Bhagoriya Mela, where boys and girls elope after choosing life partner

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Bhil and Bhilala tribal groups who are settled in Western Nimar, Jhabua, Dhar, Badwani and Alirajpur areas of Madhya Pradesh welcomed their favourite occassion ‘Bhagoriya Mela’.

Bhagoriya mela starts a week before Holi. It’s also known as Vivaah Bazaar (Marriage market) as girls and boys gather at the different Bhagoriya haats to look for a life partner. When they feel they have decided who they want to get married to, they just smear gulal on them or offer them paan, which is considered as a way of proposing. If the other side is interested, they have to reciprocate back in the same way. If both sides show interest, it’s deemed as they have accepted each other. They immediately run away from the spot and get married.

Bhagoriya mela has everything that any mela would have- from food stalls to joyrides. However, the occasion is particularly famous among boys and girls who find a match here and get married. Later the society accepts them as a married couple.

There are also times when couple in love wait for this mela to run away, the report said.

Before independence, this festival was that of bloodshed. Enemies used to challenge each other openly to come and fight at Bhagoriya mela. Lot of lives were lost. However, later due to awareness and administration’s strictness the mela assumed a new meaning altogether.