Tonga Race is a cultural event of Nagaur and is a part of folk tradition wherein animals play a vital role. Veer Tejaji in whose memory the event is organized was a legendary folk hero and is considered as one of the 11 incarnations of Lord Shiva. Veer Shri Teja Ji was born on a Friday, Magh Shukla 14 Vikram Samvat 1130 at Karnal in district Nagaur.
It is said that when Tejaji was in the village Panel to bring his wife Pemal, Lachha Gujari told Teja that thieves have taken away all her cows and there is nobody in this village to help her. Teja mounted his mare Lilian and set off alone to fight with dacoits, who had taken away Lachha’s cows. Teja found that dacoits who had stolen the cows were Meena Sardar’s people. Teja, who was made for helping others, decided to bring those cows. The mare “Leelan“ (Female Horse) safari of Teja Ji, sacrificed herself for Tejaji while fighting with Meenas force. It is, therefore, according to religious belief and faith of rural people a chariot race with mare and horses is organized since time immemorial, during Tejaji and Ganeshji fair.
Every year on the 9th Shukla day of the month of Bhadrapad, the Gram Panchayat, Mundiad organizes a fair known as ‘Ganesh Mela’ and on the next day Gram Panchayat, Karnal organizes a fair in memory of folk deity Veer Tejaji‘ which the favorite deity of the Jats, a predominant community of the area.
On these two days the concerned Gram Panchayats with the cooperation of Municipal Council, Nagaur holds Tonga Race’. The ‘Tonga Race’ covers a distance of 17 km from village Mundiad to Karnal and the race on the next day passes through a distance of 19 km between village Karnal and the town of Nagaur. The distance of 19 km between Karnal and Nagaur is part of the National Highway, which is also one of the reasons the court banned the event.