01/09/2008

The Stone (Got) Pelting (mar) Mela of Pandhurna

A brief background about the Gotmela of Pandhurna:

Sixty five kilometers from Chhindwara, in the headquarters of 'Pandhurna' tahsil a unique fair (mela in hindi) by name 'Gotmar Mela' is celebrated every year on the second day to 'Bhadrapad' New Moon day. This fair is celebrated on the banks of the river 'Jam'. A long tree is erected in the middle of the river with a flag at its very top. The residents of the villages 'Savargaon' and 'Pandhurna' gather on either bank of the river, and start pelting stones ('Got') at the persons of the opposite village who try to cross into the mid of the river and remove the flag on top of the tree trunk. The village whose resident succeeds in removing the flag will be considered victorious. The whole activity happens amidst the chanting of the sacred name of 'Maa' Durgaji. Several people get wounded in this celebration and the District Administration makes elaborate arrangements for the smooth conduct of this rare fair.

However, this year the district collector arranged with the villagers to use rubber balls instead of the stones. It is believed that the villagers having exhausted the supply  resorted to pelting each other with stones leaving one dead and 800 injured.

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