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Baneshwar Fair (Dungarpur, Raj)
Baneshwar Fair is a religious festival of the Bhils, tribal community of Rajasthan with traditional rituals. This popular festival is annually held in Dungarpur. During this auspicious day, the tribe of Bhils also comes from the states of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh to offer prayers to Lord Shiva.
The term ‘Baneshwar’ in Vagdi language means the “chief of the delta” and the name was given to Shivalingam at the temple of Mahadev in Dungarpur. Every year the Baneshwar fair was organized at a delta formed by three rivers; Mahi, Jakham and Som in Rajasthan. Devotees offer prayers, immerse the ashes of their departed families and take a holy dip in the rivers.
The Festival is actually a result of the fusion of the two fairs. One fair was devoted to Mahadev Shiva Puja and the other was dedicated after the construction of the Lord Vishnu temple.
Rituals of Baneshwar Fair:
The festival is organized by the people of Rajasthan, starting from ShuklaEkadashi (Eleventh day of bright fortnight) and ends on ShuklaPoornima (Full Moon Day) of Magh month of Hindu Calender. The main priest on the first day of the festival arrives from Sabla along other disciples with a silver idol of Mavji. He takes a bath in the holy rivers along with locals.Next day Keshar (saffron) is applied to the Lord Shiva and a Puja ceremony (Aarti) is performed. Rice, coconut, flour, grains, ghee, salt and money is offered to Deity Shiva in the temple.
Prayers are also offered in the temples of Brahma and Lakshmi -Narayan temple (five times a day). Similar to those rituals performed at the Baneshwar Temple, ceremonies and traditional rituals are also made at these temples too.
The fair is well liked not only by the locals of Rajasthan; but, also by the Tourists (both domestic and international). Baneshwar Fair goes on for a period of five days event. A number of workshops are also set up which shows fine handicraft items, local Karigari (artistic) works, traditional jewelleries etc. of Rajasthan. The festival resounds with the folk dances, local songs, animal shows, magic shows etc.
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