Gotmar Mela Pandhurna

The Got-maar (hitting with pellets) fair is held at Pandhurna. It has a fine temple devoted to Lord Krishna and consort Radha. The temple is so constructed that throughout the year, first ray of the rising sun falls on the feet of the image.

The fair falls on Bhadra Sudi, 1 (August / September) ie. the day following the Pola festival. The fair is arranged by the municipality and is held only for a day. Over 5000 people come to attend it. The associated legend gives an interesting reading.

Gotmaar Mela Pandhurna

In the olden times, the exact period of which is not known, the then ruler of Pandhurna heard about the beautiful daughter of the Raja of Sawargaon on the other side of the river Jam. He made his plans and was successful in abducting the lovely lady from the palace of Sawargaon. But the people of Sawargaon became aware of this, and chased the abductor who as crossed the bed of river Jam was hurled at with stones. The people of Pandhurna were assembled on the other side of the river and seeing their King being attacked started throwing stones at the other side. The Raja of Pandhurna was, however, successful in reaching his place safely, which it is believed was possible because of the divine help of Goddess Chandi to whom he was extremely devoted.

This fair is a commemoration of this incident. A branch of palas tree (Butea frondosa) is fixed in the bed of the river Jam and then people from Pandhurna and Sawargaon try to run away with branches and leaves of this tree and throw river pebbles at one another. Many people who get hurt in the scuffles go to the temple of Goddess Chandi and soon as they apply the sacred ash from the temple, the wounds are said to become all right.

The other side of the fair is a very unhappy scene. About 750-900 people get injured every year due to this stone-hitting fair. Some of them are even seriously injured and some become handicapped for their whole life. The rural people consume alcohol that day and tend to use the prohibited Gofun to throw the stones to a longer distant because of what the viewers are at a greater risk of being hit.

There is always a demand arising time to time for banning this fair or least changing the form of the fair; but still the fair goes on every year.

The district administration is in-charge of the fair and it arranges for the strictest security during that day. Sale of alcohol is prohibited that day. Participants using the banned gofun are identified in the video recording of the tape and are dealt with strictly. Sometimes the administration has to use the Police to forcefully stop the fair on the scheduled time.

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