Gangaur Festivals holds a special significance for the Rajasthanis and is observed throughout the state with great fervour and devotion by womenfolk who worship Gauri.This festival is celebrated in honour of Gauri, the goddess of abundance. Young girls adorned in their best clothes pray for a spouse of their choice. The married ladies pray for the welfare of their husbands. This spring festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm and zeal all over Rajasthan.
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 married women. Songs are sung about the departure of Gauri to her husband's house. The procession comes back after offering water to the image of Gauri, which faces backwards on the first two days. On the final day, she faces in the same direction as Isar and the procession concludes with the consignment of all the images in the waters of a tank or a well. The women bid farewell to Gauri and turn their steps homewards with tears in their eyes and the Festival comes to an end.
Rites and Ritual
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.
Various Places where the Gangaur festival is Celebrated in Rajasthan.
In Bikaner, married women and maidens fast during the festival. They prepare sweet dishes, carry them to a well, make an offering thereof to the goddess, and return home distributing these as 'prasad' on the way.
In Jaipur, a sweet dish called 'ghewar' is characteristic of the Gangaur Festival. People buy 'ghewar' to eat and distribute it among their friends and relatives. A procession, with the image of Gauri, forms at the Palace Gate known as Tripolia and moves on the city streets passing Chaugan and on to Talkatora. A vast gathering of the citizens of Jaipur and villagers from nearby areas witnesses the procession.
The fair of 'lotias' is a distinctive feature of the Gangaur celebrations in Jodhpur. Early in the morning, thousands of maidens, clad in their best attire, singing melodious songs, bring water and 'durva' grass in silver or brass pots to a place known as Girdikot. The fair is witnessed by a large number of citizens who throng to the locality to be a part of the celebration.
In Nathdwara, the procession of Gangaur lasts 7 days. Each day, a particular colour is chosen for the dress of the goddess. On the last day of the festival, the image of Gauri is dressed in black with golden lace work and women carrying the image too are dressed in a similar fashion. This indicates the final departure of Gauri.
The images of Isar and Gauri are taken in a procession to the Pichhola Lake, thereafter they go around the lake in a boat, for an hour and the ceremony comes to an end with a display of fireworks on the banks.
In Banswara, the procession is taken out from the Zenana Deorhi to Singhvashi Chowk, both are areas within the palace compound. Traditional religious ceremonies are performed here.
By Air : Indian airlines, Jet airways and Sahara airlines have regular service to Jaipur. All the major cities are connected to Jaipur.
By Road : Rajasthan Roadways have regular bus services from New Delhi, running deluxe and air conditioned coaches from Bikaner house, Delhi. Jaipur is also well connected with the other cities of Rajasthan.
By Rail : Shatabdhi and Intercity connects Jaipur to Delhi. Shatabdhi is fully air conditioned train starts from Delhi (5.55 AM) to Jaipur (10.35 AM), you can also try Intercity Exp starts from Delhi at (4.55 PM) reaches Jaipur (10.35 PM). There are other trains also to Jaipur from other metro cities..