The “Glitzy” Gangaur Festival in Rajasthan

The Gorgeous arid region of Rajasthan possesses a prosperous overabundance of revels and festivals throughout the year. Each and every traditional celebration, carnival, dance and music endows a clue of the state’s originality and freshness. Simply put, the state of Rajasthan is ethnically dynamic through its innumerable revelry and festivals. The atmosphere is always crammed with festive enthusiasm in Rajasthan. Among all the colorful festivals, Gangaur festival is the most admired, spirited and vital festival for the citizens of Rajasthan. Gangaur festival is observed all over the state of Rajasthan with scores of keenness and dedication by women.

Sanctity of Gangaur Festival

In essence, the Gangaur festival is the festivity of monsoon, good harvest and matrimonial reliability. The Women of Rajasthan worship Goddess Gauri, the wife of Lord Shiva on this holy day. Actually, the utterance ‘Gangaur’ is made up of two different words, ‘Gana’ & ‘Gaur’. The word ‘Gana’ is the other name of Lord Shiva and the word ‘Gaur’ indicates Goddess ‘Parvati’ or ‘Gauri’ who is a symbol of “Saubhagya” (married ecstasy)”. Goddess Gauri is the epitome of superiority and matrimonial bond. This year, the grand celebration of Gangaur festival will be observed on the April 13th and 14th. Nevertheless, the main festival customs and rituals will set in motion from the next day of Holi.

Legend of Gangaur festival:

Gangaur is a vital regional fair in Rajasthan which is celebrated with incredible fervor and devotion. Gauri (or Parvati), the Wife of Lord Shiva is a divine symbol of asset and dedication. She is considered as the divine representation of all wedded women. In reference to a fable, after long reparation, Goddess Gauri and Lord Shiva reunited on this day. Hence, the tiny statues (similar to toys) of Lord Shiva and Goddess Gauri are skillfully carved out of the wood. Both of these heavenly God and Goddess are considered as ‘Isar’ & ‘Gangaur’. Fundamentally, the glorious Gangaur festival is held in tribute to the powerful Goddess Gauri.

Belief behind Gangaur Festival:

A general conviction is associated with the Gangaur festival. It is believed the unwedded girls who observe the holy rituals of Gangaur festival will soon get a good companion of their preference. In the same way if, wedded women observe the rituals of this festival, they will be blessed with a happy, contented matrimonial life and longevity of their life partners.

Holy Customs of Gangaur festival:

Unique Clay pots known as “Ghudlias” with a lot of holes are made and a lamp is placed inside the Ghudlias. This unique custom is carried out as a token of the accomplishment of “Rao Santhal”, the monarch of Jodhpur against “Mir Ghudley Khan” who took 140 women who were happily engaged in the festivity of Gangaur festival with him. This incident happened approximately in 1548 AD. The blazing lamp within the clay pot represents the great courage and gallantry of the Brave King.

After the 2nd day of the colorful Holi festival, all unmarried women of Rajasthan carry the ‘Ghudlias’ on their head and sing pleasant songs in the evening. All women carry the clay pots and walk around the nearby houses in the neighborhood to collect money, sweets items, tiny gifts, Jaggery, oil, ghee and so on. This custom prolong for about ten days. At the end of Gangaur festival, all the unmarried women break their Ghudlias and toss the wreckage into the well and happily relish an extensive meal with all the appetizing sweets they have collected from their neighbors.

Interesting Rituals of Gangaur Festival:

The Grand celebration of Ganguar festival will begin from the 1st day of ‘Chaitra’ and prolongs for about 18 days. The carnival will kick-off with the tradition of collecting ashes from the sacred bonfire of Holi and interring the barley seeds in it. Subsequently, the barley seeds are watered on a daily basis until the germination of the seeds. The festival’s obligatory custom demands a newly-married woman to observe a complete-course of fasting for about 18 days until the day of the festival to make sure her matrimony thrives. In the same way, unwedded women also fast for a period of 18 days by taking only 1 meal a day. The tiny idols of Goddess Gauri and Lord Isar are dressed up in bright, colorful outfits and festooned with dazzling jewelry specially designed for the Ganguar festival. The marvelously ornamented idols of the divinities appear as though they are brought into existence with the pure love and devotion of the unmarried girls and married women.

