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Chitra-Vichitra Fair

Adivasi traditions and practices pervade all aspects of Indian culture and civilization. The ‘Chitra-Vichitra’ Mela in Gujarat held at the village of Gubhakhari in Sabarkantha District at the border of Rajasthan is a unique Fair held a fortnight, after Holi celebrations. The Fair is attended by over a million Tribal people who have traditions of ancestor worship, worship of fertility gods and goddesses (as well as male and female fertility symbols) and totemic worship. It is well known Research Fact that Adivasis possess intimate knowledge of various plants and their medicinal uses played an invaluable role in the development of Ayurvedic medicines. Researchers credit Adivasi communities with the knowledge of 9000 plant species - 7500 used for human healing and veterinary health care.

Every spring in Gunbhakari, at the confluence of three rivers in North Gujarat, Garasia, Gamar, Khair and Pargi tribals get together for Chitra Vichitra Mela, the biggest tribal mela near the village of Poshina in the State.

The site of the fair is attractive as the temple overlooks the rivers Sabarmati, Akul and Vyakul. The name of the fair is derived from Chitravirya and Vichitraviraya, the sons of King Shantanu, who are believed to have lived here and been cured of diseases which afflicted them.

The fair attracts large numbers of Bhils (tribals) who come from all the surrounding districts using every imaginable form of transport. The Garasis and Bhil tribals dress in their customary colourful costumes. The costume of the men generally consists of a blue shirt, dhoti and a red or saffron turban. Women don ghaghras (embroidered skirts) which have a circumference of as much as 20 yards (18 m), and are covered from head to foot with ornate and heavy silver jewellery. They use liquid kumkum (vermilion) to colour their cheeks and lips a brilliant red, while their eyes are outlined with kajal (kohl). Every group that comes to the fair carries its own drum making the atmosphere come alive with the incessant beat of numerous drums. The women sing folk songs and folk dances are performed. The dancing and drumming continue for hours until everyone is exhausted. Over a hundred stalls hold food and drink, and sweets of various kinds are available. Silver ornaments and household articles of copper are sold at the fair. There is gaity and merriment as merry go rounds and fun fair is organized for the tribals

During the fair, the tribals have a much civilised way of choosing a life partner and the State sponsor’s family planning to various 37 tribal communities as family planning appears rather than aberration among the tribals.

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