With an aim to scale it up and make it a national event, the Gujarat government and the Centre will participate in the age-old Madhavpur cultural fair in Porbandar district from this year onward. To underline the connection between Gujarat and Northeast states, the government has invited Chief Ministers, Governors and artistes from the region to take part in the five-day fair, beginning from March 25. Madhavpur village panchayat and Madhavraiji Mandir Trust, the religious organisation managing the Madhavraiji temple, have been organising the fair for many years. This time, the fair is being organised with the help of the Union Ministry for Culture and Gujarat government.
The annual fair begins on Ram Navmi, the birth anniversary of Lord Ram and celebrates the marriage of Madhavraiji or Lord Krishna to princess Rukmini. According to Hindu mythology, Krishna had rescued his grandson Aniruddha from Sonitpur (present day Tezpur in Assam) after he was abducted by Chitralekha. Now, the state and Central governments want to highlight this connection by inviting Chief Ministers and Governors of Northeast states and artistes from various parts of the country. “Since time immemorial, there has been some connection between Gujarat and Northeast states. Government wants to highlight this and this is the reason why Chief Minister Vijay Rupani has extended invites to his counterparts and Governor of Northeast states to visit Madhavpur fair,” Mukul Gandhi, Commissioner, Youth Services and Cultural Activities of Gujarat, told The Indian Express.
“As part of the government participation in the fair, artistes from across seven zones of the country will perform every evening. Padma Bhushan recipient classical dancer Sonal Mansingh is among the artistes who will perform at the fair,” Gandhi said. District Sports Officer of Porbandar, Vipul Joshi, said that 200 artistes and officers from west zone cultural centre and 146 artistes and officers from east zone cultural centre of Union Ministry of Culture will perform at the fair. “There will be 80 artistes and officers from the Northeast states and 66 from Varanasi and Vrindavan in Uttar Pradesh,” said Joshi.
“Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was expected to visit the fair and we were planning to set up 300 stalls. But now, it has been confirmed that the Prime Minister will not come. Therefore, we have scaled down our plans. We will set up only 200 stalls at the fair now,” said an officer in Porbandar district administration.