There is a belief in Deograh Jail in Jharkhand that prisoners who help in making the flower crown for Shivling at Baba Baidyanath Dham will be acquitted and released soon. Deograh Jail is located around one km from the famous Baba Baidyanath Dham and it is the prisoners here that prepare the golden crown that is worn on the main Shivling during the Shravan month (July – August).
In fact, the jail has been supplying the 2ft flower crown, trident, flag, 'damru' and special garlands for the late-evening 'shringar', or decoration, of the deity since the colonial days. The grapevine has it, according to Deoghar SP Subodh Kumar, that there was a king who did not have issues. He prayed to Lord Shiva to bless him with a son and, as part of a thanksgiving exercise, he would make arrangements for the preparation of His 'shringar' materials by the inmates of the prison during the month of Shrawan every year.
However, priest Gulab Bhagat has a different tale to tell this reporter. According to him, there was an English jailer whose son went missing during the month of Shrawan in 1910s. As he started crying fearing the worst, the jail inmates told him to worship Lord Shiva and his son would return safely. He immediately ordered his cops and the prisoners to make arrangements for the 'puja' of the Jyotirlingam, and his son returned a few days later.
Overwhelmed, he wrote in the prison's rule book that the inmates of the jail would prepare the material for the evening 'puja' at the shrine during the month.
The jail inmates, including few Muslims, are so passionate about the "ritual" that many of them even observe fast till the preparations go on every day. According to jailer Arjun Prasad Sahu, the jail itself turns into a shrine of sorts during the month. "The preparations take around eight hours during which the inmates sing devotional songs," Sahu said.
"Almost all the inmates who prepared the crown of flowers for Bhole Nath last year have been acquitted by courts," claimed Kartik Pandey, the priest of the temple inside the jail. Those acquitted, recalled prisoner Dhananjay Yadav, would often say that they had been made scapegoats and police had not heeded their pleas. "But Bhole Baba heeded their prayers," he added.