Thursday, October 28, 2010


FAIRS


Fairs have always been part of rural India. They fill a social and economic need. Even today most rural communities still have their weekly fair. They are colourful affairs where people from all the surrounding villages come to sell their produce and but what they require.

JANUARY / FEBRUARY
NAGAUR FAIR - NAGAUR, RAJASTHAN
Life in the town of Nagaur starts bustling every year with the thronging of Cattle, horses and camels accompanied by their owners and buyers. The cattle fair held here annually is supposed to be one of the largest in the world.
Nagaur bulls are renowned for their fleet-footedness and therefore, attract buyers from all over. The day starts with buyers and sellers engaged in earnest bargains. Once the price of a horse, bullock or a camel has been settled, the day closes with dances, songs and merrymaking.
GANGASAGAR MELA - Gangasagar, West Bengal
Near the mouth of the river Ganges in the state of West Bengal, is the island of Gangasagar where the Ganges meet the Bay of Bengal. Every year a Mela is held here in January on Makara Sankranti day and is attended by a large number of pilgrims from all over India. The island is dedicated to the sage Kapila.
BENESHWAR FAIR - Beneshwar, Rajasthan
Towards the full moon night during the month of January/February, thousands of Bhil tribe people join together at the junction of two rivers, Som and Mahi in Rajasthan. They immerse ashes of their relatives died during that year, as a memorial service. After that, they bathe in the river to cleanse themselves and then worship at the temple where God Shiva is defied. In India more than 400 tribes live separately. Bhil is one of them and they live mainly in the mountains near boundaries of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. They all are serious Hindus and believe that they are the descendants of God Shiva.


APRIL / MAY
URS AJMER SHARIF - Ajmer, Rajasthan
Every year Ajmer prepares for its festival - the Urs of Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti, a Sufi saint. The Urs, commemorating the symbolic union of the saint with god, is an occasion for celebration. Thousands or pilgrims arrive to pray at the dargah (tomb) of the saint.
SONEPUR FAIR - Sonepur, BiharAt the time of the Kartik Poornima, cattle fairs are also held at Sonepur, in Bihar and at Bateshwar and Mukteshwar in the state of Uttar Pradesh. One of the largest cattle fairs in the country is held at Sonepur. At this month-long fair there is a lot of trade in cattle. Cows and oxen are coloured bright shades of red, yellow and purple. Their horns are gilded. The sound of their bells and the trumpeting of elephants add to the glamour of the fair.
JULY / AUGUST
GANGAUR FAIR - All over Rajasthan, especially Jaipur, Udaipur & MandawaIdols of Issar and Gangaur, manifestations of Shiva and Parvati, are worshipped by women, and particularly those unmarried who pray for a consort of the like of Shiva. Celebrated all over Rajasthan, it has women taking out processions through the streets of towns, carrying images of the divine couple. The festival is especially colourful in Jaipur, Udaipur, and at Mandawa in the Shekhawati region.
OCTOBER / NOVEMBER
PUSHKAR FAIR - PUSHKAR, RAJASTHANPushkar - the ancient town of Rajasthan, 11 kms from Ajmer, is situated around the sacred lake. The Place is transformed into a spectacular fair ground in the month of Kartik (October/November). The fair attracts a great number of tourist from across the world. a temple here is dedicated to Lord Brahma. Pushkar has three main lakes - Jayshtha Pushkar, Madhyam Pushkar and Kanishtha Pushkar.
The fair is one of the largest cattle fairs on the world, in which camels are a special attraction. Here one can see camels being raced and paraded, vendors selling dazzling wares and people getting themselves tattooed. in the evening hundreds of oil of lamps placed on leaves are floated on the lake by worshippers.
DECEMBER
THE GOA CARNIVAL - Goa 
The exuberant carnival is held for a week every year in Goa just before Lent. All of Panaji goes wild for that period and it is a time of feasting and fun, of dances, balls and parades.
With the parade, the festival gets off to a spectacular start and the fun-loving Goans make the most of their carnival before setting down to the solemnity at Lent.
TARNETAR MELA - Tarnetar, Saurashtra 
This unusual mela is held annually at Tarnetar. The fair turns into a kind of marriage market for the local tribes - the Kolis. this festival is famous also for its folk dances - the traditional Gujarati garba, ras and haro.


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