This is the scenery of Bhagoria, a tribal festival of Nimad and Jhabua regions, celebrated by the famous Bhil Tribe of Madhya Pradesh, annually in the month of March, before the Holi festival. In this unique festival, young people choose their partners; elope with them and eventually, are accepted as man and wife, as per the convention dictates.
After the gulaal tradition or the exchange of paanwhich also signifies a declaration of love, the duo immediately flee into the forest or hide at a friend’s place and inform their parents after spending some time together. When they return, the boy presents an arrow, which indicates enmity, and a blouse (signifying marriage) to the girl’s family. If the blouse is returned, bride price terms can be discussed.The couple is then welcomed from their romantic adventure to a life of blessed matrimony!
The sight of this festival is surrounded by young boysin vivid clothes and turbans, and girls in spirited, colorfullehengaswith odhinis and decked up with silver jewelry. It is a privilege to see them sway on the rhythmic tribal music.Standing there, you could sense the timidity of the girls blushing behind their odhnisand the overflowing delight of the Bhil boys as they wooed the girls by playing the flute. The festival of Bhagoria, having a major role in this tribal heartland is also celebrated to mark the completion of harvesting. Involving giant magnificent wheels and tiny stalls, offering everything from toys to food, it is a hectic country fair which builds up an atmosphere shouting love!
Vibhushi Patwa For mptravelogue.com