The Sitabari Fair is held near village Kelwara in Baran
District. Sitabari is considered to be the place where Sita, the wife of
Lord Ram, was left by Lakshman to serve the period of her banishment.
Legend has it that a stream sprouted from the ground where Lakshman shot
an arrow to fetch water for Sita. This stream is called 'Lakshman
Babhuka'. People from all communities visit Sitabari to bathe in the tanks
(kunds), which are always filled with clean, fresh water. The water of the
'kunds' is considered to be sacred and is believed to possess curative
People visit the 'kunds' to take a holy dip for the purification of the body and soul and to perform oblations dedicated to the various deities whose images are installed here.
The biggest water tank is the Lakshman Kund with one of its gates called 'Lakshman Darwaza' where an idol of Hanuman is installed. People bathe here and pay homage to the idol of Lakshman, erected beside the 'kund'. The pilgrims also pay respects to the wooden platform called 'Lakshman-Ka-Takhat' and the Tulsi plant in the shrine.
The Suraj Kund is surrounded by verandahs on all sides. Ashes of cremated people are immersed in the water flowing out of the 'kund' by those who cannot go to the Ganges for this ritual. Washing clothes or using soap is not allowed in it. This kund is named after the Sun God - Suraj Narain whose idol can be seen here. In one corner of the kund, the 'Linga' of Mahadevji is placed. The other two kunds are the Sita Kund and the Bharat Kund.
People offer cash, grain, 'Batashas', jaggery, coconut etc. to the deities as a token of their devotion. Pilgrims also visit the Valmiki Ashram where, according to the Ramayana, the twin sons of Ram and Sita, Luv and Kush were born. It is a simple structure of one horizontal stone resting on two vertical stones.
Apart from being a religious gathering, traders from nearby districts as well as neighbouring states come to the fair to sell a variety of goods. Cattle breeders are also present at the fair selling popular breeds of cattle from Jhalawar, Aklera, Bundi, Kota, Bhilwara and Nagaur.
Kelwara village is situated in Tehsil Shahbad of Baran District. Sitabari is at a distance of 1-km from Kelwara. A well-maintained road spans the distance. Kelwara is connected to Shahbad, Baran and Kota by road. The distance from Kelwara to Kota is 117 kms and buses ply on this route. The number of buses is increased during the fair, for transporting thousands of visitors to the event. The nearest rails head is Baran at a distance of 75 kms from Kelwara.