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Rajasthan Tours Travel » Festivals
of Rajasthan » Gangaur Festival -
Gangaur Festival - Jaipur
About the Festival
Rajasthan has a rich and glorious culture and many of its ancient and
beautiful traditions are carried out to this day in all their pomp and
show. One such traditional festival is the Gangaur. Derived from the two
words 'Gan' a synonym of Siva and 'Gauri' of his consort Parvathi, the
festival is celebrated mainly by women. During this time they worship
Gauri as a symbol of virtue, fidelity and the embodiment of perfection and
conjugal love. Unmarried women ask to be blessed with good husbands, while
married women pray for the welfare, health and long life of their spouses
and a happy married life.
Prayer & Celebration
Gangaur is celebrated in a charmingly quaint manner, it begins with women
collecting ashes from the Holika Dahan (the fire in which Holika is
symbolically burned, the night before the festival of Holi). In these
ashes women plant seeds of wheat and barley. Throughout the 18 day
festival these seeds are watered and the small blades of grass that grow
are gently nurtured. On the final day of the festival this grass is used
in the prayer ceremony. Throughout the eighteen days bejewelled effigies
of the divine gods are put on display in the prayer halls or even living
rooms of most homes and women dressed in their best gather together to
chant litanies, sing songs and dance. Another ritual, strictly followed is
the that of observing a fast for the duration of the festival, women and
girls eat only one meal for these 18 days.
On the evening of the seventh day after Holi, unmarried girls decorate
their hands and feet by drawing designs with mehendi (myrtle paste). They
then go around singing songs of ghudlia ( ghudlias are earthen pots with
numerous holes all around and a lamp lit inside them) carrying the pots on
their heads. On their way, they collect small presents of cash, sweets,
jaggery, ghee, oil etc. This continues for ten days, upto the conclusion
of the Gangaur Festival. The last three days of the festival are truly
vibrant, colourfully bedecked images of Gauri are taken out in procession
through the city streets accompanied by dancers, drummers, joyous
children, camels, bullock carts, horses and elephants, decorated in
traditional finery. Songs are sung about the departure of Gauri to her
husband's house. The procession concludes with the girls breaking their
pots and throwing all the consignment into a tank or a pond. A grand feast
marks the end of the festival. Sweets are prepared throughout the festival
and offered to Goddess Parvati. The light and deliciously sugary Ghewar is
the most popular sweet served during this festival. It is also distributed
among family and friends during the festival.
last day of the festival is considered a very auspicious day on which to
get married so according to a quaint tradition the eligible boys and girls
of the Girasia tribe of Mount Abu are allowed to interact freely, choose a
life partner and strangely enough even encouraged to elope, in fact
eloping is the only option for those of the tribe wanting to get married
on this day.
Where to Watch
Though celebrated throughout Rajasthan, the festival is a treat to watch
in Jaipur and Udaipur. The festival is celebrated with much fanfare in
Bikaner, Jodhpur and Jaisalmer also. The procession to Pichola Lake is the
highlight of the Gangaur festival in Udaipur whereas the city of Jaipur
wears a festive look the entire time, its shops and streets are