Rajasthan dazzles every visitor by featuring, the majestic forts, placid lakes, sprawling palaces and terrific wildlife and thus form the cynosure of this popular tourist destination of Rajasthan. The rich culture and tradition of Rajasthan as on one hand attracts a large number of tourists, there are also a lot of other things to watch around in Rajasthan apart from the tourist attractions of Rajasthan. The fairs and festivals of Rajasthan play a major role in attracting horde of tourists from not only the domestic but also from the international level. One such festival that catches the attention of the tourists is the Baneshwar Fair of Rajasthan in India.
Baneshwar festival is celebrated among the tribal people and involves a lot of religious events and rituals. The name Baneshwar is derived from the revered Shiva Linga which is kept in the Mahadev temple in Dungarpur. "Baneshwar" means the 'master of the delta' in the local Vagdi language and this name was given to Shiva Linga at the Mahadev temple of dungarpur of Rajasthan. The Baneshwar fair is held at a small delta formed by the river Som and Mahi, from Magh Shukla Ekadashi to Magh Shukla Poornima during Shivratri (January - February). This festival holds a lot of importance for the people of the tribes and especially the Bhils. Baneshwar Fair of Rajasthan, Baneshwar is well liked by not only the people of Rajasthan but also by the people of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh who come down to this place to celebrate this gala event. A lot of tourists both domestic and international flock into Dungarpur to witness this fair and be a part of the event. Baneshwar Fair of Rajasthan, Baneshwar goes on for a period of four days and a number of shops are set up that display a number of fine handicraft items and lot of tourists purchase these items as a souvenir.
History and legend of Baneshwar Fair in Rajasthan, India
The Baneshwar fair of Rajasthan, in its present form is actually a merger of two fairs: one which used to be held in honour of Baneshwar Mahadev (Lord Shiva) and another fair which started after the construction of the Vishnu temple by Jankunwari, daughter-in-law of Mavji, a highly revered saint considered to be an incarnation of Lord Vishnu.
Two disciples of Mavji named Aje and Vaje built the Lakshmi- Narain Temple near the confluence of rivers Som and Mahi. The 'pran-pratishtha' ceremony of the idols was performed on Magh Shukla Ekadashi and since then, the fair is held on this day. The large congregation that gathers here at the time of the fair pays homage to all the deities with equal reverence.
The Baneshwar fair of Rajasthan is predominantly a tribal fair with more than half of the congregation consisting of Bhils. They revere Baneshwar Mahadev as well as Mavji. The majority of the gathering is from the Districts of Dungarpur, Udaipur and Banswara of Rajasthan.
Rituals of the Baneshwar Fair in Rajasthan, India
On Magh Shukla Ekadashi, the priest - called the Mathadhish, arrives at the fair site from Sabla, in a huge procession. A 16 cm silver image of Mavji on horseback is also brought here. The river water supposedly becomes holier when the Mathadhish takes a bath. Hence, people bathe along with him in the river. The Bhils consign the ashes of their dead at the confluence of the rivers.
The temple of Baneshwar Mahadev remains open from 5.00 a.m. to 11.00 p.m. during the fair. In the morning, saffron is applied to the Shivlinga after it is bathed and an 'aarti' of burning incense is waved before it. In the evening, 'bhabhut' (ash) is applied to the Linga and an 'aarti' with a fine-wick lamp is waved. Devotees offer wheat flour, pulses, rice, jaggery, ghee, salt, chillies, coconut and cash.
Prayers are offered five times a day in the temples of Lakshmi -Narayan and Brahma. Brass gongs are struck at the time of 'aarti'. During the fair, 'aarti' of Mathadhish is also performed and Raslila takes place at night in the Lakshmi Narayan Temple. Offerings, similar to those at the Baneshwar Temple, are made at these shrines too.
Activities of the Baneshwar Fair in Rajasthan, India
The Bhils attending Baneshwar Fair of Rajasthan sing traditional folk songs in high pitched voices sitting around a bonfire every night. Cultural shows are arranged by youngsters of the clan. Groups of villagers are also invited to participate in the program.
