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Tarnetar Fair

Tarnetar is famous for the three day Swayamvar ( husband-hunt) organized every year in August/September. Colourfully dressed young women walk through the fari and select a groom among the young men collected under gorgeously embroidered umbrellas.

We reached Ahmedabad in search of the colourful and vibrant culture of Gujarat and were told to visit the Tarnetar fair to get the real feel of this state. We hired a private taxi and started on the Ahmedabad – Chotila highway. On the way were several trucks and tempos filled with colorfully dressed people- joy and expectancy on their faces, heading for the same destination. At Chotila we saw a whitewashed temple with a single flag fluttering in the sky. From there a very bumpy road took us to Than eight kilometers away.

Tarnetar village is famous for its annual three days festival, held in the month of Bhadrapad Sud 4th, 5th and 6th ( August/September). The name Tarnetar was originally “Triniteshwar” or the three eyed Lord Shiva, whose temple is the main source of attraction here. The festival is held around this sacred temple. There is a kund or pond near the temple which has a famous legend attached to it. According to the legend, Draupadi’s ‘ Swayamwar was held around this pond and Arjun won the lovely princess by piercing the eye of the fish rotating at the end of a pole, while looking at its reflection in the pond’s water.

The famous legend has given rise to this festival at Tarnetar where a local Swayamwar is held every year. The present day Swayamwar is equally interesting. We saw beaming young men in traditional dress, sitting under gorgeously embroidered umbrellas. Young women in reach of grooms went around these umbrellas selecting groom. If a girl stops to talk to a man it confirms her willingness to marry him. After the fair, the marriages are finalized.

The pond near the Shiva temple is also considered sacred and the local people have great faith in its powers. Most visitors do not leave the place without sprinkling its holy water on their bodies.

For the people of Saurashtra this festival is an ocassion to meet friends. Besides being a alliances and social meeting, it is also a market place for buying and selling cattle and crops.

The Tarnetar fair covers a large area and the atmosphere is full of colour, music, dance, fun, frolic and love. We saw many temporary stalls selling a variety of local handicrafts. Some shops were selling ornaments for women like multi-colured and silver and white metal jewellery. Other stalls were selling colourful banjara or gypsy with traditional mirror work on the blouse and skirts. Statues of various Gods, chiefly Lord Shiva were also being sold.

Men and women were thronging the stalls where they were getting the names of their beloved tattooed on their forearms and the religious were getting the names of their gods imprinted on their foreheads. Some women wanted artificial beauty sports on their chin and cheeks!

For the children and the adventurous there were merry-go-rounds, giant wheels as well as horse riding. There was plenty to eat and drink- from typically Gujarati snacks like batata-vada, shrikhand, bhajiya, bhel puri, dhokla to ice creams, cold-drink and chilled sugar cane juice.

The festival was further enriched with typical Gujarati folk dances- raas and garba. The dancers were wearing beautifully embroidered colourful waist-coats and their umbrella-shaped shirts were billowing beautifully with their movements. The Tarnetar fair is also famous for its Rasda and Hudo dances in which the clapping of hands and stamping of feet demands a great sense of timing, which the women learn through practice.

The drums and manjira (cymbars), sounds fill the fair the air. A popular but unique musical instrument, the ‘Jodia Pava’ (double flute) was being magnificently played by some of the young boys of Saurashtra.

We left the Tarnetar fair, with beautiful memories of young girls choosing their grooms, folk dances and songs, shopping and the colourful vibrant atmosphere of joy and happiness.

Visiting Tarnetar Fair

Getting There

The nearest airport is Rajkot from where Tarneta village is 75 kilometres away. You can reach Tarnetar From Ahmedabad by road and rail. The tourism department also offers a Package tour.


The Tourism Department of Gujarat arranges tented accommodation at the site of the Fair. A few well-decorated mud huts with modern amenities are also made available.

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