CHITRA VICHITRA FAIR – GUJARAT

Held in the month of March, Chitra Vichitra fair is named after the sons of king Shantanu, Chitravirya and Vichitravirya and is an important festival of Gujarat. Largest tribal fair, Chitra Vichitra is celebrated in the village of Gunbhakhari in Sabarkanta district of Gujarat and is visited by large number of Bhils and Garasia tribes residing in the neighboring areas. The festival begins on the eve of the new moon when the women gather at the river and mourn for their dead through the night. The next day the fair sets off with a generous splashing of dazzling colors and drumming.Main attraction of the fair is the magnificent temple overlooking the rivers Sabarmati, Akul and Vyakul.

  

The tribal men’s costume generally consists of a blue shirt, dhoti and a red or saffron fenta or turban. The woman don ghagharas which have a circumference of as much as 20 yards, and are covered from head to feet with ornate and heavy silver jewellery, and sometime also beautifully knitted rafia jewellery made from pale yellow or dyed crimson grass. They also use liquid kumkum or vermilion to color their cheeks and lips a brilliant red, while their eyes are outlined vibrantly with kajal.

Every group visiting the fair carries its own drum, so that the atmosphere comes alive with a nonstop beat of drumming. The women sing folk songs in shrill choruses, and everyone dances near the main temple. Over a hundred stalls hold food and drink, and sweets of various kinds. Silver ornaments and household items are out for sale. There is also a giant wheel and a merry-go- round. The dancing and drumming continue for hours until everyone is left exhausted.