Tarnetar No Melo
The fair is organised in Tarnetar village approx 39 km from Chotila Surendranagar District in Gujarat. It is popularly known as the Mahadev Mela and revolves around the sacred temple of Trinetreshwar. It is held during the first week of Bhadrapad. 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 centuary. 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 (destroyer of sins).
At a distance of 9 km away from than is the ancient Trinetreshwar temple. It is believed that the temple belongs to the Solanki Era. The Pratihara kings, predominantly the worshippers of Lord Shiva were great builders and architecturally brilliant. They were ardent patrons of art and sculpture. The Trinetreshwar temple is an ornate and evolved example of its time portraying the Gurjjar Pratihar style,. Owing to the region of the Pratihar kings, the regions were later called as the Panchal region. A renowned intellect Shastri Harkrishna Prabhashankar Trivedi holds the temple to be the most beautiful religious monuments and the finest example of aesthetic sculpture in Gujarat.
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.
Beginning of the Tarnetar Fair Dhwaja Arohan and Procession
The Tarnetar Fair is initiated with the hoisting of a huge Flag on the dome of the Trinetreshwar Temple. The flag is hoisted every year by the Mahant of Paliyad, a small village near Tarnetar. This tradition has been followed ever since Mahant Visaman Bapu who was born in Paliyad started the 'Sadavrat' st Paliyad and hoisted the first flag at the Tarnitar Temple. On the Bhadarva sud choth (Ganesh Chaturthi) the flag is carried in a procession headed by the Mahant from the office of Tourism of Gujarat to the Trineteshwar Temple. It is then unfurled to symbolize the commencement of the colourful festival. Ethically, dressed folks from the nearby villages participate in this procession.
Attractions in the Fair
Traditionally, decorated Bullock carts and horse carts are the main attraction of this traditional and exuberant procession. Cattle exhibition is an attraction for the tourists with other programmers like 'Rural Olympics', bullock cart race and horserace 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. The entire expense of the procession is borne by Paliyad's Mahant
A mix blend of culture, tradition and social extravaganza, the Tarnetar Fair gained popularity with more foreign tourists visiting the place.