Jaipur, the ‘Pink City of Rajasthan’, enchants tourists with its various attractions in the form of many magnificent forts and palaces. The city also charms them with its rich cultural heritage that is reflected through its colourful fairs and festivals. Gangaur Festival Jaipur is one such affair displaying a beautiful picture of Jaipur’s distinctive culture.
The Gangaur festival is one of the most pictorial festivals of Rajasthan, holding a lot of religious importance. The word Gangaur is made up of two words - ‘Gan’ which stands for Lord Shiva and ‘Gaur’ which is the synonym for Goddess Parvati. The festival is observed in the honour of Goddess Parvati and is celebrated in Chaitra, the first month of the Hindu calendar, which is between March and April.
The Gangaur festival lasts for 18 days. During the festival, married women of the region worship the Goddess and pray for their happy married lives, and their husbands’ good health and longevity. Unmarried girls, too, with much enthusiasm perform rituals during the festival wishing for a good husband.
The elaborate occasion features beautifully decorated clay idols of Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva made by women. During the festival, women as well as unmarried girls observe fasts and apply heena on their feet and palm. Wearing colourful new dresses, young girls take out a procession in which they go from one house to another, carrying earthen pots with illuminated lamps. They collect cash, sweets, ghee, oil and jaggery in the earthen pots during the procession and sing songs in the praise of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. On the last day of the festival, the girls break the earthen pots and throw the broken pieces into a tank or well. Women also immerse the idols of the deities in the water. ?
The final day also features grand processions which are taken out throughout the city. The procession comprises a lively show of elephants, bullock carts, performances by folk artists and local bands. The famous sweet 'Ghewar' is distributed among families, relatives and friends.
People from different castes and creeds visit the festival. The vibrant event also registers a large number of domestic and foreign tourists. Apart from Jaipur, the Gangaur festival is celebrated with great fervour in cities like Udaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Bikaner and Nathdwara.
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