Horses take centre stage at Sarangkheda Chetak Festival 2017
Published : Dec 14, 2017, 1:54 pm IST
Updated : Feb 19, 2018, 7:09 pm IST
For more than 300 years, Sarangkheda, a village in Nandurbar district of Maharashtra, has been hosting Chetak Festival – a celebration of the finest equestrian breeds. A festival that lasts for a month, it is a rare, yet spectacular sight to witness more than 2000 majestic horses in a single location.
Man grooms his horse ahead of the fair at Sarangkheda Chetak Festival. For more than 300 years, Sarangkheda, a village in Nandurbar district of Maharashtra, has been hosting Chetak Festival – a celebration of the finest equestrian breeds. A festival that lasts for a month, it is a rare, yet spectacular sight to witness more than 2000 majestic horses in a single location.
Man tending to the saddles ahead of the festival. Nowadays it is jointly organised as an initiative of Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation Ltd. (MTDC) and Sarangkheda Committee in a modified format in order to share this stunning festival with the world.
Tending to the horse shoes of the beasts. Every year, the beginning of the fair coincides with Datta Jayanti festival which mark’s the celebrations at the village’s Datta Mandir.
Horses become the centre of attention at the festival. This year the festival was inaugurated at the hands of Jaykumar Rawal, Minister of Tourism and (EGS), Government of Maharashtra in the presence of Yoshio Yamashita, Wakayama Prefecture Government, Onishi Tatsunori, International Planning Division, Wakayama Prefecture Government and other Japanese delegates.
Sarangkheda Chetak Festival has been celebrating equestrianism for the last 300 years.
An old man looks on as horses nuzzle each other at the festival. The festival displayed horses from states like Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Afghanistan, and Gujarat.
Nandurbar district has immense scope for tourism and envisage to boost tourist in this destination thorough Sarangkheda Chetak Festival. With various artforms like horse show to sports and dance performances, the 31-days festival is an ideal platform to attract tourists from all across the world.
To promote this festival at an international platform, MTDC with the organisers have developed a website for Nandurbar, a mobile application and released a booklet containing information for tourists visiting the region.
Legend has it, that the brave Maratha ruler, Chhatrapati Shivaji visited this horse fair to acquire war horses of the highest quality. In the past, the fair has attracted horse traders and buyers to Sarangkheda from far-flung areas of India and as far as Balochistan and Arabia. The tradition of horse trading has continued to this day, with patrons and horse lovers from across the nation still visiting the village during the festival.
Handlers showing of tiny ponies at the festival. Cut off from Maharashtra until 1957, the Sarangkheda Village and other villages in the north of the Tapi River were later connected to the rest of the state through the construction of a bridge.
A man shows off a decked up horse at the Sarangkheda Chetak Festival. From the Nizams to farmers, from warriors to traders, Sarangkheda attracted people from all walks of life to buy horses. With its close proximity to the Tapi River, the location happened to be an excellent choice for animals that need to be cared for during the fair.