Gangaur, the women’s festival of Rajasthan

Gangaur is a colourful women’s festival that is mainly celebrated in Rajasthan. It starts in spring and lasts up to 16 days in some part of Rajasthan. It is the celebration of marital happiness. In Udaipur it coincides with the Merwar Festival.

gangaur

Shiva and Gauri, Udaipur

The word ‘Gangaur’ is derived from ‘Gana’, a term for Lord Shiva, and ‘Gauri’, referring to his consort Parvati. In fact the festival is mainly in honour of Gauri, symbolising conjugal happiness. Single women pray to Gauri to find a good husband while married women pray for a happy married life.

gangaur

Women carrying Shiva and Gauri idols, Udaipur

Women put on their finest jewellery for the festival, and new, colourful saris – often red, the colour of marriage in India. They decorate the palms of their hands and feet with mehndi (henna). In some areas the women and girls fast during the festival, eating only once a day.

gangaur

Offerings to Gauri, Udaipur

The rituals associated with this festival differ from one part of Rajasthan to another. The most famous are those of Udaipur, Jaipur and Jodhpur.

Udaipur


In Udaipur, Gangaur coincides with the Mewar festival, a showcase for Rajasthani culture that consists of various cultural events such as concerts and folk dance shows.

gangaur

Girl with an idol of Gauri

The high point is when colourful processions of women and young girls go through the streets of the old town carrying wooden effigies of Shiva and Parvati on their heads. At Gangaur Ghat the idols are set down on the steps of Lake Pichola, the women make their various offerings and carry the idols away again.

gangaur

Gangaur coincides with the Mewar festival in Udaipur

The effigies used to be immersed in the lake, but recent anti-pollution laws have put a stop to this. The Gangaur festival in Udaipur is certainly the most captivating in Rajasthan, as can be seen from the scrum of photographers elbowing each other to get good shots of the colourful festivities.

gangaur

Gangaur festival with the Pichola lake as background


Jaipur


Goddess Gauri on procession

In the Rajasthan capital a big procession is held. It starts at the Zanani-Deorhi of the City Palace and ends at Talkatora. The procession consists of chariots, palanquins, decorated elephants and folk performers.

Decorated elephants, a spcificity of Jaipur


Jodhpur


In Jodhpur, on the day after Holi the women of a household gather together before idols of Isar (Shiva) and Gauri (Parvati). If there are no such idols in the house they can be made for the occasion. Then the women take turns to sing a line of a hymn to Gauri and pray for a happy marriage.

gangaur

Women carrying the ghudla

On the evening of the 7th day the women walk in procession to the sound of drums, carrying a ghudla on their heads all the way to their home. A ghudla is an earthen pot with holes all round it and a lit lamp inside. The women sing the praises of Shiva and Parvati as they walk, and in front of their homes they dance. This ritual is repeated eight days running.

gangaur

The ghudlas

The last day is celebrated in great pomp. A band plays as the women carry pots of spring water to their homes.

[ Watch Gangaur in Jodhpur ]


Dev Diwali, Festival of Lights
| VARANASI, UTTAR PRADESH | NOVEMBER | 1 DAY | Magical and unforgettable, Dev Diwali “the Diwali of the ...
Dussehra Festival
Dussehra marks the end of one of the biggest Hindu festivals called 'Navaratri'. This festival lasts for nine night...
Jaisalmer
Jaisalmer is a diadem of gold and sand set gracefully down in the arid wastes of the Thar desert. The beauty of th...
Pushkar
The city of the supreme god Brahma, spread out around its sacred lake, exudes the heady scent of spirituality that ...
Chitrakote Waterfalls
Chitrakote Falls, 50km from Jagdalpur in Bastar district, are in a horseshoe-shaped gorge on the Indravati river, a...
Konark
Konark and its Sun Temple – another of those wonders that only India can produce! This architectural exploit is an ...
Kartighai Deepam, Festival of Lights
Kartighai or Kartikai Deepam is a Hindu festival of lights that is mainly celebrated in Tamil Nadu, South India. It...
Chettinad
Chettinad must be the most surprising part of Tamil Nadu. In the 19th century, rich Chettiar merchants built palati...
Goa
Goa, the 'Pearl of the Orient', is a state of south-west India renowned for its endless beaches and its festive and...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

X