Man finds various ways to connect with God. The spiritual journey can’t be ignored. Its like somewhere in the deep layers of our minds we cannot surpass the very existence of someone or something supernatural. And the best of this spiritual bite, you can have, is in India. This Godly divinity is attached to almost every event celebrated here. The essence of this land is its Religion, it may be bizarre for some of us but that is how the people here in India live up each day, and each day celebrate some God or the other. Rivers, ponds, stones, all are sacred here, and even small fairs and events gain popularity if they have some alliance with the spiritual spree.
The Banganga fair is one of the local events of Rajasthan. Not so popular but still hold its gravity among the local masses, small fair but still big in its reverence and devotion to the Almighty. 11 km away from Bairath, a small but historic and notable town in Jaipur district, this fair is an annual event held near a brook, a small stream on a full moon day of Vaishakh month (April-May) as per the Hindu calendar. Bairath is 85 kms away from Jaipur on a diversion from National Highway No. 8 near Shahpura, which also connects Alwar. A regular bus service is there between Jaipur and Maid (from where Banganga is only a couple of kilometers away) from where you can take a local transportation to Banganga.
The word Banganga means a stream created by shooting an arrow, Ban means an arrow and Ganga is the name of a river in India and is synonymous to all the religious water bodies. The mythology has set up the belief that Arjun, one of the Pandavas, created this rivulet while they were in exile for fourteen years. Arjun was the best of the best in shooting bow and arrow; he was the ace striker and could hit the eyes of a moving fish. Amazingly brilliant!!!
Devotees assemble at the Shri Radha Krishnaji’s temple in the morning hours; they take a bath at the ghats (a flight of steps leading to the water) of the Banganga River with the belief that it has the capability to sanctify the soul. The pilgrims then precede pay homage to the nearby shrines of Hanuman and Ganga Bihari, the Shiva temple and the Math of Goswamiji.
You can attend this fair for its local feel, as otherwise big festivals are hyped and have all the glitters to attract the travelers and tourists. You can just watch the dramatization of the small town religious people their devotion toward the sacred river, their intensity and zeal for soul cleansing. Its different from the usual touristy that we are used to.
The main objective in this fair is to take a dip in the holy water of the Banganga River considering that purifying the soul will wash all their sins away.
But then to be human is not that simple. It’s the enticing world and though the inner self is important the outer self cannot be less than anything, and this holds so true, when the tranquility of the auspicious Godly occasion is confronted with the tinsel, busy bazaar, that is an easy enough reason for anybody to get trapped in it. And so this fair has also gained importance for the traders and merchants, who collect here to sell their goods. And to watch over these local commodities is real fun, and I would say more of an exploration as you come across so many new things that it could just expand your personal dictionary. The rural ornaments are like eye candy, they are big chunks of neckpieces, wristbands, dangling earrings, waistbands, anklets and what not. If you have a knack for fashion and fads, you are sure to pick some authentic Indian stuff from here. This does not end here, it’s the big bazaar and you will find the business deals taking place between local men and women and the shop owners, the bargaining looks like sweet coaxing and cajoling going on and then ends with the universal law that customer is always right!!!! The items sold here range from these rural ornaments to cheap plastic toys for kids and household items for the housewives, clothes and many more.