The festival begins on the eve of the new moon when all the women meet at the river and mourn for their dead through the night. The following day the fair sets off with splashing of dazzling colours and drumming.
History of Chitra Vichitra Fair
According to history the fair derived its name from King Shantanu's two sons named Chitravirya and Vichitravirya. Legend has it that they were cured from their diseases at the place of the fair. Nearest town is Khedbrahma which is 30 kms away and people can visit the famous temple of Brahma, which is one of the few in India and the adjacent major town is Mehsana which is 133 kms away although Ahmedabad too is within easy motor able distance.
Celebration of Chitra Vichitra Fair
The main temple of the fair is located on a picturesque site called the Triveni Sangam. It is the sacred confluence of the three rivers Sabarmati, Akul and Vyakul, amid the foothills of the Aravalis.
The Chitra Vichitra fair is one of the most important fairs of the Adivasis in the region. The festival attracts almost 60,000 people who hail from Garasia and Bhil communities. People from far away and distant villages arrive for the festival on various types of conveyances ranging from jeeps to camel carts. People come a day or two in advance in large groups and encamp under the banyan trees on the riverside. They spend the night under the sky by the side of small bonfires.
The tribal men wear costume which consists of a blue shirt, dhoti and a red or saffron fenta or turban. The women adorn themselves with ghagharas which have a circumference of as much as 20 yards. The women wear ornaments and heavy silver jewellery from head to feet. They also wear beautifully knitted rafia jewellery made from pale yellow or dyed crimson grass. The women adorn themselves with liquid kumkum or vermilion that colour their cheeks and lips a brilliant red, while their eyes are outlined vibrantly with kajal.
Every group who visit the fair carries its own drum, so that the atmosphere comes alive with a continuous beating of the drums. The women sing folk songs in choruses and everyone dances near the main temple. Over a hundred stalls are set up that sell varieties of food, drink, and sweets. Silver ornaments and household items are also sold. Different types of arts and crafts made by the tribal people are put on display. There is also a giant wheel and a merry-go-round. The dancing and drumming continue for hours until everyone is left exhausted.
The Chitra Vichitra fair of Gujarat offers an environment full of complete fun and frolic. Visitors can enjoy as well as participate in the dance and music of local tribes. This fair is also a great prospect for tribal men to meet forthcoming partners for marriage and numerous couples have been known to elope directly from the fair site.