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Gangaur Festival, Jaipur
Home >> Rajasthan Fairs and Festivals >> Gangaur Festival, Jaipur

INTRODUCTION
Gangaur is one of the most important and widely celebrated traditional festivals of Rajasthan. The Gangaur festival in Jaipur is a special religious occasion for the women of Rajasthan. The word Gangaur is derived from two words 'Gan' a synonym of Siva and 'Gauri' of his consort Parvathi. The festival commences on the day following Holi and continues for about 2 weeks. The festival is held in the honor of Gauri who is regarded as the symbol of virtue and fidelity and a mythological role model of married women. While married women worship Gauri for the welfare of their husband, the young unmarried girls worship her for being blessed with a spouse of their choice.

THE LEGEND BEHIND THE CELEBRATIONS
Festival devoted to Goddess Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva. Ishar & Gangaur are the divine male and female ho embody marital love. Dedicated to goddess Gauri (Parvati), the festival commences on Holi, Young girls pray for rooms of their choice while married women seek a long life for their husbands. The ladies decorate their hands and feet by drawing designs with 'mehendi'. 

DESCRIPTION
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.
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.

TIME TO CELEBRATE   
The festival is celebrated between March-April.

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