The fair resounds with the gaiety of songs, folk dances, magic shows, animal shows and acrobatic feats. Adding to the excitement are the joy rides on merry-go-rounds and swings. The large number of shops in the fair provides an opportunity for buying and selling of essential goods and fancy articles. A lot of stalls and shops are erected and the fair is marked by a lot of cultural programs, magic shows, animal shows and acrobatic feats to enchant the visitors.
Location and Transport of Baneshwar Fair of Rajasthan in India
The Baneshwar fair site of Rajasthan is at a distance of 6.5 km from Sabla, a village on the Udaipur-Banswara-Dungarpur bus route which is at a distance of 123 km from Udaipur of Rajasthan 53 km from Banswara of Rajasthan 45 km from Dungarpur and 22 km from Aspur, the Tehsil headquarter. On normal days, one has to reach Sabla from Baneshwar on foot or on private carts. However, buses go right up to the bank of the river Som during the fair.
On this religious festival of Rajasthan tribal from the neighboring states of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat join their brethren from Rajasthan to offer prayers to Lord Shiva
Udaipur of Rajasthan attract domestic as well as international tourists owing to a number of historical and religious land marks within the city as well as in the vicinity and hence is very well connected to the major cities of India by road, Air and Rail.
Road: Udaipur of Rajasthan falls on the Golden Quadrilateral, lying midway between Delhi and Mumbai on National Highway (NH) 8 and is around 650 km from either metro. The roads in this part of the country are really nice, paved in the middle, and fit for self-driving. One can either drive from Jaipur of Rajasthan (around 7 hours) or Ahmedabad (4-5 hours), or take a Rajasthan Tourism bus from India Gate in Delhi.
Air: Dabok airport of Rajasthan is 24 km from the city centre. Daily flights connect Udaipur of Rajasthan with Jodhpur of Rajasthan, Jaipur of Rajasthan, Aurangabad, Mumbai and Delhi. The Airport is going through modernization project and soon going to have a new terminal building with additional 4 stands.
Train: Train connectivity is established between Delhi, Jaipur of Rajasthan and Ahmedabad through trains run by Indian Railway. Recently Udaipur of Rajasthan got connected with Delhi Kota and Mathura with superfast Mewar express on broad gauge line. Udaipur of Rajasthan is now also connected with the Kolkata, by the train "Ananya Express".
Local Transport: Unmetered taxis, auto rickshaws, tongas, city bus, regular city bus service is available for Udaipur City Main roads to dabok airport, badi Lake, Bedala.
Distances of important cities from Udaipur: New Delhi (670 km), Jaipur of Rajasthan (406 km), Mumbai (739 km), Ahmedabad (262 km), Jodhpur of Rajasthan (275 km), Mount Abu of Rajasthan (185 km), Agra (630 km), Chittorgarh of Rajasthan (115 km).
Distances of important places around Udaipur: Kankroli of Rajasthan (64 km), Ekling Ji of Rajasthan (21 km), Haldigati of Rajasthan (42 km), Jaisamand Lake of Rajasthan (50 km), Nathdwara of Rajasthan (42 km), Ranakpur of Rajasthan (90 km), Rishabdeo of Rajasthan (65 km), Badgaon of Rajasthan (5 km), Bhinder of Rajasthan (58 km), Dhariyawad of Rajasthan (120 km), Gogunda of Rajasthan (35 km), Jhadol of Rajasthan (48 km), Kotda of Rajasthan (128 km), Malvi of Rajasthan (42), Salumber of Rajasthan (70 km), Sarada of Rajasthan (62 km), Kherwada of Rajasthan (82 km), Vallabhnagar of Rajasthan (42 km), Fatehnagar of Rajasthan (52 km), Debari of Rajasthan (13 km), Jawar Mines of Rajasthan (48 km), Dariba of Rajasthan (73 km), Jamar Kotda of Rajasthan (16 km).