Chitra Vichitra Fair Gujarat
Celebrated after the Holi festival, Chitra Vichitra Fair is attended by a large number of locals and tourists from across the country.
It is the largest annual tribal fair held in the village of Gunbhankhari in the Sabarkantha district of Gujarat, near the Gujarat-Rajasthan border.The site of the fair is located on the bank of the Wakal River, which is considered sacred because of the confluence of three rivers - Sabarmati, Wakal, and Pamri Rivers.
This fair is visited by a large number of Bhils and Garasia tribes residing in the neighboring areas. The main attraction of the fair is the magnificent temple overlooking the rivers Sabarmati, Akul, and Vyakul.
With people dressed in traditional attire and display of traditional customs, the Chitra Vichitra festival gives a chance to witness the social and customs of the Adivasis (tribal people).
History and Legends
Chitra Vichitra Fair is named after the sons of King Shantanu (King of Hastinapur), Chitravirya, and Vichitravirya. They were the step-brothers of Bhishma, a significant character from the great epic Mahabharata. As per the legends, they were once the residents of Gunbhankhari in the Sabarkantha district and had been cured of their illnesses.
Almost 60,000 people belonging to the tribal community visit this fair every year. As per the locals, this festival serves as the platform for the people who are looking for a prospective groom or bride. Numerous couples have been known to elope directly from the fair site.
Importance of Chitra Vichitra Festival
This fair is an important event for the families who have lost a member in the past year. They mourn the departure of their loved ones with festivities and matchmaking.
The festival commences on the full moon night at the riverfront and all the women mourn their dead relatives. On the next day, the fair starts, and everyone is dressed in traditional colorful clothes. Locals dance and celebrate the whole day. The tribal folk songs, authentic local delicacies, and various shopping stalls make the atmosphere lively and fascinating.
How to Reach
The fair was held in Gunbhankhari in Sabarkantha district of Gujarat. The nearest railway station and airport is in Ahmedabad, which is 115 km from Sabarkantha. It is well-connected with a good network of state and national highways from the nearby cities of Gujarat and Rajasthan.
When to go?
A fortnight after Holi, in the month of March or April.