As soon as we give farewell to Holi – The Festival of Colors, we Rajasthani women welcomes another traditional festival of Gangaur with typical mewari songs like “poojan do gangaur bhanwar mhane poojan do gangaur”.
We Indians are inherent with celebrations on every small and big occasion, precisely to talk about Rajasthan then fairs and festivals are very important part of our lives. We have celebrations for every religious occasion; we celebrate even for every season.
Gangaur is celebrated at the end of winter and the onset of spring season, this 18 day festival starts with subsequent day of Holi. This year Gangaur will be celebrated on 6th April 2011.
Gangaur is celebrated in the honor of Goddess Gauri – the companion of Lord Shiva, women offer prayers to Goddess Gauri whom we consider as the mother of abundance. It is special festival of Udaipur which bears a unique significance for the people of Rajasthan.
Especially the women folk of Rajasthan consider Gauri as main idol of the married women. Gauri is also often believed as the symbol of virtue.
Married women pray for the long and healthy life of their husbands. It is also strongly believed that if an unmarried girl observe prayers, she will get married to the person she wish to. Festival of Gangaur initiates on the first day of Chaitra and continues for the following 18 days till it reaches the climax in the last three days.
Out of many rituals, on 7th day women carry earthen pots on their heads with burning lamps inside it. This ritual continues for next 10 days after which it’s finally breaks. Beautifully ornamented and colorfully dressed idols of Isar and Gauri are taken out in a procession. Gangaur carries special significance for women who wear bright clothes, fine jewelries and offers Heena on hands.
In Udaipur it is celebrated specially for three consecutive days known as hari gangaur, chundari gangaur and gulabi gangaur.
Since the days of Maharanas, there is a tradition of offering Gangaur from the shore of Lake Pichola.
Several boats carrying idols of Isar and Gauri are placed in the boats which are followed by a big princely boat, which is also named as “Gangaur”. After observing all traditional ceremonies, here starts a series of cultural programs and fireworks till late hours.
Being a Rajasthani I am blessed with happiness and prosperity in the form of so many festivals. Gangaur for me is as important as “Karwa Chauth” because on this day I worship Goddess Gauri and Lord Shiva for long and healthy life of my husband.
On a personal note I would like to add that if you want to witness the colors and festivity then a visit to the fairs and festivals of Udaipur is a must do for you.
The cheering mood of natives, their vibrant colored dresses and ancestral customs will force your heart to swing and your legs to move in the rhythm of happiness.
Neelkamal Agarwal works as marketing head in one reputed asset management firm, she has passion for writing and reading.