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Chitra Vichitra fair begins on the eve of the new moon when the women gather at the river and mourn for their dead through the night. The next day the fair sets off with a generous splashing of dazzling colors and drumming.

On the foothills of Aravalis, at the border of Gujarat & Rajasthan the site of the fair is within the limits of the village Gumbhakhari in the border area of Sabarkantha, 32 Kms away from nearby Railway station of Khedbrahma on the Ahmedabad Khedbrahma meterguage section of Western Railway. The fair site is attractive, as the temple, which is its focus, overlooks the rivers Sabarmati, Akul and Vyakul. It is one of the largest purely adivasis fairs of the border region and attracts large numbers of Bhils who come from all the surrounding districts using every imaginable form of transport. The tribal fair is a poly chromatic spring event held every year a fortnight after Holi festival.

The festival begins on the eve of Amavas (A moonless night) when the tribal women gather at the river to mourn their dear departed ones. They bathe in the holy rivers & offer sacrifices. The wailing & sorrowful songs run through the night but in the morning the mood is transformed.

The Chitra Vichitra fair is a colourful celebration of the tribal culture & costumes of the Bhils & Garasias. The fair is attended by around 60,000 to 70,000 tribals. They all are to be seen sporting colourful attire & artistic ornaments. The mood is upbeat and the tribals break into graceful dances, singing as they sway. The entire fair ground is a rainbow of colours. The Garasia and Bhil adivasis dress in their customary colourful costumes. The Garasias are particularly spectacular in their vivid blue, green & red sarees, chunky earrings, attractive necklaces & tingling anklets. The men's costume generally consists of a blue shirt, dhoti and a red or saffron fenta or turban. Women don ghagharas which have a circumference of as much as 20 yards, and are covered from head to foot with ornate and heavy silver jewellery, using liquid kumkum or vermilion to colour their cheeks and lips a brilliant red, while their eyes are outlined with kajal. The bhils are less elaborately bejewelled but are very colourful artired.

Every group visiting the fair carries its own drum, so that the atmosphere comes alive with the incessant beat of numerous drums. The women sing folk songs, and everyone dances. The dancing and the drumming continue for hours until everyone is exhausted. Over a hundred stalls hold food and drink, and sweets of various kinds. Silver ornaments can be bought and household articles as well. Here, as in other fairs, there is a giant wheel, and a merry-go-round, which never cease to spin.

The fair also acts as a venue for bethrothals, as the tribal use this opportunity to find their future spouses. Eloping is quite acceptable in the Garasias & Bhils communities and it is not uncommon to see young men and women running away together across the river into the wilderness. They live together for few days and then return to get married.


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