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FAIR & FESTIVALS

Gangaur Festival

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.

Gangaur FestivalGan 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.

Gangaur FestivalImages 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 collections made.

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 married women.

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