Sheetla Mata Fair
The Sheetla Mata Fair in honour of the goddess of small-pox
is held in all village and towns on Sheetla Ashtama day.
The biggest fair is held in March-April every year
at Seel-Ki-Doongri, a village in Jaipur district. There is a shrine dedicated
to the Mata on a hillock, locally called Doongri. The present temple is
said to have been erected by Maharaja Madho Singh of Jaipur. The fair
is attended by one lakh or more people.
Sheetla Mata is among the Puranic goddess and venerated
all over the country. She is addressed differently in different areas.
In U. P she is known as Mata or Maha Mai, in western India as Mai Anama
and in Rajasthan as Sadh, Sheetla or Sedal Mata. The word 'Sheetla' comes
from sheetal. The belief is that Sheetla Mata appears in the form of small
pox to calm the sufferer after he had been afflicted with high fever.
This fair is also known as a fair of bullock-carts.
The devotees of the Mata come from far and near in their decorated
bullock-carts and the tinkling of bells tied to the necks of bullocks
fills the air. The assemblage of these carts and their colourful occupants
at the foot of the hillock crowned by the shrine is one of the memorable
sights of Rajasthan.