If you are a native of India, you will know how diverse the nation is and how rich it is in terms of culture, religious and personal beliefs, customs and practices, foods, languages, etc. India's diversity and richness are clearly portrayed through the various regional and national events that are celebrated here. If this isn't enough, the best part is you don’t need to be a member of a particular religious sect or group to take part in any of the festivals. One such event that is celebrated throughout the nation but is of Rajasthani origin is the Kaila Devi Fair of Karauli, Rajasthan.
The Kaila Devi Fair in Karauli seems to be the most awaited festival in Karauli, Rajasthan. The Fair is held in the Hindu calendar month of Chaitra Budhi and is celebrated for about fifteen days at the Kaila Devi Temple. The temple remains open for all sects of people throughout the year and, especially, during the time of the fair when there is a huge surge of pilgrims from across the globe.
For the unversed, Kaila Devi Temple is a Hindu temple in the village of Kailadevi, Karauli district in Rajasthan, and was built in honour of Goddess Kaila Devi. The Goddess is believed to be an incarnation of both Goddess Mahalakshmi and Goddess Chamunda, the Goddesses of wealth and death respectively. The Kaila Devi Temple in India, originally made of marble, houses two other smaller temples in its courtyard- a temple of Bhairon and a small temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman.
The deity is worshipped mainly by the Yadavas and the Khinchi clans of Karauli, primarily for wealth and prosperity.
This year, Kaila Devi Fair is Going to be celebrated from 08th April to 26th April 2021.
The temple’s construction by Maharaja Gopal Singh originally dates back to the year 1723-1730 in honour of Goddess Kaila Devi. Although the deity had long been worshipped by devotees of our country, the arrival of the Goddess in the Karauli district and the Kaila Devi Temple's history is a fascinating story.
According to legends, a statue of Goddess Kaila Devi was being carried by a sage on a bullock cart, fleeing from Nagarkot, to protect it. At that time, Kaila Devi herself appeared in front of the sage and assured him that she would protect the people of that area, and surprisingly, the bullock of the sage stopped too, amid the dense forest in the hill refusing to move an inch further.
Finally, by divine ordinance, the statue was established at that very place by the sage where the Kaila Devi Temple now stands in Karauli. Later, the Goddess' words also came to be true as people of the Chandravanshi rulers of Karauli seem to have received the blessings of the Goddess and still continue to do so.
The biggest attraction of this does is the way it is celebrated. The venue, during the time of the fair, sees a huge increase in visitors and pilgrims from Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, and many other states that come to take part in the festivities. The fair is held in a grand manner and offerings are made to the Goddess by the visitors in the form of fruits, nuts, and sweets.
Crowds throng Rajasthan during this time to witness the various regional dances and music performed by the pilgrims in praise of the Goddess. However, the most unique ritual observed during the Fair is known as Kanak-Dandoti. As per the practice, people reach the temple by lying prostrate and crawling their way to the temple. Devotees do this for 15 to 20 km to impress the mighty Goddess.
The celebrations at the Kaila Devi Fair brings in an air of merriment to the rigorous rituals. Trade setups are done on a large scale at the fair by traders to sell varieties of articles in their shops to the crowd. Every year, during this time, Mina tribesmen are seen to arrive at the fair who sing and present folk dances to amuse the crowd and lighten up the environment. Religious songs are sung in chorus in the praise of the goddess in the temple courtyard.
Other than the temple and fair, you can visit popular sight-seeing places in Karauli like the City Palace, Madan Mohan Ji Temple, Shri Mahavirji Jain Temple, Timangarh Fort, Keladevi Wildlife Sanctuary, among others.
Karauli in Rajasthan is situated at a distance of approximately 328, 1,190, 1,450, and 1982 km from Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Bengaluru respectively. Here are the best ways to reach the Kaila Devi Temple with ease.
By Train. Passengers travelling from Delhi and Jaipur travel to Gangapur City junction by train that costs around INR 250-750, and from there take a taxi to the fair. Trains are also available from Sewri (Maharashtra) via Andheri to Gangapur City but are expensive and time-consuming. Devotees from Kolkata travel from Howrah Junction to Sri Mahabirji station from where a taxi is required to reach the fair. Train journeys from Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, and Kolkata to Karauli costs around INR 1500 and are time-consuming, thus, flights are an easy option.
By Air. Jaipur Airport receives flights from all major metro cities like Gwalior, New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Hyderabad. From the Jaipur Airport, public buses, taxis, and trains are available either to Gangapur City junction or to the Kaila Devi Fair and a one-way trip to the fair by air can cost anywhere between INR 3000-10000. Air travel to the Kaila Devi Fair is expensive but safe and saves you a lot of time too.
By Road. All the major cities of India are well-connected to Karauli by buses which can cost you anything between INR 100 to 1500. However, direct bus lines are not available from Kolkata, Jaipur, and other southern cities and thus, other methods of transport are feasible like taking a cab or self-driving.
You can plan your trip and create your own route to the city with Adotrip’s technically driven circuit planner. Click here.