Baneshwar Fair

Baneshwar Fair: India’s biggest tribal fair

Baneshwar Fair is a five days event starting from Shukla ekadeshi of Magh month, as per the Hindu calendar. This is the unique and biggest tribal fair of the country that attracts lakhs of devotees. This fair is annually held in Dungarpur, Rajasthan. The name Baneshwar is derived from the holy Shiva Linga located in the Shiv temple in Dungarpur. ‘Baneshwar’ in the local language Vagdi means ‘master of delta’.

The fair is organised at the delta formed by rivers- Mahi and Som. The fair continues till Shukla Purnima of Magh. Baneshwar is situated 24 kms away from Aspur, which is in the Dungarpur district.

The Baneshwar fair is actually a combination of two fairs. One fair is organised to pay tribute to the Lord Shiva, known as Baneshwar Mahadev. And the other fair is held to celebrate the completion of the construction work for the Vishnu temple by Jankunwar, the daughter-in-law of Saint Mavji.

The priest or Mathadish arrives in a massive procession to the fair site from Sabha and takes a dip into the river. Then aarti of the Mathadish is performed and Raslila are reenacted at the night in the Lakshmi Narayana temple.

Bhils or tribal people from Dungarpur, Udaipur and Banswara constitute the major part of the gathering. The fair is very famous and is organised at a very large level. The pran-pratishtha ceremony of the idols to the temple was performed on magh Shukla Ekadashi. Since then a fair is organized every year to celebrate this auspicious event.

Baneshwar Fair — This festival is held in Dungarpur, Rajasthan.

This is a religious festival with simple and traditional rituals. On this occasion, tribal from the neighboring states of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat join their brethren from Rajasthan to offer prayers to Lord Shiva. The Baneshwar fair is predominantly a tribal fair with more than half of the congregation consisting of Bhils.

Baneshwar Fair: Date

  • 2022: 12 February (Saturday) – 16 February (Wednesday)

Activities:

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 Shiva Linga 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.

The Bhils attending Baneshwar Fair sing traditional folk songs in high pitched voices sitting around a bonfire every night. Groups of villagers are also invited to participate in the programme. 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.

Baneshwar Fair History

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.

The Baneshwar fair is held at a small delta formed by the river Som and Mahi 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.

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