Gangaur Festival is the colourful and most important
local festival of Rajasthan and is observed throughout the State
with great fervour and devotion by womenfolk who worship Gauri,
the consort of Lord Shiva during July-Aug. It is the celebration
of monsoon, harvest and marital fidelity in Jaipur.
Gan is a synonym for Shiva and Gaur which stands for
Gauri or Parvati who symbolises saubhagya (marital
bliss). Gauri is the embodiment of perfection and conjugal love
which is why the unmarried women worship her for being blessed
with good husbands, while married women do so for the welfare,
health and long life of their spouses and a happy married life.
The festival commences on the first day of Chaitra, the
day following Holi and continues for 18 days. For a
newly-wedded girl, it is binding to observe the full course of
18 days of the festival that succeeds her marriage. Even
unmarried girls fast for the full period of 18 days and eat only
one meal a day.
Images of Isar and Gauri are made of clay for the festival. In
some families, permanent wooden images are painted afresh every
year by reputed painters called matherans on the eve of
the festival. A distinct difference between the idols of Teej
and Gangaur is that the Idol will have a canopy during the Teej
Festival while the Gangaur idol would not have a canopy.
ladies decorate their hands and feet by drawing designs with
mehendi (myrtle paste). The figures drawn range from the
Sun, Moon and the stars to simple flowers or geometrical
Ghudlias are earthen pots with numerous holes all around
and a lamp lit inside them. On the evening of the 7th day after
Holi, unmarried girls go around singing songs of ghudlia
carrying the pots with a burning lamp inside, on their heads. On
their way, they collect small presents of cash, sweets,
jaggery, ghee, oil etc. This continues for 10 days
i.e. upto the conclusion of the Gangaur Festival when the girls
break their pots and throw the debris into a well or a tank and
enjoy a feast with the collections made.
The festival reaches its climax during the last three days.
Unmarried girls and married women decorate the images and
make them look like living figures. At an auspicious hour in the
afternoon, a procession is taken out to a garden, tank or
a well with the images of Isar and Gauri, placed on the heads of