Kavant Fair

At a glance

Kavant, the gathering arena for a tribal group since time immemorial. It is a gathering of the Rathva community to extemporously recreate the joy of existence and life., it is a sheer delight to watch the exuberance of Rathva men and women dressed in their distinctive finery gradually congregating to sing and dance, discuss marriages and liaisons, barter goods and services all rising to a grand crescendo of gaiety and high energy which almost draws one forth into the mesmerizing world of Rathva culture. The older generation meanwhile set themselves down with their paraphernalia of snacks and condiments to muse about times gone by and matters of import regarding the future of their tribal ethos.

 

 

When

The Rathva Festival at Kavant is a pagan ululation to the harvest and the link between man and nature celebrated since time immemorial. It is a gathering of the Rathva community from as far off as Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. It usually begins on the third day after Holi.
 

Where

The village of Kavant is located in the heart of the Rathva homeland near the town of Chhota Udepur about a 100 kms from Vadodara which has an air port, a rail link and is a major city. There are two interesting heritage properties which are ideal to stay in near Kavant, the royal palaces at Chhota Udepur and Jambughoda.
 

Interesting facts

The Rathvas loosely inhabit Chhota Udepur in Vadodara District with marginal groups extending into Dahod and Godhra Districts and Alirajpur in adjoining Madhya Pradesh District. The Rathvas are the largest tribal unit in the state of Gujarat. From a history of hunter gatherers they now have graduated to farming and other rural occupations exploring their pastoral destiny. In spite of changing living patterns, they religiously revere their old ways in the celebrations of their rituals and have a deep pride in their traditional culture. Music plays an extremely important part of their lives and no Rathva would feel complete without his lovingly embellished Flute {paavo / piho / pihoto } as a remembrance of his forested homeland. The Rathvas also practice a mural painting form based on ritual traditional beliefs on the inner walls of their homes and dedicated to Pithora, the Rathva universal God of well being.
                         
                         The Kavant Festival is a catharsis of emotional splendor, a rite of passage, family liaisons and a successful harvest all amalgamated into one tremendous exposition of riot and colour.
                         
                         The Kavant Mela is a prominent tribal festival in the north-eastern part of Gujarat falling sometime in the month of April. On the way to Kavant village one can sometimes see bedecked groups of tribals trekking towards the venue. Through a variety of modes of transport they arrive, showing off their affluent eye shades, lighters and radios. Women of each village wear a dupatta and skirt of the same dye while the men wear similar turbans and skirts in order to differentiate themselves from other sub-groups. Both men and women are bedecked with community specific silver jewelry which is intricately sinewy and a pleasure to behold.

History

Kavant is a harvest festival celebrated with wild abandon through dance primordial blending the rhythm with the shashaying of the forest and the frolicking of the animals in the undergrowth. Surrounded by the beating of drums, the susurrations of a variety of flutes and the stamping of feet, the Rathvas dance in a vast group keeping time to the rise and fall of the crescendo of arrhythmic music in their tryst with destiny. The men folk wear a belt attached with pebble filled gourds and a string of brass bells. As they stamp their feet and gyrate their hips the bells and the pebbled gourds add percussion metronomical beats tintinabulating in the air. Some of the men carry cane sugar signifying the harvest and wear an elaborate headgear which is a conical hat stuck with small framed photos of local deities surrounded by an array of peacock feathers. Rice paste and ash are blended to make a dye painting the bodies with circles and dots in a ritualistic salutation to the jungle cat. Some men and women gather together to form a human pyramid and the surrounding atmosphere rides with the heightened energy and human spirit.
 

Nearby destinations

The Jambughoda Wildlife Sanctuary nearby is known for its sloth bear, flying foxes and a variety of flora and fauna.
 

Event calendar for the next five years

2018 :  4th March 2018

Disclaimer: You are requested to check the exact dates with Gujarat Tourism office before finalising your travel plans for this festival.

Who Comes

Rathwa community people along with tourists from all over the world.