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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.

Next Story

Enthusiasm For Holi Subdues in India Due To Coronavirus Concerns

Sellers of colored powder and water guns said their sales had plunged

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Holi
Holi, which marks the advent of spring, is widely celebrated in India, Nepal and other South Asian countries. VOA

Hindus threw colored powder and sprayed water in massive celebrations of the festival of Holi in India on Tuesday, but the enthusiasm was subdued compared to previous years because of fears of the new virus.

Brightly colored powder filled the air in most parts of North India. But in the capital, New Delhi, many events were canceled as the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country rose to 47.

Holi, which marks the advent of spring, is widely celebrated in India, Nepal and other South Asian countries.

Most years, millions of people from toddlers to the elderly throw powder at each other and play with water balloons and squirt guns. But this year Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted that he would not participate in public Holi celebrations because of the virus outbreak.

“Yes, it’s coronavirus that made us cancel our programs,” said Anshuman Ghulati, festival director of Holi Moo, one of the biggest Holi events in New Delhi which last year drew some 7,000 people from around the world “People are scared this year, we have canceled our event,” he said.

Other groups in New Delhi also canceled their plans. Atul Goyal, president of United Residents Joint Action, said there would be no gala lunches or water dance events.

‘Considering the coronavirus outbreak, you are advised to cancel Holi gatherings, in particular playing with water and touching of nose, eyes and lips and shaking hands,” the group said in an advisory.

But many defied the recommendations in other parts of the country.

People danced and smeared each other with colors in the northern state of Uttarakhand. Still, “there has been some effect from the coronavirus on celebrations,” said Neeraj Kumar, a resident of the state.

Coronavirus, Virus, China, Outbreak, Pandemic
Brightly colored powder filled the air in most parts of North India. But in the capital, New Delhi, many events were canceled as the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country rose to 47. Pixabay

Sellers of colored powder and water guns said their sales had plunged.

“The fear that customers have over the coronavirus and the large number of people that are getting sick has made them slightly disinterested in celebrating Holi. So our sales have become very less this Holi,” vendor Jitender Pandey said.

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For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. (VOA)