Baneshwar Fair is a popular tribal fair held in Dungarpur district in Rajasthan state of India. The fair is held in the month of February at Baneshwar, which is a small delta formed by the river Soma away from Dungarpur. The temple is located at the delta formed by river Soma. This is the festivals of tribals and trbies from neigboring states like Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh attend this festival to offer prayers to Lord Shiva. The Baneshwar fair is held at a small delta formed by the river Som and Mahi, from Magh Shukla Ekadashi to Magh Shukla Purnima.
This fair is a major fair of the tribals. ‘Baneshwar’ means the ‘master of the delta’ which is derived from the Shiva Linga worshipped in the Mahadev temple in Dungarpur. This is a religious fair with simple and traditional rituals. The tribal of Bhils come from the neighboring states of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat and offer prayers to Lord Shiva. This fair exhibits all the fun and frolic of the fair life swings and selling local items. The fair echoes with the fun of songs, folk dances, magic shows, animal shows and acrobatic feats.
Adding to the excitement are the joy rides on merry-go-rounds. On Magh Shukla Ekadashi, the priest which is called the Mathadhish, arrives at the fair site from Sabla, in a huge procession. A 16 cms silver image of Mavji on horseback is also brought here. The river water supposedly becomes holier when the Mathadhish takes a bath. Hence, people bathe along with him in the river. The Bhils consign the ashes of their dead at the confluence of the rivers.
The Bhils attending Baneshwar Fair sing traditional folk songs in high pitched voices sitting around a bonfire every night. Cultural shows are arranged by youngsters of the clan. Groups of villagers are also invited to participate in the program.
The Baneshwar Mahadev temple remains open from 5.00 a.m. to 11.00 p.m. during the Baneshwar fair. Devotees offer wheat flour, pulses, rice, jaggery, ghee, salt, chillies, coconut and cash. At the temple. The fair resounds with the gaiety of songs, folk dances, magic shows, animal shows and acrobatic feats.
Adding to the excitement are the joy rides on merry-go-rounds and swings. The large number of shops in the fair provides an opportunity for buying and selling of essential goods and fancy articles.