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Tarnetar Fair (Trinetrashwar Mahadev Fair)

The fair is organised in Tarnetar village some 39 kilometres from Chotila in Surendranagar District in Gujarat. It is popularly known as the Trinetreshwar Mahadev Mela and revolves around the sacred temple of Trinetreshwar.

It is held during the first week of Bhadrapad (September-October). This fair is primarily a 'marriage mart' or 'Swayamvar' for the tribal youth who visit Tarnetar to find a suitable bride for themselves.

The fair is held around the Trinetreshwar Temple dedicated to the three-eyed Lord Shiva, built at the beginning of the century. There is a kund (reservoir) here and it is popularly believed that a dip in its waters is as holy as a dip in the sacred River Ganges. The reservoir is also known as papanshu (the destroyer of sins).

The region is also of mythological significance. It is known as the Panchal region, the native place of Draupadi. According to folklore, it was here that Arjuna accomplished the difficult task of piercing the eye of a fish, rotating at the end of a pole, by looking at its reflection in the pond water. The swayamvar was also held around the pond in Tarnetar.

Even now, the tradition of swayamvar has survived and unmarried men and women from the Bharwad and other tribal community visit the fair in search of a match, attired in their traditional clothes. Men stand under exquisitely embroidered umbrellas signifying their marital status while women go around the umbrella hunting for their grooms.

Cattle exhibition is an attraction for the tourists with other programmes like ‘Rural Olympics’, bullock cart race and horse race is held at Tarnetar. Local arts and crafts display is an added trade attraction. The tourists have an opportunity to learn the folk dances like the Hudo and Raas dance of the Maladhari community. Heritage monuments are a sight seeing attraction at the venue place. Tarnetar Fair venue provides accommodation in tents and kuba houses for the tourists.

A mix blend of culture, tradition and social extravaganza, the Tarnetar Fair has gained popularity with more foreign tourists visiting the place.

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