Tarnetar Mela is one of the most popular fairs of Gujarat. It is organized in a village called Tarnetar, situated at a distance of around 75 kilometers from Rajkot. It is an annual three day fair and is celebrated during the months of August-September and is also called the Trinetreshwar Mahadev Fair. Tarnetar Mela is an important fair for the tribal people of India and is therefore thronged by all the nearby tribes of the region. The major tribes which participate in this fair are Koli, Bharwad, Rabari, Khant, Kanbi, Kathi, and Charan.
There is an exciting story behind the commencement of the fair, which
refers to the Mahabharta Era. It is said that the Swayamvar of Princess
Draupadi was conducted here. According to the folklore, the Pandava
Hero, Arjun, won Draupadi's hand by showing his skill at archery. This
has made the Tarnetar Mela a 'marriage mart' or 'Swayamvar' for the
tribal youth. The young tribal men come to this place to look for
suitable brides for themselves. The vibrant fair is the main attraction
for the tribal youth.
Men can be seen in traditional colorful attire of dhotis, waistcoats
and eye-catching turbans. These men come here to be chosen by the young
tribal lasses dressed in customary finery. All the bachelors sit under
their respective colorfully embroidered umbrellas. These umbrellas are
especially prepared for the occasion by the men themselves. The spirit
of festivity is at its peak during the Tarnetar Mela. All the tribal
people indulge in various merry making activities, like dancing, music,
competitive sports etc.
The colorful site of the fair is just awesome. It is flanked by over
300 stalls, selling food, refreshments, exhibiting embroidery and cattle
shows. One can get to see the traditional dance and music of the varied
ethnic groups participating in the fair. Tarnetar Mela is held around
the Trinetreshwar Temple, dedicated to the Lord Shiva. This temple is
very ancient and belongs to the first century. There is a pond here, the
water of which is considered as sacred as the water of river Ganges. The
reservoir is often termed as Papanashu (the destroyer of sins).