Situated in the rain prone pockets of the Sahyadris, Purushwadi – located near the Baltan dam along the banks of the river Kurkundi that flows through the hillocks of Bhairavnath – was originally known as Puruchwadi – meaning ‘village located atop a hill’.
Over the centuries, it seems to have undergone a geographical renaming of its own as local language modified with time.
Purushwadi comprises of 110 houses and close to 700 people who depend rather intensively on agriculture and animal husbandry as their primary means of livelihood and sustenance. Given this dependence on cattle, it comes as no surprise that the purchase and sale of cattle assumes an almost festival-like proportion at least twice a year.
The first is an annual two-day exhibition that is organized during the month of May. This occurs over a Monday and a Tuesday but people from all over the 40 neighbouring villages start pouring in from the previous weekend itself.
The second is known as Jaangi Uroos and is held during the second half of December.
Both of these events are not just largely attended but also participated in by locals. And during the period of these events, locals camp and reside at the venue itself. These events are standalone and in addition to the weekly Monday markets that happen all year through.
Rajur, at 12 kilometers from Purushwadi, is the convening centre where the trade of animals as well as wares takes place. The weekly bazaar includes sale of vegetables, fruits, spices, food grains, pulses, fish as well as cattle and poultry.
It follows a unique system where in the instance of the goat, when the sale has been confirmed, the animal is sheared as a sign of officiating the deal.
A walk through the bazaar on a Monday does all kinds of things to ones senses be it in the seller harkening you to buy something over the call of another or the rainbow-tastic sight of colourful pulses and food grains piled up in mounds or the scent of spices wafting and teasing your olfactory senses or the soft fabrics tickling your skin as you run your fingers through the fabrics contemplating a purchase or the saltine tingles on your tongue after you pick your favourite snacks from the local halwai.
Come rain or sunshine, local bazaars offer more than a sneak peek into the microcosm that is the local culture and the way of life of folks who live a mere 200 kilometres away from the metropolis of Mumbai where urban folks don’t have to wait for a Monday to make a dash to a DMart!
By- Elita Almeida