Prithvi Parikrama: Panna's 400-year-old tradition of circumambulation of earth
On Kartik Purnima (full moon), thousands of devotees participate in a 30-kilometre long Prithvi Parikrama in Panna, which celebrates the Indian philosophy of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam — the world is one family.
Arun Singh 8 Nov 2022 6:41 AM GMT
Panna, Madhya Pradesh
Thousands of devotees have assembled at Panna in Madhya Pradesh to participate in a unique ancient tradition of circumambulation of earth, commonly known as Prithvi Parikrama. This ritual celebrates the Indian philosophy of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, which means the world is one family. It sends out a message of respecting and conserving Nature.
The ritual of circumambulation of earth is observed exactly a month after Sharad Purnima on the day of Kartik Purnima (Sharad and Kartik are Hindu calendar months). Disciples from across India, and also the neighbouring countries such as Nepal, come to the city of temples Panna in Bundelkhand region to pray at the Prannanth Temple. They are known as Pranami disciples. This year, Prithvi Parikrama is being observed today, on November 8.
The ritual of Prithvi Parikrama starts at six in the morning and disciples visit several temples, including the Prannanth Temple, metaphorically 'looking for' Lord Krishna. They visit forests, cross rivulets and trek for kilometres in search of Krishna.
Also Read: Akshaya Navami, an annual Indian festival dedicated to the worship of the amla tree
Sixty-year-old Kamla Sharma, a resident of Chapa in Chhattisgarh, has come to Panna to participate in the ritual. "Prithvi Parikrama gives me a peace of mind that is hard to explain in words. This is the fourth time I am observing this ritual. It teaches us to love and respect Nature," she told Gaon Connection.
Sixty-seven-year old Rashmi Bhai Bhatt has come with family from Harkundi village in Gujarat to Panna to participate in Prithvi Parikrama. "We cross rivers, nullahs, hillocks and forests singing songs and bhajans and experience bliss. At six in the morning of Kartik Purnima, the parikrama starts. This ritual was started about 398 years ago and continues till date," Bhatt said.
Devkaran Tripathi, the priest at the Prannanth Temple, informed Gaon Connection that every year on Kartik Purnima thousands of devotees come to the holy city of Panna to participate in the parikrama.
"The parikrama starts at six in the morning and goes on till late in the night. The devotees first visit Shri Prannath Ji Temple, Gummat Ji Temple, Shri Bangla Ji Temple, Sadguru Dhani Devchandra Ji Temple, and Baijuraj Radhika Temple, and thereafter start the parikrama," 54-year-old Deepak Sharma, a priest, told Gaon Connection.
Also Read: Harvest art brings colour to the Sohrai tribal festival in Hazaribagh
"The entire parikrama is over thirty kilometres long, in which men, women and children participate. Temple trust and local citizens make arrangements for this ritual and offer food, water and tea to the disciples," he added.
This year about 600 people from Nepal have come to participate in the Prithvi Parikrama. Sixty-year-old Uddhav Khandkar from Lalitpur, Nepal, is one of them. "I have come with my wife and this is the second time I am participating in this parikrama, which gives us peace and joy. In our group, 33 people have come from Nepal to participate in this annual ritual," he said.
According to Deepak Sharma, this year about 10,000 devotees have come from Gujarat, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh.
Kilkila river of Panna is an integral part of the Prithvi Parikrama. This river flows from near the Panna city, crosses forests, forms the majestic Kahua Seha water fall and then meets Ken river. Pranami community treats the Kilkila river like the Ganges. But the river is increasingly getting polluted and needs to be protected, Rashmi Bhai Bhatt said.