Baneshwar Fair I – the somehow different festival

19. February 2019


When I hear the words tribal, festival and Rajasthan, images immediately form in my mind and expectations arise – whether intentional or not. At the Baneshwar Festival, this was completely dashed. And I had to turn round in my head.


I knew from the Baneshwar Festival in the south of Rajasthan that huge numbers of tribals meet there every year and that it is hardly available on the tourist market. Which of course made me very curious. I imagined it to be so great that I had even planned 2 days for it, as I had written before. Fortunately, the guide was successful in cutting it down to 1 day on site. That could have made me suspicious. I only saw these Ferris wheels on posters and pictures on the internet mainly showed crowds of people from a little higher up.


Ferris Wheels


Almost 70 kilometres from Dungarpur, the Som and Mahi rivers meet and form a small delta. On the first day, the priest brings with great pomp a small statue of Mavji (16 cm) from the temple 6 km away in a palanquin on horseback. The priest himself, called Mathadish, also arrives in a palanquin. He has to be carried to the water and takes a bath. Afterwards, the water is sacred and it is considered very beneficial to take a bath there during these days. The ashes of the deceased are also given to the river during these days. However, we were there on the last day and so we didn’t see the procession. However, we did see some people in the river, which should not be photographed. The area is huge and there are people everywhere. However, it’s not really crowded. Here is an overview photo of one part of the river.


at the river


Either some people handed their clothes over to the river or it simply took them or…. In any case, there was a lot of cloth floating around in the water.




I went to a temple where people were paying homage to the Mavji statue. Taking photos was not allowed here either, but a temple guard was obviously so excited that a foreigner was there that he arranged for the people to sit down and for me to take a photo. I did. Also a few other pictures.












Here is my photo patron (right) with a buddy


When I was out again, a group carrying a different deity arrived:






The festival therefore has a religious background. However, there are also many secular attractions – and I’ll tell you about these, the tribals and my expectations in Part 2


However, one of my expectations was fulfilled: we only saw two other Westerners.