Two weeks after
Holi in the month of
March/April, the Chitra Vichitra Fair is held at the confluence of three
rivers near the village of Poshina. The fair is attended by tribals in
great numbers, sometimes exceeding 60,000. The site is believed to date
from the time of the Mahabharata, when Chitraveer and Vichitraveer are
said to have repented at the Shiva temple, around which the fair is
This fair, one of the largest, purely 'Adivasi' (tribal) fairs is attended by around 60,000 to 70,000 tribal people. It takes place every year in the village of Gunbhakhari in Sabarkantha district, very near the borders of Rajasthan . It is held a fortnight after Holi, the festival of colours.
THE BEAUTIFUL VENUE:
The site of the fair is attractive as the temple overlooks the rivers Sabarmati, Akul and Vyakul. The name of the fair is derived from Chitravirya and Vichitraviraya, the sons of King Shantanu, who are believed to have lived here and been cured of diseases, which afflicted them.
THE COLOURFUL VISITORS:
The Garasia tribals, known for their colourful attires and chunky jewellery, the Bhils for their archery skills and ancient culture, and the Rabaris who are primarily pastoral and sport heavy ornaments are the main tribes at the fair.
The fair attracts large numbers of Bhils (tribals) who come from all the surrounding districts using every imaginable form of transport. The Garasis and Bhil tribals dress in their customary colourful costumes. The costume of the men generally consists of a blue shirt, dhoti and a red or saffron turban.
Women don 'ghaghras' (embroidered skirts), which have a circumference of as much as 20 yards, and are covered from head to foot with ornate and heavy silver jewellery. They use liquid 'kumkum' (vermilion) to colour their cheeks and lips a brilliant red, while their eyes are outlined with 'kajal' (kohl).
MAKE YOUR PRESENCE FELT
Every group that comes to the fair carries its own drum making the atmosphere come alive with the incessant beat of numerous drums. The fair also acts as a venue for betrothals, as tribal youth use this opportunity to find their future spouses.
THE MAIN RITUALS:
The fair begins with mourning at the 'triveni sangam' (confluence) at night, which rapidly gives way to rejoicing, dancing and singing, with stalls selling food and produce. Tribals from various districts of Gujarat and neighbouring Rajasthan attend the fair, which is a good time for relatives to meet, or to find a suitable bride - eloping is not uncommon, though.
MEANS OF MERRIMENT:
The dancing and drumming continue for hours until everyone is exhausted. Over a hundred stalls hold food and drink, and sweets of various kinds. Silver ornaments can be bought and household articles as well. Here, as in other fairs, there is a giant wheel, and a merry-go-round, which never cease to spin.