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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
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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.

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  • 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

Exploring the Rajasthani Cuisine

The foodie in you is sure to stumble upon more exotic and unique culinary delights if you set out to explore the place in detail

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Rajasthani snacks make a great accompaniment to a glass of their special Adraki chai (ginger tea).
Rajasthani snacks make a great accompaniment to a glass of their special Adraki chai (ginger tea).

Home to royal palaces, mighty forts and unending deserts, Rajasthan is the land of legends and kings and queens. Rajasthani cuisine is famous all over India for its rich flavours and unique cooking styles. Being an arid state, the traditional cooking style has evolved in such a way that very less water is used in cooking. More oils and spices are used in order to preserve the food for longer times. Also, Rajasthani cuisine uses milk, ghee and butter in large quantities owing to the local production and availability of dairy products. Here are some top dishes which has made the Rajasthani cuisine famous worldwide. All you have to do is contact one of the car rentals in Jaipur for a day of restaurant hopping in the city.

Daal Baati Churma
This is the signature Rajasthani dish which is a combination of baked round bread called Baati, spicy lentil curry or Daal and a lightly sweet crumble known as Churma. It is so simple yet tasty and healthy. The baati is made out of wheat flour, ghee and milk and cooked in a baati cooker or tandoor whereas the daal is made of five different types of lentils. Churma is nothing but crushed baati mixed with sugar or jaggery and flavoured with cardamom.

Gatte ki Sabzi
Gatte is the gram flour balls which are used in the preparation of various dishes. Gatte ki sabzi is an everyday dish made by cooking gram flour balls in a gravy of buttermilk and spices. The sabzi can be relished with rice or roti.

gatte
Gatte ki Sabzi.

Ker Sangri
Ker Sangri is yet another traditional dish of Rajasthan which is a preparation of dried Ker berries with Sangri beans. These berries and beans grow easily in desert conditions, and hence it evolved as a staple food item. Ker Sangri pairs best with roti, daal and rice.

Laal Maas
Rajasthani cuisine is mainly vegetarian. However, the Rajput influence has led to the inclusion of some mouthwatering meat preparations in the cuisine. Traditionally, Laal Maas used to be prepared with deer meat or boar meat. In modern days, the dish is prepared using tender mutton. The spicy red curry is best relished with bajra ki roti. Liberal use of fiery red chillies imparts the unique red colour to the curry.

Mohan Maas
This is yet another mutton dish where well-cooked delicious mutton chunks are dunked in a
rich gravy of milk, cream, spices and nuts.

Rajasthani sweets and snacks.
A man with Rajasthani sweets and snacks.

Snacks
Rajasthani snacks make a great accompaniment to a glass of their special Adraki chai (ginger tea). Kachoris and Samosas are commonly found in every local sweetmeat shop in the city. Kalmi Vada, Bikaneri Bhujia, and Mirchi Vada are some of the other snacks to be tried.

Sweets
Rajasthani cuisine is not complete without mentioning its wide variety of mouth-watering
sweets and desserts. Most of their sweets are rich preparations involving generous usage of
milk, cream, ghee, and sugar. Sweet lovers cannot miss trying out Mava Kachori, Rabri Jilebi, Malpua, Balushahi and Ghevar.

The foodie in you is sure to stumble upon more exotic and unique culinary delights if you set out to explore the place in detail. Jaipur Outstation taxi services are also available for intercity trips within Rajasthan, to make the most out of your Rajasthan food expedition journey.