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Baneshwar Fair

The district of Dungarpur in the state of Rajasthan is famous for a tribal fair known as Baneshwar fair.Baneshwar, tiny delta created by Soma River, is 52km away from Dungarpur and fair is celebrated here in the February month. Baneshwar fair, being a foremost tribal fair, means ‘holder of delta’ which has been derived from the worship of Shiva Linga in the temple of Mahadev in Dungarpur city. This religious fair is celebrated with customary and easy rituals. The Bhil tribal’s of nearby states of Gujarat and Madhaya Pradesh also comes here to tender prayers to God Shiva.

‘Baneshwar’ name is a resultant from the respected Shivalinga having abode in Dungarpur’s Mahadev temple. The meaning of the Baneshwar is the ‘Delta Master’ in tribal’s Vagdi language and this is attributed to the revered Shivalinga. This tiny delta, created by the Mahi and Som rivers, is the main spot for celebrating the fair from Shukla Ekadashi of Magh month to Shukla Purnima of Magh month.

The Fair

The present form of ‘Baneshwar fair’ is in fact a combination of two fairs; one is held in reverence of ‘ Baneshwar Mahadev’ (God Shiva) and the second one is happening after the construction of a temple in the reverence of Lord Vishnu by the daughter-in-law, Jankuwari, of Mavji, a well respected saint supposed to be Lord Vishnu’s incarnation.

Vaje and Aje, the two disciples of saint Mavji, constructed this temple of Laxmi-Narayan at a site close to the meeting point of Mahi and Som Rivers. The sacred day of Ekadashi of Magh month was the ‘Pran-Pratishth’ day for the deities of the temple. Thus the fair of this temple also starts from Ekadashi day. The large number of worshippers and devotees equally pay reverence to every deities present here during the fair.

The priest, known as Mathadhish, also arrives in a big procession to the fair place from Sabla on Ekadashi day of Magh Shukla. Saint Mavji, in the form of a 16cms image of Silver, is brought on horseback here also. It is believed by the worshippers that the water of Rivers become scared during the bathing of Mathadhish. Therefore devotees bathe beside the Mathadhish in the water of River. The Bhil tribe immerses the last ashes of dead at the meeting point of the water of Rivers.

The fair of Baneshwar is principally a fair of tribal’s in which Bhil tribe takes part in a big way. Bhil tribe respects both Baneshwar Mahadev and saint Mavji. The bulk of congregation is mainly from the area of Udaipur, Banswara and Dungarpur districts of Rajasthan.

Worship and Offering

Saffron is pasted on the Shivalinga in the early morning then Linga is bathed and by waving with burning incense sticks, an ‘Aarti’ is performed. An ash (bhabhut) is pasted on the Shivalinga in the evening and an Aarati is performed by waving the lamp of fine-wick. Devotees and worshippers present rice, ghee, jiggery, wheat flour, salt, pulses, coconut, chilies and cash.

Brahma and Laxmi-Narayan deities of other temple are offered with five times prayers in a day. Brass metal discs are played at Aarti time. Mathadhish is also welcomed by Aarti performance during fair time and Raslilas are staged in temple of Laxmi-Narayan at night similar to that of Baneshwar temple’s Raslilas.

Cultural Programme or Activities in Baneshwar Fair

The traditional and cultural folk songs are sung by the Bhils in Baneshwar fair in lofty vigorous pitches sitting at each night around the bonfire. The youngsters of the Bhil clan arrange the cultural shows in these fair and other villagers are welcome to take part in these programme.

The fair echoes with the merry making songs, magic shows, acrobatics feats, folk dances and animal shows. Swings, ridings on merry-go-rounds etc. are other added excitements. The fair and its bulky amount of shops give buying opportunities of fancy articles and essential goods to the visitors.

How to Reach

By Air

Udaipur is the nearest airport.

By Road

Bus services from Dungarpur, Udaipur and Banswara are provided by the Rajasthan Roadways frequently. Taxi /Private cars are also available for Baneshwar fair.

By Rail

Banswara is the nearest railway head.

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