Gangaur is one of the most important festivals in Rajasthan.
It is celebrated in the month of chaitra (March-April), the first month of the Hindu calendar. This month marks the end of winter and the onset of spring. This year Gangaur festival will be on 18 March, 2010.
Honoring the Goddess Gauri
Gangaur is all about honoring the goddess Gauri. A manifestation of Parvati (Lord Shiva’s wife), she represents purity and austerity.
The word â€˜Gangaurâ€™ is literally made up of two words, â€˜Ganaâ€™ and â€˜Gaurâ€™. â€˜Ganaâ€™ is synonymous with Lord Shiva and â€˜Gaurâ€™ which stands for Gauri or Parvati.
It’s believed that Parvati returned to her parental home during Gangaur, to bless her friends with marital bliss. On the last day, Parvait was given a grand farewell by her loved ones and Lord Shiva arrived to escort her home.
The festival is predominantly for women, who dress up in their best clothes pray for a husband of their choice, or the welfare of their husbands.
Traditional Procession of Gangaur in Jaipur
A traditional procession of Gangaur commences form the Zanani- Deodhi of the City Palace, passing through Tripolia Bazaar, Chhoti Chaupar, Gangauri Bazaar, Chaugan stadium and finally converges near the Talkatora. The procession is headed by a colorful pageantry of elephants, old palanquins, chariots, bullock carts and performance folk artistes.
In Jaipur, a sweet dish called ghewar is popularly distributed amongst friends and relatives.
Boat procession in Udaipur
In Udaipur, there’s a boat procession on Lake Pichola, and fireworks. Women balance several brass pitchers on their heads add to the interest. The occasion ends with fireworks on the banks of the lake.