Vachara Dada, also spelled as Vachhra Dada or Vasra Dada, also known as Vachchhraj Dada or Vatsaraj is a folk deity of Gujarat state in India. He is an eminent warrior-hero of the region. Hindus and Muslims alike honor him.
According to folk tales, Vatsarajsinh Solanki or Vachhara was son of a Solanki Rajput ruler named Chachak in Kathiawar, who ruled from Kalri, presently located in Mehsana district. On the day he was getting married, when he was taking the feras, he heard the news that some dacoits were looting and taking the cows of village. He left the marriage ceremony in the middle to fight the plunderers, in which he attained martyrdom. According to the legend, it is believed that Vachhara's head was severed in the fight by sword of an enemy, but even after that his body fought against the people and killed them all. In veneration of his heroic sacrifice, a temple was later built in his memory.
It is said that Vachara's wife Umade wanted to become a sati but was stopped by saint, who asked her to go to her in-laws house. Vachara was blessed by God and was asked to consummate the marriage in vayu form. Thus, twenty two sons were born to him, Solanki descendants of whom all worship him as their kuldevta.Mers also worship Vachra Dada and is one of main deity of their caste.
Folk lore also says that he was reborn seven times, and every time he would do Pheras, he would be interrupted by acts of dacoits taking away the cows. In his seventh life he successfully killed the dacoits. Thus he became a Shurveer in seven cycle of birth as per Hindu myths and became a demi-god after that.
Vachhada Dada is shown sitting on a white Kathiawari horse with a snake at his feet and a flaming sword in his hands. He is worshiped by Khedut' (Gujarati word for a farmer) to protect their cattle and keep their crops thriving and also from protection of snake bites. Many temples and shrines can be found throughout Gujarat devoted to him.
The location where he became martyr is also named Vachhara Dada. It is located at edge of Little Rann of Kutch, 35 km from Kuda (near Dhangadhra); 15 km from Vatsrajpur, and 8 km from Zinzuwadia. The place today is a pilgrimage centre and houses the main temple and samadhi of Vachra Dada. 407 km from Zinjuvada, the temple of vachradada is situated at bitta. Ta. Abdasa-kutch which is known as Jangirdada. The drive to this place along the little Runn itself is very adventurous and a unique experience.
Other major temples are located in Dundas, Mahuva, Narigam, Nari, Devada, Porbandar, Patan, Godhana, Bhanvad, Khambhalia, Dwarka, Mandvi, Anjar, Rangpur and Mahisa to name a few.
There are many folk songs, Bhajans in praise of Vachhara Dada, which are very popular in Kutch and Saurashtra regions of Gujarat, amongst which most noted are Dham dham dhame Nagara, Rajputo ma ek ladvayo, Rane chadyo veer, Jai Veer Vachhara Dada all in Gujarati language, sung by folk singers like Kirtidan Gadhvi and others.Location of Vachara Dada, Kutch on Wikimapia