Top Fairs Of India
Fair is a temporary gathering of people for a variety of activities which may be religious, intertainment or commercial. In India, fairs of different kinds are organized in different morts of the country. Some of them are discussed below.
The Kumbh Mela is the largest religious gathering in the world. Every day millions of people come to take a dip in the holy river. The mela (gathering) is held on a rotational basis at four auspicious Hindu pilgrimage sites-Allahabad, Haridwar, Nashik-Trimbak and Ujjain. According to Hindu mythology, during the ‘Samudra Manthan’ i.e. churning of the ocean, ‘Amrit’ i.e. drink of immortality was produced and stored in a ‘Kumbh’ (pot). In the battle of the Devas and the Asuras, Lord Vishnu dropped drops of Amrit while transporting the Kumbh. These places are the four sites where the Kumbh Mela is held.
The mela is held once in three years at different places and at any given place after a time interval of twelve years. The exact dates are determined according to the zodiac positions of the Sun, Moon and the planet Jupiter. At Nashik and Ujjain, if the mela is held when a planet is in Leo (Simha in Hindu astrology), it is called as Simhastha Kumbh.
At Haridwar and Allahabad, Ardh-Kumbh Mela is held every sixth year and a Maha Kumbh takes place once in 144 years
Maha Kumbh Mela is celebrated every year in the month of Maagh (Jan-Feb) in Allahabad.
Places where the Kumbh is held:
|Allahabad (UP)||At the confluence of the Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati|
|Nashik- Trimbak (Maharashtra)||Godavari|
|Ujjain (Madhya Pradesh)||Shipra|
It is one of the largest cattle fairs in Asia. The mela is held in Sonepur, Bihar at the ice of the River Ganga and the Gandak. It usually takes place in November on the pornima, a day considered auspicious by the Hindus. It is the only fair where large numbers of elephants are sold and legend says Chandragupta Maurya used to buy elephants and horse during this fair.
Chitra Vichitra Fair
It is the largest tribal fair in Gujarat celebrated mainly by the ‘Gharasia’ and ‘Bhil’ tribes. The tribals wear their traditional costumes and showcase the local tribal culture. On the ‘Amavasya’ after Holi, the tribal women go to the river to mourn for their near and dear departed ones. The festivities start from the next day. Lively dance performances, best of rural handicrafts and exquisite silver jewelry attract thousands of tourists every year.
It is celebrated by a tribal community in Gujarat to revere Lord Shamlaji “the Dark Divine” who is thought to be the incarnate of Krishna or Vishnu. Devotees come in large numbers to worship the deity and take a holy bath in the Meshvo river. The ‘Bhils’ have immense faith in powers of Shamlaji who they lovingly call “Kaliyo Dev’. It lasts for about three weeks in the month of November, with Kartik Poornima being the most important day of the fair.
Pushkar Mela is an annual fair in Rajasthan starting on the day of ‘Kartik Poornima’ and lasts for about a week. It is one of the largest camel and cattle fairs in the world. It is a time when the Rajasthani farmers buy and sell their cattle but most of the trading is completed in the days leading to the fair. When the festival actually begins, events like camel races, moustache competitions, turban tying competitions, dancing and camel riding, etc take centre stage. The fair attracts thousands of visitors and is quite popular among the foreign tourists as well.
This three day extravaganza takes place in Jaisalmer in the month of February. The festival showcases the vibrant culture of Rajasthan. It gives the tourists a local flavour and showcases different facets of the Rajasthani culture. Among the golden sands of Rajasthan, touris can enjoy colourful folk dances, trip to the sand dunes, tying competitions, camel rides, The festival ends with a musical performance by the folk singers under the moonlit Sky wonder, the desert festival features on every foreigner’s to do list.
Kolayat Fair (Kapil Muni Fair)
Kolayat fair is held in Bikaner, Rajasthan. On the day of Kartik Poornima, people come to take a dip in the holy Kolayat Lake to get respite from all their sins. The fair is named after the great sage Kapil Muni who undertook intense meditation for the benefit of humanity. A large cattle fair is also organized. Tourists throng the place in thousands to witness the enchanting display of colourful Rajasthani culture and tradition.
Surajkund Crafts Fair
This is an international crafts fair held annually for a fortnight from 1st February onwards near Faridabad, Haryana. It showcases the regional as well as international crafts and cultural heritage. Traditional craftsmen from all parts of India participate in this festival. The stalls not only sell crafts but also conduct workshops to enable the public to see how the crafts are made. Pottery, weaving, sculpture, embroidery, Paper Mache, bamboo and cane crafts along with metal and wooden works attract a lot of attention. To give the fair a complete Indian touch, traditional cultural programs are held and regional cuisines are served.
It is conducted in the month of January-February at the mouth of the river Hooghly in West Bengal. A holy dip in the Ganges especially on the day of Makar Sankranti is considered very auspicious by the Hindus. Thousands of pilgrims throng the site. The presences of Naga sadhus lend a unique identity to the fair.
The Portuguese introduced the Goa Carnival in India. It takes place 40 days before the Lent, a period of abstinence and spirituality. It involves feasting and merry making. People wear masks and come onto the streets to party. It showcases the rich Goan heritage and culture and has a distinct Portuguese influence. The Goan streets are decorated with colourful floats and parades, live bands and dances mark the event, attracting thousands of tourists every year.