About 18 kms from Ambaji in Sabarkantha district, Poshina takes one back to the simple beauty of traditional village life, populated by a captivating combination of colorful tribal communities of the Garasias, Bhils and the pastoral Rabaris. Poshina is home to a tribal shrine where you find the staggering scene of thousands of terracotta horses standing in rows as offerings to the local goddess. Nearby villages have similar horses carved in reverence to her divinity. A visit to the homes of the potters who make these striking horses is an excellent glimpse into tribal culture.
In Poshina you find the Darbargadh Poshina, once a palace and now a welcoming heritage hotel. The rulers of Poshina were descendants of the Chalukyas, who ruled much of Gujarat and Central India in the 12th century. The Darbargadh was once the pride of the Chalukya dynasty. This palace has huge gateways, a massive dome, numerous pillars and arches. It offers pleasant courtyards, gardens, lawns, shady trees and terraces with views of the Aravalli mountains. Ancient fort walls and the old prison are reminders of the property‘s history.
Here, you also find the old Jain sandstone temples of Parshvanath and Neminath and an old Shiva temple. Poshina is host to the famous Chitra-Vichitra fair, at the nearby Gunbhakhari village, a couple of weeks after Holi.
One can hardly imagine the lives of the tribals, without colourful fairs and festivals. The Chitra-Vichitra fair, is one of the major folk celebrations of this region at the confluence of three rivers. The fair is said to commemorate the day, when Chitraveer and Vichitraveer, came to this site during the Mahabharata, to repent for the sins they had committed and immolated themselves. Since then the tribals celebrate the fair every year, at the place where the Aakar, Vakar and Sabarmati rivers meet.
The fair begins on the eve of Amavas (a moonless night), attended by nearly 70,000 Bhils and Garasia tribals from various villages visiting the river to mourn their kith and kin. The wailing and sorrowful songs run through the night but gradually, as the day progresses, the tribal break into revelry with singing and gracefully dancing.
Sabarkantha district (the village of Poshina in particular) is known for its votive terracotta figures. These figures are an integral part of the rituals practiced by tribal communities like the Garasia Adivasis.
The terracotta horse called Ghoda Dev has special place in these rituals and is considered a messenger for the gods in many cultures. The symbolic sacrifice of terracotta horses for fulfilment of wishes is common and at some sites you can see scores of terracotta horses that have stood here for decades.
The potters are called kumhars. Kumhars make the various hollow parts of the terracotta horse on their wheels and then join them together. Some parts moulded by hand and added in grooves. These terracotta horses, elephants and other figures are becoming popular adornments for houses and gardens.
Poshina village is also the centre for the making of silver jewellery and tribal adornments. To begin with, do walk around the village of Poshina and find potters that make the terracotta horses and earthen ware. Also, the village market can be a good place to buy tribal crafts.
The village of Poshina is home to a number of native artisans, the tribal arrow crafters, silversmiths, potters and blacksmiths. The market is famous for silver tribal jewellery, ornate sheathed daggers and terracotta horses. The 1240s Jain temple, the intricately carved medieval Shiva temple and the royal chattries (cenotaphs) of the rulers of Oshina are worth seeing.
A spectacularly located lake of Poshina surrounded by deep valleys, high peaks and rock formations. Tribal boat trips and folk concerts by the lakefront are possible.
Ancient tribal shrine, named for the Mahabharata princes, Chitraveer and Vichitraveer, at the confluence of 3 rivers—Aakar, Vaakar and Sabarmati—is the site for a very colourful tribal fair.
Ambaji (30 kms): Ambaji is a holy place of pilgrimage visited by millions of Hindu pilgrims. Ambaji is also known for it’s marble carving artisans, honey and forest produce. It is a good place to shop for marble tiles, marble sculpture, wood products etc.
Kumbhariyaji (30 kms): This place is famous for the 1062-1134 AD Jain temples with splendid marble carvings, which rival those of Ranakpur, Dilwara and Palitana.
Khedbrahma (45 kms): This is a temple town and religious fair with prayer flag procession during the monsoons.
Idar (65 kms): It is a historic fort and natural stone sculpture.
Gadada Shamlaji (45 kms): This is a scenic spot beside Dharoi dam. The temple is known for it’s magnificent idol of Lord Vishnu. It is a good picnic spot.
How to get there:
By Road: Poshina is 51 kms from Abu road station, 140 kms from Udaipur, 180 kms from Ahmedabad. Poshina also acts as a possible stopover between Ahmedabad and the destinations of Rajasthan such as Mt. Abu, Ranakpur, Udaipur, etc.
By Air: Nearest airport is Ahmedabad.