Bhagoria Haat or market as it is locally known has no fixed venue. For seven days prior to Holi, different villages play venue to Bhagoria Haat. You can check the local newspapers for the information on this. The first village that we went to was Vaalpur, located almost at the Gujarat border. As we reached the village around noon, it was already full of colorful young people. The first thing that struck us was the groups of young women who were all dressed in same color, style and wore identical silver jewelry. Each group has its own color – black, blue, red, green, violet, orange sometimes a combination of two colors. Most of them wore the same jewelry – heavy, solid silverware. Wore their dupattas the same way and seem to carry the same expression as well.
Bhagoria Haat or Festival Market at Vaalpur
It took us some time and effort to search for the group of boys or potential grooms who should be out to woo the girls. There were not many groups, but the ones who came in style. All dressed up in dhotis and designer flutes. They flaunted their flutes both to showcase the exquisite designs on them. And to probably announce their single and available status. It was fun to interact with them, as they wanted to speak but were shy at the same time. For a long time, we just saw these groups roaming around in bunches, looking at each other, but we did not see any action. After we sat back as sheer observers, we saw some color exchange happening. Some boys did apply color to the girls while the girl tried to run away or avoid the color.
One of us also saw a girl accepting a Paan from a boy, which as per the local ritual means, that girl accepts the boy’s proposal. What happened after that is impossible to know unless we parked ourselves there for a few days?
Festivities at Vaalpur
The atmosphere was a typical village Haat with Halwai’s ruling the roost. There were all kinds of shops from clay pots to silverware, tattoo artists to toys, fruits to vegetables. But it was the sweet and savory shops that were the busiest. There was a small area with giant wheels. Old fashioned wooden ones that are pushed manually along with other swings and games. The colorful sharbat were being sold, as were Kulfis and Ice creams. People were purchasing usual home stuff and enjoying the rides and the crowds. For women, it seemed it was one of those few rare occasions when they can get dressed up. Come out and enjoy themselves, as we saw most of them in women-only groups.
On the day we were there, the MP of the region landed there too along with his wife on a helicopter. And there was a beeline to see the helicopter land and take off. Helipad became the biggest attraction while the helicopter was there. The people were lined all around it. The MP came, played the Dhol, danced a little bit with the locals, met us over light snacks. And told us all about the progress the tribal area is making especially in girl education. We were told about a major residential school that is coming up soon.
Overall it was the festivity in the air along with a whole lot of dust that defined the day. How many people actually lost their single status that day will never be known as most people deny the ritual now.
Recommend you to read following Places to visit in Madhya Pradesh.