Shamlaji Melo takes place in a small town, Shamlaji, in Gujarat. The town is situated on the Delhi-Ahmedabad highway of India. Shamlaji Melo is also known as the Kartik Poornima fair, as it is celebrated on the full moon day in the month of Kartik. The fair is usually celebrated in November and lasts for about a week. It is a significant fair for the tribes, who come from various parts of Gujarat and Rajasthan to participate in this grand extravaganza. Shamlaji Melo is an example of the harmony that prevails in the region.
Despite their personal differences, tribal people belonging to
different regions come together and celebrate the fair with great zeal.
There is an estimated gathering of about two hundred thousand people,
which throng the place during the fair. It is organized near the famous
Shamlaji temple of the region, a famous Vaishnav shrine dedicated to the
deity called Gadadhar (mace bearer) or Shaksi Gopal. The temple
architecture dates back to the 11th century and is of great
The devotees attending the Shamlaji Melo belong to varied castes and
communities, including the Garasias and Bhils. The Bhils address the
deity as 'Kalio Bavji' i.e. Dark Divinity. The pilgrims visit river
Meshwo before entering the temple, to seek the blessings of the Lord.
The holy dip in the waters of this river is considered very sacred. The
devotees sing devotional songs in the praise of the Lord. They shout the
name of the deity and express their gratitude. One can also see colorful
religious banners in the hands of the people.
Shamlaji Melo is an excellent example of the secular nature of our
country. People of all religion, caste and region participate in this
holy fair. The cultural heritage and spirit of Gujarat can be witnessed,
at its best, here. You can also buy some local handicrafts of the region
as a memoir of the fair. Shamlaji Melo provides you an opportunity to
witness the religious beliefs and culture of the local people closely.
One can easily reach the venue of the fair as it is well connected to
all the major cities of Gujarat, by road.