Gangaur is a colourful and important festival in the state of Rajasthan. This festival is especially significant for the women of Rajashtan. In the month of March-April on the day when the colourful festival of holi is finished, this festival is celebrated by the people of Rajasthan. This festival lasts for two weeks. It is a celebration of coming of spring and also marital harmony. On this day the married women pray for the well being of their husbands and spinsters pray for a good husband of their choice.
Although this festival is celebrated throughout the state of Rajasthan but the festival is especially famous in the city of Jaipur for it's huge processions on the final day of the festival.
The mythology behind the Gangaur festival
According to the Hindu mythology, Godess Parvati endured severe hardship to attain Lord Siva as her husband. On this day it is believed that Lord Siva came to Godess Parvati's house to escort her to her house. Hence unmarried girls believe that they will get their husband of choice if they start to observe fast on this day.
The rituals of Gangaur festival
Gangaur is a combination of two words Gan and gauri. Gan means God Siva and Gaur means his consort Godess Parvati. On this day people and especially the womenfolk worship Lord Siva and Parvati.
This festival starts on the day following holi. Married women and unmarried girls observe a fast for 18 days. During this period they take only one course of meal during the entire day. The festival continues for 18 days and during this entire period various fairs are held.
The women folk decorate their hands with mehendi of various designs. They carry colourful pots singing religious songs and collect money from people.
Clay idols of Lord Siva and Parvati are made and are decorated. People worship them and seek for blessings.
A procession is held especially in the city of Jaipur carrying the image of Gauri in the streets of Jaipur. People throng the streets to have a glimse of the Godess and seek blessings. Also a sweet dish called Ghevar(click on the link to know the recipe to make this delicious dish) is made during this festival. People from all over the world come and witness this procession.
People clad in traditional dresses take out this procession amid tight security. Traditional Rajasthani folk dancers and musicians perform along the procession. On the other hand women perform prayers to the God Siva and Goddess Parvati.
Other festivals and fairs in Rajasthan
Rajasthan is known for it's fairs and festivals. Some of the festivals in the state during this time are-
Kite festival where tourists and kite enthusiasts from all around the world come and show cast their kites and flying talents.
Elephant festival held in Jaipur where various events related to the majestic animal are held.
Travel in Rajasthan
Rajasthan is well connected through roads and rails. Also major cities in the state are connected through air route too. Travel in Rajasthan is quite cheap and one can take any form of transport according to budget. Buses and rickshaws are common here and are quite cheap too.
More articles: Rajasthan festivals