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Erangal Jatra

Friday, March 9, 2012

Ever since Shawn and Flature had told me about this Fair which takes place at Erangal Village at St Bonaventure Church, I had made up my mind that I would go see this Fair. I go to the Bandra Fair every year. But this fair was new to me.

 The Erangal Fair is held every year on the second Sunday in January. To read about the Erangal Church and Village
St. Bonaventure Church
I had gone to visit Matheran with Shawn, Perpetua, Savio and Flature on Saturday. To view my writeup on Matheran, click on this link,

The relentless walking that we had done in Matheran had caused blisters on my leg but I didn’t want to miss the Erangal Fair. So despite my foot injury I decided to go to the fair.

 I asked Hithakshi to accompany me to the fair. We decided to meet at Malad Railway Station at 2 pm. As it was a Sunday, the frequency of the train services had been affected on account of maintenance work. We were able to reach Malad station only at 2:30 pm.
THe Erangal Jatra on the Beach
Bus no. 271 plies to Madh. Since Erangal Village is on the way to Madh, we boarded this bus. On this day BEST runs special buses to take devotees to the Church. Each bus carries a banner, reading Erangal Jatra - Reserved especially for the Fair (Jatra). The bus ride lasted for 35 minutes and cost us Rs 12 per head.

 At the bus stop, there was a big traffic jam, with police bandobast (police for patrolling the fair) and devotees in large numbers.

Giant Wheel
We added our numbers to the crowd. Both sides of the road were crowded with vendors selling sweets, toys, curtains, religious articles and foodstuffs. It took us around 20 minutes to reach the Church.

The church, built in the 15th century, was whitewashed and beautifully decorated both from the inside and outside with lighting and other d├ęcor.
Statue of St. Bonaventure in the Church
Statues of St Bonaventure were kept for people to pay their respects. People came in huge numbers to pay their respects here. We too joined them in the queue.

The Church is near the shore and as it was a time of low tide, the waterline was far away. It was the perfect opportunity for vendors to set up their stalls.

The Well of Death
Flature had left a comment on my earlier post on Madh Fort, Erangal Church and Mandapeshwar Caves that the fair was usually meant for East Indian communities who used to cook, play music and eat in the shacks they used to build on the sea shore. But that was the past.

To view my post on Madh Fort, Erangal Church and Mandapeshwar Caves, click on this link

As I entered the Fair (jatra) I was reminded of the depiction of fairs in old Hindi B&W movies that I used to see as a child. This fair was exactly like those shown in those old films.

Local Tattoo Artist
The tall giant wheel ride, the merry-go-rounds, and small car rides for the children, the Well of Death where daredevils drove their cars and bikes, the ice cream and cold drink stalls on the beach, the toys prepared by the local artisans, the tattoo artists with their tattoo machines and designs, the clothes kept for sale on the beach, the sweet marts, toy shops, the balloon shooting galleries – all these things took me back in time.

There were horse carts too on the beach, where people were enjoying joyrides for a price.

The Erangal Jatra

As we walked through the fair, we saw a number of people sitting about in small shacks and listening to songs played on their car stereos while eating food cooked on a slow fire. These family get-togethers were a nice sight to see.
Later we headed off to the rocks to enjoy the cool breeze. We sat there and enjoyed the quiet sea and the huge crowd in a distance at the fair and later decided to head back as that was the only way in and out of Erangal Village. 
Families enjoying on the Beach

The bus stops were extremely crowded so we decided to walk for a while. Before long, we noticed that other people were also doing the same. We walked for a long time, without sighting an empty bus or rickshaw. Finally having walked for two hours we reached the junction from where one road goes to Manori and the other to Madh.
 At this point my legs began to protest against the strain they were being subjected to, but I could not indulge their need for rest. I still had to walk to get to some mode of transport. We decided to go to Manori and catch a bus there. Apparently the other people who were walking also had the same idea, because they all landed up at Manori.   
BEST Bus to Erangal Jatra
Now it was around 8 pm. We sat on the banks of the Manori Creek enjoying the view of the Pagoda in the distance. It was truly amazing. There was darkness all around with just the Pagoda shining as if it was made of gold.
 We had no luck with buses and rickshaws even at Manori. So we decided to walk to Malad station. It was a 1½-hour journey on two feet. To add fuel to the fire there was a traffic jam along the road, which made the movement of vehicles and humans difficult. As motorists started clambering on the footpaths, we humans found it increasingly difficult to walk.
 At last after walking for about 45 minutes, the traffic jam showed signs of moving so we immediately hopped on to a bus and reached the station in 30 minutes.
 I was extremely tired with all the walking and the blisters on my leg didn’t make matters any easier for me. Finally we boarded a train and headed home.
 In spite of the pain, I still enjoyed the jatra a lot. It brought back old memories.
 Thanks, Hithakshi, for accompanying me on this trip.
Map to St. Bonaventure Church from Malad Station

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PRANNAV 555 said...

nice writeup merwyn.


Thanks Pranav

Unknown said...

Thanks Man, its very easy to me go for (Jatra), you have clearly mention the expenses, distance, spot, walking distance and etc.

Its really heplful me and also as same as me who find the Interstin Madh.


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