It is a famous festival in Jaipur that is specially celebrated in the state of Rajasthan. It is an integral part of Rajasthani culture, it is celebrated in March and April and lasted for 18 days. The festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm. The word is the amalgamation of two words 'Gana,' which means Lord Shiva, and 'Gauri,' which refers to his consort, Parvati. Gangaur is a festival dedicated to the worship of Goddess Gauri.
Gangaur – The Festival of Love and Happiness
We all live in a generation where love means friendship “Pyaar Dosti hai” may be its true. But, if anybody asks me what love is to you I would rather say this it’s about patience. The devotion you have for your partner, the fascination, it’s not like wind blowing, playing guitar in hearts, etc. It is an act of worship and admiration with respect and love. This kind of love is the resemblance of lord Shiva and Parvati's bond. Parvati is the epitome of devoted love.
Let’s sneak into story of Parvati Devotion: When Parvati reached marriageable age, she traveled to the Himalayas to perform penance to appease Shiva. Shiva, on the other hand, was still in mourning for his late wife, Sati, and refused to leave his meditation. He was unaware, however, that Parvati was the very incarnation of Sati because they both embody Adi Parashakti. So Parvati continued her penance, only eating roots and leaves and enduring the harsh mountain climate without clothing. Parvati's suffering to win Shiva's heart was so great that she became very thin, but she continued to praise Shiva and follow in his ascetic footsteps. Their presence of each other in their lives is all just they wanted. Parvati the devoted wife waited for so long to get her love of life.
The 18 Days of Celebration
Let’s begin with the most interesting part of the festive part of the celebration. Gangaur ceremony lasts for 18 days, it has been started on the next day of the Holi festival. The first ten days of the festival are called 'Sinjara' while the last eight days are known as 'Gauri Tritiya' or 'Gangaur'. It is celebrated by both married and unmarried women. Unmarried women celebrate the festival of love to get a good husband. All the women fasts, make a murti of Parvati and Shiva with clay or mud and then decorate it with all 16 ornaments (solah shringaar) which are kept in their homes for the duration of the festival. All the newly married women are supposed to fast half of their days for 18 days regularly till the festive get over.
During the festival, women dress up in beautiful lehengas, Saree, and even Anarkali suit set, sings songs and participate in processions carrying the clay idols of Gauri on their heads. They sing and dance to traditional folk songs and perform aarti (a ritual of worship) in front of the Gauri Shankar murti. The processions are accompanied by musicians playing traditional Rajasthani instruments like the dhol, shehnai, nagara, and do the Ghoomar and all.
The festival is also an occasion for matchmaking and marriages. Unmarried girls seek the blessings of Gauri for finding a suitable match. The festival is also an opportunity for families to come together and celebrate. Friends and relatives exchange gifts and sweets, and people prepare traditional Rajasthani delicacies like 'ghewar,' 'malpua,' and 'balushahi.'
The last day of the festive is the grand procession that has been known as Gangaur. On this grand procession in which the murti of Parvati is taken to nearby lakes and rivers. They have to immerse murti in the water to end this grand festival as this act reflects Parvati's departure to her husband's home.
Gangaur is a grand farewell festival celebrated in Rajasthan with great enthusiasm and fervor. It is an occasion for women to come together, worship Goddess Gauri, and celebrate their culture and traditions. The love and bond they share between them for every married and unmarried woman. The festival is not just limited to Rajasthan but is now celebrated across the country and even in other parts of the world. The grand processions, music, dance, and the sight of the clay murti of Gauri being immersed in water are a unique and unforgettable experiences for all who witness it. Gangaur – An experience that you cherish forever.
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