Gangaur Celebration in Rajasthan

Rajasthan is a land of many Fairs and Festivals, each one more flamboyant and pompous than the other. Gangaur which is celebrated in Chaitra (in the month of April) is one of the very important festivals here and is celebrated by the women folk. Married, unmarried all ladies celebrate Gangaur with much fervour and zeal. The festival is celebrated all over Rajasthan and West Bengal too. People from Rajasthan who migrated to West Bengal many many decades ago, carried their traditions, culture and festivals with them. Now Kolkata-Gangaur is also more than 100 years old.

The word Gangaur is a compound word and is formed from “Gana” and “Gauri”, Gana being Lord Shiva the deity and Gauri, his wife Goddess Parvati. This is a festival of spring, harvest and marital fidelity. Unmarried girls celebrate Gangaur seeking blessings for a good husband. Gangaur is celebrated in the honour of Goddess Gauri, who is considered as the symbol of virtue, devotion, fertility and an epitome of the perfect married woman. Gangaur celebrates the union of the two and is a symbol of conjugal and marital happiness.

The festival commences on the first day of Chaitra (April) and goes on for 18 days. Women fast during these 18 days and eat only one meal a day. The festival culminates into a bigger celebration with much fanfare. Processions of Gauri Isar are taken out with local bands playing and camels, elephants, horses and folk dancers escorting this procession.

Festivities : Clay or sometimes wooden idols of Isar and Gauri are worshipped during this festival. Women decorate their hands with mehndi / henna designs and dress up in their traditional finery. Songs are sung in praise of Isar and Gauri. Special feasts are prepared and gifts are exchanged.

On the last day of the festival, after the procession, the idols are submerged into a well or water tank bidding farewell to Gauri as it is believed that she now leaves for her husband’s home and thanking her for blessing everyone with conjugal happiness and marital bliss.

Udaipur Gangaur immersion attracts huge crowds and the ghats at lake Pichola especially the Gangaur ghat is buzzing with life and colours. To witness these vibrant festivities, get in touch with us at The dates would fall in March / April and one must plan a visit accordingly.

-By Pooja Singh Bhatnagar

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