Vautha Fair in Dholka
The Vautha Fair that takes place in the hamlet of Vautha in Gujarat’s Dholka municipality which in turn falls under Ahmedabad district, is essentially a cattle fair. Cattle heads comprising cows, donkeys, camels, and other domestic animals numbering in thousands are dressed up attractively before being herded to the fair. The Vautha festival is the largest of all the animal fairs that are organized on an annual basis in the state. These animals are sold with the aim of using the same in domestic and farm-related activities. Trading is conducted on the confluence of six rivers where the Vatrak joins the Khari, Majum, Shedhi, Hathmati, and Meshwo before draining into the Sabarmati River.
Traders and visitors flock to the fair in all forms of transportation including jeeps, camels, buses, tractors, and bullock-carts. Traditionally, villagers from nearby hamlets have been camping up along the banks of the river and one can see tents spread in a radius of at least 3-4 square miles. The cattle carnival that goes on for about 5 days becomes an occasion for villagers to indulge in revelry and merrymaking with abandon. The rustics abandon their dwellings temporarily to put up at the fairgrounds and rustle up delicacies every day, the favorites being kachariyu and khichu.
On the sidelines of the cattle fair, makeshift stalls are erected that sell everything from handicrafts to trinkets and from machinery to other knickknacks. More than 30,000 people put up over 2,500 camps for the five days of the fair and in the evening diyas and paper lamps are lighted up to be set afloat in the river. The entire surroundings wear a resplendent look at night. The fair is arranged in the holy month of Kartick (November) and the night when the full moon appears on the sky is the most propitious day of the event.
Hindus believe that bathing in the river or taking a dip during Kartick Poornima (the night of full moon) washes away an individual’s sins.
If folklores or legends are to be believed, Kartick, son of Parvati (one divine form of goddess Durga) and Lord Shiva was enchanted by the natural beauty of the Saptasangam (the meeting point of the seven rivers). Consequently, he observed penance at the confluence of the rivers. Dholka, the closest city, is the place where the Pandavas of Mahabharata are said to have visited before ending their exile.
Best Time to Visit
The fair is held in the month of November during Kartik Purnima.
Where is it located?
The most convenient way to visit the fair is to reach Ahmedabad by road, rail or air and then proceed to Dholka from where the fairgrounds is about 26kms away.