hanumangarh district of Rajasthan. It is believed that Gogaji went into samādhi at Gogamedi. Thousands of devotees gather to pay homage at this memorial annually in the month of Bhadrapada during the Gogaji fair, which lasts for 3 days. The fair is held from the ninth day of the dark half of Bhadrapada (Goga Navami) to the eleventh day of the dark half of the same month.
It is quite a sight to see people singing and dancing to the beats of drums and songs with multicolored flags called nishans in their hands. The songs and bhajans on the life history of Gogaji are recited accompanied by music played with traditional instruments like Damru, Chimta, etc. At his birthplace Dadrewa fair goes on over a month. Devotees from far eastern places of Dadrewa start arriving from the beginning of the auspicious month of Bhaadra. These devotees are commonly known as purbia (those who belong to east).
It is a common sight to see people with snakes lying around their nakes. It is common belief among devotees that Gogaji will protect them from snakes. According to a folklore in and around his birthplace Dadrewa it is believed that if someone picks up even a stick from johra ( a barren land which has a sacred pond in Dadrewa),it would turn into a snake. Devotees of Gogaji worship him when they get a snake bite and apply sacred ash (bhabhoot) on the bite as an immediate remedy.
In Thaneek Pura, Himachal Pradesh, a very large scale festival and fair is organized on Gugga Navami. The tale of Gugga Ji is recited, from Raksha Bandhan to Gugga Naumi, by the followers who visit every house in the region. These followers while singing the tales of Gugga Ji carry a Chhat (a wooden umbrella) and people offer them grains and other stuff. They bring all the collected offerings to the temple and then the grand festival of Gugga Navami is celebrated for three days. Apart from various pujas and rituals, the wrestling competition (Maali or Dangal) is organized for three days where participants from all over the region compete. The annual three day fair is also a part of these festivities where people come and enjoy great food, and shop for decorative items, handicrafts, clothes, cosmetics, house-hold goods, and toys for children.
-  Queen Bachal also asked for blessings from the Guru. The son of Bachal was named Guga from Book : Census of India, 1961, Volume 15, Part 6, Issue 4. India. Office of the Registrar General
-  Memoirs on the history, folk-lore, and distribution of the races of North Western Province of India by Sir Henry M. Elliot : 1869 - Page 256
- Sir Henry Miers Elliot (1869). Memoirs on the history, folk-lore, and distribution of the races of the North Western Provinces of India: being an amplified edition of the original supplemental glossary of Indian terms. Trübner & co. pp. 256–. Retrieved 10 July 2012.