11-12 April 2005
The Gangaur Festival is the colorful and most important local
festival of Rajasthan and is observed throughout the State with
great fervour and devotion by womenfolk who worship Gauri, the
consort of Lord Shiva during July-Aug. It is the celebration of
monsoon, harvest and marital fidelity in Jaipur.
is a synonym for Shiva and Gaur which stands for Gauri or
Parvati who symbolises saubhagya (marital bliss). Gauri is the
embodiment of perfection and conjugal love which is why the
unmarried women worship her for being blessed with good
husbands, while married women do so for the welfare, health and
long life of their spouses and a happy married life.
The festival commences on the first day of Chaitra, the day
following Holi and continues for 18 days. For a newly-wedded
girl, it is binding to observe the full course of 18 days of the
festival that succeeds her marriage. Even unmarried girls fast
for the full period of 18 days 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. A distinct difference between the idols of Teej and
Gangaur is that the Idol will have a canopy during the Teej
Festival while the Gangaur idol would not have a canopy.
The ladies decorate their hands and feet by drawing designs with
mehendi (myrtle paste). The figures drawn range from the Sun,
Moon and the stars to simple flowers or geometrical designs.
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. upto 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
The festival reaches its climax during the last three days.
Unmarried girls and married women decorate the images and make
them look like living figures. At an auspicious hour in the
afternoon, a procession is taken out to a garden, tank or a well
with the images of Isar and Gauri, placed on the heads of