Run With Your Love At Bhagoria Tribal Festival - Mass Swayamwar - Unique Way To Propose A Girl

 People of West Nirmar Alirajpur & Jhabua district of Madhya Pradesh celebrates Mass Swayamvar(Marriage Ceremony) for couples who are looking for true Love. Heaven for those who believe in love marriages or you can say Tribal Valentine's Day.

Bhagoria Haat in Alirajpur
Bhagoria Festival in Alirajpur, Madhya Pradesh

Bhagoria Festival or Bhagoria Haat(Mela) is the multi-hued festival of the Bhil's and the Bhilala's tribes of Madhya Pradesh. This is a festival of Colour, Music & Love.
The Bhagoria Fest usually held a week before the Hindu festival of colours, Holi. Men and women celebrate it with traditional dancing to the beat of drums and thalis and the melodious voice of shehnai and bansuri (flutes). Bhagoradev or the god of dance is worshipped on this juncture. The most respected village elder or Sarpanch supervises over the ceremony and offers sweet meals to the god.

Festival name itself indicates its purpose ‘bhag’ means ‘to run’ - after choosing their partners, the young people elope and are subsequently accepted as husband and wife by society through predetermined customs. During the Bhagoria Haat or Mela, the boys put Gulal (red/pink powder) on the face of the girl to whom he wants to get married, if the girl too willing to marry the same boy, she has to put the same Gulal (red/pink powder) on the boy's face after which both of them run away from that place and if not, she wipes it off and walks away. But if the girl does not get convinced in the first instance, the boy can go behind her to sway her and may win her heart. This may not happen immediately but the boy may pursue her and succeed eventually. Usually the couple may have met before the fair several times, and hence the idea of eloping is rather a formalized process, more stylistic than real, and conforming to the laws of their traditional rules and regulations. Bhagoria festival is celebrated in the month of Phalguna (February – March) seven days before Holi, the major Indian festival.

bhil trial women in silver ornaments
Tribal Women Dressed up in Traditional Silver Jewelry

Earlier, the Bhagoria Haat was also the place for settling old disputes; open invitations were sent to enemies for a fight in the haat. Bloody battles used to be quite common in the past but today police and administration do not allow people to go to the haat armed. The Bhagoria haat also coincides with the completion of harvesting, adding to it the dimension of being an agricultural festival as well.

bhil tribal women
Tribal Women at Bhagoria Haat

During this festival, young tribal girls and boys dress up in colorful clothes and big and traditional silver jewelry which one does not see in everyday markets. Each group wears a matching set of clothes which helps them stand out in the crowd. The groups of boys enter the arena dancing and playing instruments like the flute and other such instruments to create attention of females toward them. This festival is full of dance and songs and drunken revelry. The tribes make homemade alcohol drinks called ‘tadi’ (Local wine) made from the fruits of the mahuaa tree. The fruits of this tree are dried and fermented creating a local brewed alcohol which is enjoyed by the entire tribe. Tadi is a famous rural alcoholic drink of India.

Tribal Women from Bhilal Tribe
Tribal Women from Bhil Tribe

How to reach Alirajpur:
Alirajpur is placed at Khandwa - Baroda State highway number 26 . The Distance of Alirajpur is 150km from Vadodra, 48 kilometers from Kukshi (Dhar) and 85 KM form Jhabua. Road is very good to reach here from every side. It is Located 250 kms away from Indore and also with several direct buses available from there. Nearest Railway Stations are Dahod, Megh Nagar and Chota Udaipur and the nearest Airport is at Vadodra, Indore, Bhopal & Jabalpur.

Time of Visit Alirajpur:
Visit in any month of the year but especially for Katthiwada waterfall visit in rainy season From July to November month and to enjoy Bhagoria festival visit 1 week before Holi in the month of March.

Accommodation near Alirajpur:
There are some Rest Houses of PWD and Forest Department and many private Hotels.

Near-by place to visit: 
At one end, forest of Katthiwada (known as mini Kashmir) and at the other end greenery over the mountain at Mathvad area in sondwa block As well as the view of Narmada river with heavy flow of water and boating .Besides of these there are an ancient temple of Goddess "Malwai" Mata, Jain Holy place "Lakshamani" and many places of historical importance.

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