The Gangaur Festival is the most important local festival of Rajasthan and is observed throughout the state with great fervour and devotion by womenfolk who worship Gauri, the consort of Lord Shiva.
Gan is a synonym for Shiva and Gaur, which stands for Gauri or Parvati who symbolises 'saubhagya' (marital bliss). Gauri is the embodiment of perfection and conjugal love, which is why the unmarried women worship her for being blessed with good husbands, while married women do so for the welfare, health and long life of their spouses and a happy married and long life of their life.
Ganguar Festivals at Various Places
In Jaipur, a sweet dish called 'ghewar' is characteristic of the Gangaur Festival. People buy 'ghewar' to eat and distribute it among their friends and relatives. A procession, with the image of Gauri, forms at the Palace Gate known as Tripolia and moves on the city streets passing Chaugan and on to Talkatora. A vast gathering of the citizens of Jaipur and villagers from nearby areas witnesses the procession.
In Nathdwara, the procession of Gangaur lasts 7 days. Each day, a particular colour is chosen for the dress of the goddess. On the last day of the festival, the image of Gauri is dressed in black with golden lace work and women carrying the image too are dressed in a similar fashion. This indicates the final departure of Gauri.
The images of Isar and Gauri are taken in a procession to the Pichhola Lake, thereafter they go around the lake in a boat, for an hour and the ceremony comes to an end with a display of fireworks on the banks
Celebration Trends And Rituals
The festival commences on the first day of Chaitra, the day following Holi and continues for 18 days. For a newly-wedded girl, it is binding to observe the full course of 18 days of the festival that succeeds her marriage. Even unmarried girls fast for the full period of 18 days and eat only one meal a day.
Celebration Preparations & Decorations
Images and Paintings
Images of Isar and Gauri are made of clay for the festival. In some families, permanent wooden images are painted afresh every year by reputed painters called 'matherans' on the eve of the festival. A distinct difference between the idols of Teej and Gangaur is that the idol will have a canopy during the Teej Festival while the Gangaur idol would not have one.
The ladies decorate their hands and feet by drawing designs with 'mehandi' (myrtle paste). The figures drawn range from the Sun, Moon and the stars to simple flowers or geometrical designs.
Location: All Over Rajasthan.
Deity: Gauri, Consort Of Lord Shiva.