The best known of
Gujarat's fairs is held at the historic shrine of Tarnetar
(Trineteshwar), a holy site locally believed to have
been the original course of river Ganga. The fair is
attended by eligible herdsmen, who sport brightly embroidered
umbrellas and unmarried girls from pastoral tribes,
who get to select their husbands in the old Swayamwara
The fair is said
to commemorate the victory of Arjuna at the contest
held for princess Draupadi in this region. A dip in
the temple tank on this day is considered as auspicious
as a swim at the holy bathing ghats on the River Ganges.
During the fair, the temple (said to date to the 13th
century, restored by the Maharaja of Baroda in the 1800s)
is the focal point of activity. The temple interior
and courtyard resound with devotional music, bhajans
near the temple are a blaze of colour. Thousands gather
to participate in the fair. As betrothal is one of the
purposes of the fair, men come dressed in embroidered
jackets and colourful footwear called mojdis, carrying
richly decorated umbrellas to advertise their elibility,
and the women are equally colourfully attired.
As the music reaches
a crescendo the men and women break into dances like
the hudo garba. The atmosphere is exciting.
Tarnetar is about
100 km from Dasada. Rann Riders arrange stay near the
Ravechi Mela is
one of the most important fairs for the Rabari community
of Kutch. The fair takes place at the Ravechi Mata temple
where the people of Kutch can be seen at their colourful
Rann Riders arranges
camping tours to Ravechi during the fair.
The 11th century
Sun Temple at Modhera is the backdrop for a classical
dance festival in winter. The temple is beautifully
illumined, and leading performers and troupes from different
parts of India perform on the ocassion. Modhera is 45
km from Dasada.