The most important of the Adivasi fairs is held at Baneshwar
in the Aspur tehsil of Dungarpur district in southern Rajasthan. The site
of the fair is a small delta formed by the confluence of the river Som
with the Mahi. One has to wade to the fair through the Som. The word 'Baneshwar'
is derived from the Siva Linga of the area. A delta is known as 'van'
in Wagad (sparsely populated area). This Vaneshwar or Baneshwar means
the Master of the Delta.
The linga in the area is said to be self-born. It is
small and its top is broken into five parts. The present temple w as built
by Maharawal Askaran of Dungarpur. Near the temple of Baneshwar there
is the temple of Vishnu built by Jankunwari, the daughter-in-law of Mavji,
a highly revered saint of the area, who was supposed to be an incarnation
of Vishnu. Mavji is said to have written five books called 'Chopras'.
The original book is read every year at Diwali by the Goswami (priest)
of the temple. Mavjis equestrain temple is the main idol of worship. After
Mavji, his son succeeded him. Two disciples of Mavji built the third temple
in the area which is called as the Laskshmi-Narain temple.
The tribal fair is held from Magh Shukla Ekadashi to
Magh Shukla Purnima (Feb- Mar). Only the priest is permitted to touch
the idols. Most of the devotees are Bhils and every night they sing round