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Gangaur: Know about one of the vibrant Festivals of Rajasthan and its significance in Hinduism

The most notable celebrations take place in Jaipur, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Bikaner and Nathdwara

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Gangaur Festival. Wikimedia

by Enakshi Roy Chowdhury (Twitter)

Sept 14, 2016:Gana” is another synonym for Lord Shiva; “Gaur” is Parvati or Gauri who symbolizes ‘Saubhagya‘ or marital bliss. “Gangaur” signifies both Lord Shiva and Parvati together.

Gangaur is one of the most important festivals in Rajasthan and is celebrated by the women folk with great ardor. It is believed that Parvati returned to her parental home during Gangaur, to bless her friends with marital pleasure. On the last day, Parvati was given a grand farewell by her loved ones and Lord Shiva had come to escort her back home. This year, it was celebrated on April 10 in India.

Women of Rajasthan celebrate Gangaur with great devotion to Parvati or Gauri, the companion of Lord  Shiva. The married women worship Gauri for the longevity and good health of their husbands, and unmarried women worship the deity to be blessed with a good husband.

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This festival initiates from the first day of ‘Chaitra‘ or from the next day of Holi and continues for the next eighteen days. The festival begins with the custom of gathering ashes from the Holi fire and burying the seeds of barley in it. It is obligatory for newly wed women to observe this ritual for complete eighteen days and keep the fast to ensure her marriage does well. The unmarried women are also said to fast for the full period of eighteen days with just one meal a day.

Women celebrating Gangaur Festival in Rajasthan, Flickr
Women celebrating Gangaur Festival in Rajasthan, Flickr

The most notable celebrations take place in Jaipur, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Bikaner and Nathdwara. Udaipur has the privilege of having a dedicated ghat named after Gangaur, known as the Gangori Ghat which is situated on the waterfronts of Lake Pichola. There is  a boat procession on the Lake, and women balancing brass pitchers on their heads add to the interest. The Gangaur of Jaipur is famous all over the world. A sweet named ‘Ghewar‘ is a characteristic of the Gangaur Festival. Processions with the image of Gauri commence from the Zanani-Dheodi of the City Palace. It passes through Tripolia Bazaar, Chhoti Chaupar, Gangauri Bazaar, Chaugan Stadium and finally converges near the Talkatora.

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Clay idols of Parvati and Shiva which are worshiped during the festival are made by the local craftsmen. The celebrations begin almost a night before the festival. On the day of the festival, a group of women dress up in their best clothes and hold a procession from the town to various villages carrying colorful idols of Gauri. People from nearby villages come over to take part in the procession.

On the last day of the festival, the idols of Isar and Gauri are dressed in new attires especially made for those occasions. In the afternoon, the idols are taken by the married women, carrying it on their heads in a procession to a johad, bawdi or well. The idols are then immersed in the wells or tanks of water, by the women, bidding farewell to Gauri as she makes her way back to her beloved Lord Shiva.

  • Manthra koliyer

    Rajasthan is a festive state by itself!

  • Antara

    Indeed a colorful and grand celebration, worshipping Shiva and Parvati.

  • Anubhuti Gupta

    Yet another instance showing how colorful and vibrant India’s culture really is.

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PM Narendra Modi Launches Plan to Tackle Water Shortage in India

Modi Unveils Plan to Tackle Water Shortages in India's Heartland States

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PM Modi
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks to the media inside the parliament premises on the first day of the winter session in New Delhi, India. VOA

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday launched a 60-billion-rupee ($842 million) plan to tackle water shortages in the country’s seven heartland states where agriculture is a mainstay.

India, the world’s second-most populous country, faces the worst long-term water crisis in its history as demand outstrips supply, threatening farm output and overall economic growth in Asia’s third-largest economy.

Almost every sector of the $2.6 trillion economy is dependent on water, especially agriculture, which sustains two-thirds of India’s 1.3 billion people.

“Water shortages in the country not only affect individuals and families; the crisis also has an effect on India’s development,” Modi said. “We need to prepare the new India to deal with every single aspect of the crisis.”

The plan launched by Modi would help replenish ground water and boost overall availability in Rajasthan, Karnataka, Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat states, which produce staples such as rice, wheat, sugar and oilseeds.

PM Narendra Modi
The plan launched by Modi would help replenish ground water. Wikimedia Commons

India is the world’s leading producer of an array of farm goods, and nearly 60% of the irrigation for agriculture comes from ground water, mainly through electric water pumps. Subsidised electricity gives farmers an incentive to pump out more water, a key reason behind fast-depleting water tables in the vast country.

Supplying clean drinking water to millions of poor people and reviving moribund irrigation projects were a key part of Modi’s policies for India, where the monsoon accounts for nearly 70% of the annual rains needed to water farms and recharge aquifers and reservoirs.

Nearly half of India’s farmland, without any irrigation cover, depends on annual June-September rains to grow a number of crops.

Drinking water is also an issue, as about 200,000 Indians die every year due to inadequate access to safe water and 600 million face high to extreme water stress, according to the National Institute for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog, a think tank chaired by Modi.

According to UK-based charity WaterAid, about 163 million people in India — roughly 12% of the population — do not have access to clean water close to home.

Also Read- 45% Indians Feel that Enough Steps are Not Taken for Women’s Safety: Survey

Every summer water shortages tend to be more acute in large cities such as the capital New Delhi, Chennai — a car-making center dubbed “India’s Detroit”, and Bengaluru, the country’s software capital.

Modi also exhorted farmers to increasingly adopt drip and sprinkler irrigation and use water-management techniques as well as eschewing water-guzzling crops such as rice and sugar cane. (VOA)