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Fairs and Festivals of Madhya Pradesh


Bhagoria Haat, Jhabua

This colourful festival of the Bhils and Bhilalas, particularly in the district of West Nimar and Jhabua, is actually in the nature of a mass svayamvara, a marriage market, usually held on the various market days falling before the Holi festival in March. As the name of the festival indicates, (bhag, to run), after choosing their partners, the young people elope and are subsequently accepted as husband and wife by society through predetermined customs. It is not always that boys and girls intending to marry each other meet in the festival for the first time. In a large number of cases the alliance is already made between the two, the festival providing the institutionalised framework for announcing the alliance publically. The tradition is that the boy applies gulal, red powder, on the face of the girl whom he selects as his wife. The girl, if willing, also applies gulal on the boy's face. This may not happen immediately but the boy may pursue her and succeed eventually. Earlier, the Bhagoria haat was also the place for settling old disputes; open invitations were sent to enemies for a fight in the haat. Bloody battles used to be quite common in the past but today police and administration do not allow people to go to the haat armed. The Bhagoria haat also coincides with the completion of harvesting, adding to it the dimension of being an agricultural festival as well. If the crops have been good, the festival assumes an additional air of gaiety. In the life of the Bhils and Bhilalas, Bhagoria is not merely one festival but in fact a series of fairs held one by one at various villages on their specific market days, commencing eight days before Holi.

Khajuraho Festival of Dances

The Khajuraho Festival of Dances draws the best classical dancers in the country who perform against the spectacular backdrop of the floodlit temples every year in February/March. The past and the present silhouetted against the glow of a setting sun becomes an exquisite backdrop for the performers. In a setting where the earthly and the divine create perfect harmony - an event that celebrates the pure magic of the rich classical dance traditions of India. As dusk falls, the temples are lit up in a soft, dream-like ethereal stage. The finest exponents of different classical Indian styles are represented - Kathak, Bharatnatyam, Kuchipudi, Odissi, Manipuri, and many more. With international status under the Government of India programme categories, this seven-day extravaganza is a unique treat for connoisseurs from all over the world.

Tansen Music Festival, Gwalior

Madhya Pradesh occupies a special position in the history of Indian music. The Gwalior gharana is among the most prominent arbiters of the classical style. Raja Mansingh's patronage of Dhrupad singers is well known. A pillar of Hindustani classical music, the great Tansen, one of the 'nine jewels' of Akbar's court, lies buried in Gwalior. The memorial to this great musician has a pristine simplicity, and is built in the early Mughal architectural style. More than a monument, the Tansen Tomb is a part of Gwalior's living cultural heritage. It is the venue of the annual Indian classical festival held here in November-December. Renowned classical singers of the land regale audiences through five mesmerizing night-long sessions of the much-loved classical ragas.


Madai fair

In the tribal villages of Bastar the Madai fairs record their social consideration as of vital importance to all the ethnic groups of the area. The Madai fairs of Narayanpur, Kondagaon, Dantewara and Dhanara, falls within February, March and April every year.

Chaitra fair

In the Chaitra fair held at Biaora (Malwa), the Dhup Dehi ka Mela of Hirapur (Rewa Division), the Ram Navami fair of Naya Gaon, the Bhilat Baba ka Mela of Seoni and the Gal Yatras held at over two dozen villages of Malwa are worth mention.

Tejaji's fair

A good number of fairs are held in the 10th day of the month of Bhadra, to mark the birth of Tejaji. Many tales are current about this legendary figure. In Tejaji's fairs rituals are made to cure snake-bite. In Guna district at Bhamavad village there is a platform on which a statue of Tejaji on his horse is installed. Every year during the fair many persons come with pieces of cloth round their necks. This they untie near the platform and as soon as they untie it, they become unconscious only to regain it after water and milk are sprinkled on their faces. Similar rituals are witnessed in the fairs held at Sagar village of the same area and at Rawati of Ratlam district.

Other Fairs

The Somnath Sankarji ka Mela (In the month of Asadha and Bhadra at Deotalab (Rewa) )

The Triveni ka Mela held at Ratlam Kartika at Ujjain, Mandhata (Nimad), Naya Gaon and many other places.

The Singaji Jatra held at Piplya vilage of Nimad

The Kumbha Mela ( after every twelve years at Ujjain )

Lachhandas Baba's fair (Laljit ka Pura-Morena)

The fairs of Hira Bhumia (Gird-Gwalior)

Shah Peer Budhan (Sanwarw-Shivapuri district)

Abda Peer (Bamhori-Rewa)

Chaumukh Nath (Panna)

Baba Shabuddin Saheb Oulia (Mandsaur district)

Kaluji Maharaj (Piptya Khurd-West Nimad)

Singaji (Rajpur Tehsil-Nimad)

Khalari (Mahasamund-Raipur)

Bhilat Baba ka Mela (Malapur and Seoni Malwa-Hoshangabad)

Garibnath Baba ka Mela (Awantipur Barodia-Shajapur district)

Kana Baba ka Mela (Harda Tehsil)

Ramlila Mela of Bhander (oldest fair )

The Bhaya Sokar Devi fair of Rewa

The Unao or Baramju fair of Datia

The Somhar Dev Baba ka Mela of Goradiya village (West Nimad) is held in the honour of Somhar Dev whose glory is recited in a narrative called Pathwad.

In addition to this, all other festivals of India are also celebrated with great enthusiasm at Madhya Pradesh.