Sunday, November 18, 2018
Fairs & Festivals
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Gangaur Festival

Place: Rajasthan
Time :March - April
Significance: In veneration of Gauri, the consort of Lord Shiva
Date: 20.3.2018 - 21.3.2018

This festival is dedicated to Gauri, a manifestation of Goddess Parvati; consort of Lord Shiva, which commences on the first day of Chaitra, the day following Holi and lasts for 18days. Gangaur Festival is the most important local festival of Rajasthan and is observed throughout the state with great fervour. The festival is celebrated by girls and married women throughout Rajasthan. The images of Gauri are ornamented and offerings are made. Gauri is worshipped by unmarried women for blessing to get a good husband and by married women for the welfare, health and long life of their husbands. This is also an auspicious day for young people to select their life partners. Colourful processions with the town band playing horses and elaborate palanquins make it a fascinating spectacle.

A newly-wedded girl observes a fast for the full course of 18 days of the festival that succeeds her marriage. Even unmarried girls fast and eat only one meal a day. The ladies decorate their hands and feet by drawing designs with 'mehendi'. 

Images of Isar and Gauri are made of clay for the festival. In some families, permanent wooden images are painted afresh every year by reputed painters called 'matherans' on the eve of the festival. Ghudlias are earthen pots with numerous holes all around and a lamp lit inside them. On the evening of the 7th day after Holi, unmarried girls go around singing songs of 'ghudlia' carrying the pots with a burning lamp inside, on their heads. On their way, they collect small presents of cash, sweets, jaggery, ghee, oil etc. This continues for 10 days i.e. up to the conclusion of the Gangaur Festival when the girls break their pots and throw the debris into a well or a tank and enjoy a feast with the collections made.

The festival reaches its climax during the last three days. The images of Gauri and Isar are dressed in new garments especially made for the occasion. Unmarried girls and married women decorate the images and make them look like living figures. Colourful procession is taken out to a tank or a well with the images of Isar and Gauri, placed on the heads of married women. Songs are sung about the departure of Gauri to her husband's house. The procession comes back after offering water to the image of Gauri, which faces backwards on the first two days. On the final day, she faces in the same direction as Isar and the procession concludes with the consignment of all the images in the waters of a tank or a well. The women bid farewell to Gauri and turn their steps homewards with tears in their eyes and the Gangaur Festival comes to an end.




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