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Tarnetar: An Indian Festival Of Colour & Romance

Tarnetar: An Indian Festival Of Colour & Romance

access_time September 11, 2013 chat_bubble_outline 1 comment 11350 views

Make a trip to Gujarat and at the heart of this colourful state, about 196 kilometres from Ahmedabad, you’ll find the tiny village of Tarnetar, famous for the 250 year-old Tarnetar festival.

Tarnetar fair

Women dressed in their best for the Tarnetar fair; picture courtesy Gujarat Tourism

The Tarnetar Festival

Rooted in tradition, the festival is said to have originated during the Mahabharata, with Draupadi’s swayamvar. Arjuna, one of the five Pandavas, defeated scores of suitors and won Draupadi’s hand in marriage when he pierced the eye of a fish with his arrow, merely by looking at its reflection in a pond. Villagers claim that this event took place near the Tarnetar temple, and has been the location of the fair, ever since.

The temple at Tarnetar; picture courtesy Gujarat Tourism

A Celebration Of Culture & Tradition

The festival takes place each year in Tarnetar and is a coming together of several tribes including the Kolis, Rabaris, Bharwads, Khants, Kanbis, Kathis, Charans, Harijans and the Desh-rabaris. The local participants themselves make up more than 50,000, not including tourists.

The fair brings together Gujarat’s folk dances, ethnic costumes and tribal arts, and is centered around young tribal men and women seeking marriage partners. Married Rabari women are dress in black, while those seeking grooms, dress in red. Potential grooms wear colorful dhotis, attractive waistcoats and carry beautifully-embroidered umbrellas that they spend months working on. The umbrellas show off their skill and artistry to potential brides, and at the end of the fair, you can usually find newly betrothed couples standing under these umbrellas.

A beautifully decorated umbrella to attract a bride; picture courtesy Gujarat Tourism

The entire village of Tarnetar turns into a fusion of colours, with stalls that sell local handicrafts, beautiful jewellery, traditional arts and crafts and embroidered cloth. Magic shows, photography stalls, food stalls, tattoo artists, music performances, merry-go-rounds and other rides make the fair a huge success.

Getting To Tarnetar

The fair takes place in Tarnetar, 8 kms from the town of Thangadh, in Surendranagar District. Chotila is the nearest town with road transportation and is 25 kms from Thangadh. Rajkot (75 kms) has an airport, while Jamnagar (162 kms), Ahmedabad (196 kms) and Porbandar (252 kms) are well-connected to Thangadh.

The colourful crowds at the Tarnetar Fair; picture courtesy Gujarat Tourism

The Tarnetar Festival is held for three days during the Hindu calendar dates of Bhadarva Sud 4th-6th, which fall on September 9th to 11th of 2013.

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About author


If ever there was a career that involved the study of sleeping cats, Rashmi Deshpande would probably be in it. But for now, she is in an industry she loves--the travel industry. Rashmi has worked with Femina as an Assistant Manager, and freelanced for several online and offline publications such as Lonely Planet India magazine and Nat Geo Traveller India. She currently works as the online content manager with Cox & Kings.

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1 Comment

    September 21, 18:27

    “Tarnetar: An Indian Festival Of Colour & Romance | Cox & Kings Blog”
    ended up being really compelling and helpful!

    In modern world honestly, that is quite hard to accomplish.
    Thx, Bryan

    reply Reply this comment

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