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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

Rajasthan’s Pokhran Village People Near Nuclear Test Site Cry For Help

"Deformity cases have gone up in Khartoli and they can be noticed even in new-born calves. The growth of our kids has been affected"

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India's first nuclear test was conducted under then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1974 at a stretch just 10 km from Khartoli. In 1998, the country conducted its second nuclear under Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee at a site barely 3 km from the village. Pixabay

Close to the India-Pakistan border near Rajasthan’s Pokhran lies a village named Khartoli where residents are slowly succumbing to cancer, perhaps paying the price for the two nuclear tests conducted in its vicinity. However, none of the officials concerned have so far paid attention to their health travails.

India’s first nuclear test was conducted under then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1974 at a stretch just 10 km from Khartoli. In 1998, the country conducted its second nuclear under Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee at a site barely 3 km from the village.

Sanwaldan Ratnoo, a resident of Pokhran, confirmed that cancer cases in Khartoli multiplied after the nuclear tests. However, the governments of the time never took up the issue and even the 2018 Assembly elections passed off without anyone lending their ear to the pain and trauma of the people, he said.

According to Ratnoo, out of the 4,000 odd residents in the village, as many as 80 to 100 are cancer patients.

“Nuclear tests definitely strengthened India’s position in the world. However, we felt bad for the fact that no steps were taken to ensure that the villages in the vicinity of the test sites didn’t face any health risk.

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“We have approached many government officials, but they just don’t want to listen to us. For decades we have been trying to draw their attention, but all our efforts went in vain. Pixabay

“Deformity cases have gone up in Khartoli and they can be noticed even in new-born calves. The growth of our kids has been affected,” he added.

Nathuram Vishnoi, sarpanch of Khartoli village, said: “We are surprised that the site which brought national and international fame to Pokhran has been left ignored. We have seen our kids die a silent death, but nobody has leant an ear to their cries.”

“We have approached many government officials, but they just don’t want to listen to us. For decades we have been trying to draw their attention, but all our efforts went in vain.

“We have submitted memorandums to many people, including Chief Ministers and other politicians, but nothing has happened. Surprisingly, they (politicians) come here begging for votes but fail to notice our kids who have turned blind or are suffering from other deformities,” Vishnoi added.

Former IPS officer Pankaj Choudhary, who is contesting from the Barmer-Jaisalmer Lok Sabha seat on a BSP ticket, said: “Many people brought the issue of ‘radiation threat’ to my notice when I was campaigning. I have promised to look into the matter. However, I am shocked that none of the previous governments showed any interest in resolving the crisis.”

When IANS contacted Bhupendra Kumar, the Chief Medical Officer of Jaisalmer, he expressed his ignorance about the presence of any such village under his jurisdiction.

“I just joined this work station a month back and have not heard about this issue yet,” he said.

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However, the governments of the time never took up the issue and even the 2018 Assembly elections passed off without anyone lending their ear to the pain and trauma of the people, he said. Pixabay

Pradeep Gaur, the head of radiology at the SN Medical College in Jodhpur, said: “I remember a professor taking up this issue and submitting a paper on it many years back. But that was a long time ago and hence I can’t recollect much on the matter.”

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Asked if any research has been done on this issue, he expressed his inability to recall anything concrete.

Dilip Singh, a professor in the same institute, said: “I have a feeble memory of the high court ordering a research on this subject sometime ago. But I am not sure if any paper has been submitted in this matter.” (IANS)