In an acreage of cultural, linguistic and geographical medley we get to experience a huge variety of practices, fairs, festivals and cuisine and India is the illustration of this. A nation where every place a hundred kilometers away boasts a completely different culture and heritage offers a completely different experience. Fairs and festivals are the hubs of such showcases pull thousands of people from all over. Every fair in India is incompatible and is a part of the cultural fabric of the region and the continuation of heritage. One of the most vibrant and ravishing fair is the Baneshwar Fair in Dungarpur, Rajasthan.
A festival with a history of more than 500 years takes place in the small delta formed by River Mahi, River Jhakad and River Soma in Dungarpur, a district 110kms from Udaipur, Rajasthan during the month of January or February. The name “Baneshwar” comes from the Mahadev temple situated in the region. The festival is celebrated by a local tribe mainly the ‘Bhils’ and showcases their customs and traditions. The festival possesses a lot of religious significance and is organised with great exhilaration which results in it being called “the Kumbh Mela for the tribals”. Another fair was also started in this place after the building of another Vishnu Temple built by the devotees of Mavji, a saint who was considered as an incarnation of Lord Vishnu.
The festival begins with the applying of saffron on the deity or Shivlinga in the morning and ‘bhabhut’ or ash in the evening. Prayers are offered five times a day with aartis and prayers sung. Similarly, the Brahma and Lakshmi-Narayana temples are worshipped. Raslila takes place at night. Devotees offer their prayers with cash, wheat flour, pulses, rice, jaggery, ghee, salt, chilies and coconut. The Bhils also consign the ashes of dead members of their community in the conflux of the rivers. The Bhils manifest their culture by singing traditional songs at night around a bonfire.
The fair is a complete package for enjoyment, with songs, folk dances, exhibits of magic, animal shows and acrobatic feats. The fair also offers joy rides and other activities by stalls set up by people from nearby places who sell knick-knacks, clothing, medicinal herbs, musical instruments, wickerwork and knives as well as the bows and arrows. The procession which strecthes for almost five kilometers remains one of the biggest attractions. Don’t miss the opportunity of visiting this beautiful fair for an amazing experience. That is the Baneshwar Fair for you.