Baneshwar Festival


Baneshwar, Rajasthan

Main Attraction:

Spiritual attraction

Dates 2014:

10 - 14 February


Baneshwar is a very famous place near Dungarpur district in Rajasthan state of India. Baneshwar Fair is a popular tribal fair held at this place. Baneshwar is named after Shiva Linga which is kept in the Mahadev temple in Dungarpur. \'Baneshwar\' means the ‘master of the delta’ in the local Vagdi language. The fair is held at a small delta formed by the river Som and Mahi, from Magh Shukla Ekadashi to Magh Shukla Poornima during Shivratri. (January-February).

Baneshwar is basically a religious festival of the Bhil tribal community. Every year in the months of January-Feburary the people of the Bhil community of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh gather at the confluence of the Mahi and Som Rivers. It is an important festival of this community and held great religious values for them. This festival lasts for four days and during this period the people take holy dip in the rivers and immerse the ashes of their dead relatives.

Significance - The Baneshwar fair, in its present form is actually a merger of two fairs: one which used to be held in honour of Baneshwar Mahadev (Lord Shiva) and another fair which started after the construction of Vishnu temple by \'Jankunwari\', daughter-in-law of Mavji, a highly revered saint considered to be an incarnation of Lord Vishnu.

Worship and offerings - Some very interesting rituals are performed at the festival. The fair gets start when on Magh Shukla Ekadashi, the priest - called the Mathadhish, arrives at the fair site, in a huge procession. A silver image of Mavji on horseback is also brought here. The river water supposedly becomes holier when the Mathadhish takes a bath. Hence, people bathe along with him in the river. The Bhils consign the ashes of their dead at the confluence of the rivers. Darshan are open from 5 AM to 11 PM. Morning AArti is with saffron applied on shiv linga and then waving of burning incense before it. Evening aarti is with fine wick lamp, bhabhoot applied on the linga. 5 times in a day aarties are performed before god. Divine sounds of bras gongs makes the full environment magical.

cultural performances - The whole festival is full of timely performance of bhils, who sing folk songs in a high pitch, setting around bonefire. Cultural shows are arranged by youngsters of the clan. The other cultural program of songs, folk dances, magic shows, animal shows and acrobatic feats also makes the whole festival a worth mentioning.

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