Splendid Revels, Romance and Emotional Moments of Gangaur festival:

The revelries will start more or less a night before the main day of the Gangaur festival. All women will worship the deity throughout the night prior to the main festival day. Since the festival is mainly for women, they dress up in beautiful, colorful outfits, beautify their feet & hands with “Henna or Mehndi” designs and worship Goddess Gauri for the wellbeing of their life partners or to give a good companion of their preference. The ‘toy-like’ idols of Lord Isar and Goddess Gauri are placed on the heads of the married women. During the midday, the idols are taken in a carnival parade to a garden, Johad, Bawdi or to a well. Women sing pleasant “Vidaai” songs to Goddess Gauri as she leaves to her companion’s place of abode. A lot of people from close by villages will eagerly come to participate in the grand procession as well. They follow the pretty women with the idols from one village to the next. A beautiful sense of romance can be felt in the ambiance as this festival bestows a great chance to all women and men to meet and interact with each other without restraint. This, in turn lends them a hand in choosing the right partners of their preference. This is the exclusive aspect of Gangaur festival.

On the last day of the festival, the parade will end by performing the “Visarjaan” of all the divine idols in the well or tank waters. All women offer their send-off to Goddess Gauri and come back to their houses with tears in their eyes. Thus, the holy festival of Gangaur will come to an end.

Gangaur celebrations all over Rajasthan:

Gangaur festival is an imperative festivity among all the other traditional festivals that are being conducted in the vibrant state of Rajasthan. The most prominent celebrations will take place in Jaipur, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Bikaner, Nathdwara and Jaisalmer. Even though this festival is celebrated in various states of Rajasthan, the celebrations in Jaipur & Udaipur possess a unique allure and magnetism.

  • Revels in Jaipur : The Gangaur festival in Jaipur is globally well-known for its blissful and fascinating activities. In Jaipur, the “sawari” (or procession) of Gangaur festival starts from the “City Palace gate” called “Tripolia” and continues all the way through the Pinkcity streets and moves across ‘Chaugan’. Copious numbers of visitors and locals observe the grand and colorful procession to cherish the loveliness and charisma. In Jaipur, the spectacle and ceremony of the customary procession begins exactly from the “Zanani-Deodhi “of the famous City Palace. It continues all the way through the Tripolia Bazaar, Gangauri Bazaar, Chhoti Chaupar, Chaugan stadium. At last, the procession congregates in the vicinity of the ‘Talkatora’. Old palanquins, Giant Elephants, Bullock carts, folk performances and Vibrant Chariots are the Eye-catching components of the magnificent Gangaur celebrations. A unique variety of dessert known as ‘Ghewar’ is made. This sweet dish is an exclusive feature of the Gangaur festival. People savor the yummy ghewar with devotion and also share this sweet with their family and friends.
  • Udaipur : In Udaipur, Gangaur festival will overlap with the ‘Mewar’ Festival. There will a boat parade on the famous Lake Pichola” along with the sparkling fireworks. Women carrying several brass decanters on their heads promote to the curiosity of the festival. The festival will come to an end with the spectacular fireworks on the banks of the Lake Pichola.
  • Jodhpur : In Jodhpur, on the crack of dawn, thousands of women dress up in colorful outfits, sing songs ecstatically and carry the pots filled with grass and water in their heads.

Scrumptious Festival Treats:

Appetizing delicacies are specially prepared for Gangaur Festival. People prepare delicious Rajasthani desserts such as, Kuttu ki Puri, Singhade ka Halwa, Kaddu Ka Raita, Kache Kele ki Chaat and Kele ki Barfi.

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