Sheetla Mata Fair, Jaipur
Celebrating Culture and Tradition alongside Devotion at the Sheetla Mata Fair, Jaipur
Location - Doongri Village, Jaipur
Date - March 24, 2017
Highlights - Cultural shows, folk music and dance performances, cattle fair, ethnic items’ fair market, holy visit to temple atop the hill
Sheetla Mata is one among the numerous Indian Gods and Goddesses and is much revered by thousands of devotees across the nation. The annual fair is held in the village of Seel-Ki-Doongri in Jaipur in the Hindu month of Chaitra i.e. March- April on Krishna Paksh. Doongri is a small hilltop on which the shrine of Sheetla Mata is positioned in a temple and a red stone symbolizes the demigoddess. The fair is organized to celebrate the glory of the Sheetla Mata and also trying to please her by bestowing earnest prayers and some of the holy offerings to the Goddess.
As ironic as it may sound, whilst the name Sheetla, having been derived from Sheetal suggests calm, composed and pleasant, the Goddess in actuality is much known for her wrath and people are quite literally God- fearing in this regard. It is a strong belief among the localities that if the displeasure of Sheetla Mata is brought upon, then there can be an extreme spread of epidemics in the village. Thereafter, the devotees worship the Goddess quite sincerely so as to pacify her and keep her in good spirits aside from their general religiousness.
The fair attracts thousands of tourists from across the globe every year and all are certain to get a good insight into the cultural, social, religious and traditional world of the country. Apart from tourists from world over, numerous pilgrims from within the state and nearby cities flock the village during this time to pay tribute to the Goddess. The fair also caters to the fun element aside from the religious and spiritual significance attached to it. Men and women dress beautifully in traditional outfits and women adorn themselves with heavy jewellery and make-up. Even the animals like horses, cows, bullocks and camels etc. are nicely decorated for the occasion and a cattle fair is an additional feature of the fair. Several livestock is traded at the event and all the owners put their best foot forward for a successful sale of their animals.
A variety of ethnic goods and handicrafts items are put up for display and purchase in the number of small stalls positioned in the temporary fair market, for the tourists to take back home. This indeed is a great way for people to have something traditional and exclusive of the region with them. Many other utility items like shoes, clothes, food and grocery items, utensils and agricultural implements are also sold at these shops and provides for a good business for the villagers as well. Many entertaining folk music and dance events are also organized and people participant with a high enthusiasm to celebrate the festive time. This time is considered to be particularly auspicious and the tourists must take off time to visit the place during this period to make for a highly enjoyable and culturally rich day.