When – Mhasa Yatra dates – Paush Purnima i.e. Full moon day of Paush (tenth Hindu month). Mhasa Yatra 2019 should start on January 21st and will last for a week
Where – Murbad taluka, Thane District, Maharashtra
We, Indians are very social people. We love to meet, banter, sing, dance, eat together; essentially we love to celebrate and have fun together. Our culture has evolved beautifully to create occasions to socialize through festivals. In ancient times, huge social gatherings were celebrated as “Jatra (Yatra)” or village fair in Maharashtra. They are basically annual fairs held in honor of local deity of the village. These huge gatherings were also an opportunity for the small and big traders around the village to do business.
Even today, this rich tradition is alive in rural India. I had pleasure of visiting one such traditional fair – “Mhasa Fair”. It is one of the Biggest Bullocks Trading Fair. It is held on Paush ( 10th month of Hindu Marathi calendar) Purnima (Full Moon) i.e. approximately in the month of January every year. The tradition of Mhasa Yatra is more than 200 years old and the presiding deity of fair is Khamblingeshwar or Mhasoba(Lord Shankar ). Devotees come in thousands to offer their prayers to Lord Shankar from different parts of Maharashtra. Yatra is held over a sprawl of 1.5 to 2 kms surrounding the temple in Mhasa village.
Mhasa Yatra as the name suggests is held in Mhasa village located in Murbad taluka of Thane district. Murbad region is settled inside Sahyadri (Western Ghats) natural depression and is encompassed by the hills of Meena Maval and Kukad Maval. Interestingly, the location of the Yatra is on the Ancient Trade Route of Bhimashankar – Junnar via Bail Ghat or Darya Ghat. It is interesting and fun to know about the history of the region from the locals around here. The region is surrounded by some of the oldest forts like Siddhagad and Gorakhgad.
The visitors number are more than a lakh to the fair annually. Most of them are from regions surrounding Murbad – living near Mumbai, Kalyan, Thane and surrounding places. There are traders not only from entire Maharashtra but from Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat and few other states visiting the fair. My friends visited the fair with a particular purpose of most interest to us. It holds one of the largest bullock fair and we wanted to observe all different breeds such as Gir, Sahiwal, Khillari etc. Some of these breeds are used for farming; some for the purpose of racing exclusively while some for only pulling carts. And yes, some of the breeds such as Red Sindhi breed look elegant and handsome!