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The man getting ready to start the day at Vautha Mela.

Vautha Mela is held every year at Vautha, where two rivers, the Sabarmati and the Vatrak meet. Like most fair sites in India, this also has both mythological and current religious associations.

The Vautha Mela site is 3 square miles in area. Legends hold that Kartik Swami or Kartikeya, the son of Lord Shiva, visited the site. This is why the fair is held during Kartika Purnima, the full moon night of the month of Kartik, corresponding to November. The site, also known as Saptasangam, is at the confluence of seven rivers. The most important Shiva temple here is the temple of Siddhanath.

What is most significant about this fair is that it is the only major animal trading fair in Gujarat and is on par with the famous camel fair at Pushkar, Rajasthan. However here the animals traded here are donkeys and just a few camels. About 5,000 donkeys are brought every year for sale, usually by Vanjara (gypsy) traders.

The pilgrims who visit Vautha during the fair are from several communities and include farmers, labourers and people belonging to several castes

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Additional Photos by Ashit Parikh (ash_parikh) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 237 W: 0 N: 172] (2266)
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