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Take a Trip to the Tarnetar Mela!

by Madhav Srinivasan 5 year, 35 days ago

The Trinetreshwara Temple Fair, or Tarnetar Mela as it is more popularly known, is a temple festival held in Tarnetar in the Saurashtra district of Gujarat every year. It is a celebration that bursts out in vibrant colors, with many folk culture events.

The Tarnetar Mela is held in the village of Tarnetar in Saurashtra, Gujarat. It is a three day fair held during the months of August-September every year.

This Mela is a temple festival that’s associated with the Trinetreshwara Temple. It is often termed as the Trinetreshwara Temple Fair. The festival falls in the month of Bhadrapad according to the Hindu calendar, coinciding with the months of August-September as per the Gregorian calendar and is a good time to book holiday tours in Gujarat. 

The History Behind the Fest

The temple celebrations are held to honor an important event recorded in the Indian epic, Mahabharata. It marks the marriage of Arjuna and Draupadi. It is believed that the Swayamvar of Draupadi was held in this temple, and this is where Arjuna won her hand after completing the daunting challenge of Matsyavedh. This ancient temple was renovated in the 19th century.

The temple has a kund or tank which is believed to be of special significance. A dip in this tank is said to be equivalent to taking a bath in the holy Ganga. The tank is called ‘Papanshu’ or ‘destroyer of sin’.

The Swayamvar Traditions

During this fair, tribals and villagers from the neighboring areas gather here to take part in the celebrations and to find their future husbands or wives. Young people gather here attired in colorful clothes, seeking to find suitable matches.

The eligible bachelors deck themselves in vivid clothes, embroidered coats and in turbans. They also carry colorful umbrellas that feature rich embroidery and mirror work. The beautifully dressed young women can then choose their grooms from this eye catching group of young men.

A Look at the Celebrations

The Tarnetar Mela, besides being a matrimonial fair, is also a cultural celebration. Young people sing and dance to enchanting folk beats and tunes. The Huda and the Rasada dances are enchanting to watch. The Rasada is performed by groups of women standing in circles and they sway and dance gracefully to the rhythm of the drums and the tune of the flutes.

The fair also serves as a platform where the fine handicrafts of the region are exhibited. There are additional attractions like cattle shows and village sports.One very distinctive feature of this Mela is the ‘Chhatri’ or ‘umbrella’. The Tarnetar chhatris are beautifully decorated parasols carried by young men. They are covered in intricate embroidery and mirror work.

The Gujarat government makes special arrangements for tourists during this festival. The government puts up tent villages and kuba huts for tourists to stay in. The Tarnetar Mela is truly a spectacular show that is worth seeing at least once, especially if you’re interested in the local culture.

How To Get There

The nearest airport is at Rajkot and the nearest town is Surendranagar, which has a railway station and also houses the nearest main bus terminus. 

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