Gangaur 2020: Significance, Vrat Katha, Puja Vidhi
India is known as a country of religious festivals which outnumber the months of the year but is meticulously followed by us, Indians. Gangaur is an Indian religious festival dedicated to Goddess Gauri, who is an avatar of Goddess Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva. This vibrant festival is celebrated mainly in the state of Rajasthan with enthusiasm, by the married women, who worship Goddess Gauri during Gangaur to pray for their husbands' long and healthy life and for conjugal bliss. The unmarried women participate to seek the blessings of an excellent husband to be granted. In Rajasthan, Gangaur is a very important festival and holds significance, with its cities like Udaipur, Jaipur, Jaisalmer, Nathwara, Bikaner and Jodhpur excelling in celebration. People of Rajasthan who have migrated to other states/cities celebrate it like in Kolkata (West Bengal), Gujarat.
Gangaur Festival Date, Tithi Timing
The festival of Gangaur is celebrated over a period of 18 days, which commences from the first day of Chaitra, which is the next day after the Holi festival. Gangaur 2020 is celebrated on March 27, Friday.
|Particular ||Date & Day ||Time starts ||Time ends |
|Tritiya Tithi ||March 26, Thu ||7:53 PM || |
|Tritiya Tithi ||March 27, Fri || ||10:12 PM |
Gangaur Vrat Katha, Story of Gangaur
Goddess Gauri epitomizes purity and austerity and it is believed that Gauri won over Lord Shiva by virtue of Her devotion for the Lord and through intense meditation to draw Her husband's love and attention towards Her. One version of the Gangaur story says that Goddess Parvati visited Her parents' house during Gangaur and when She left back for Her husband's house, Lord Shiva came to accompany Her back home and She was given a glorious send-off by her family members and loved ones.
The term Gangaur is said to be made of 'Gana', which is a name of Lord Shiva and Gauri, the Goddess in whose honour it is celebrated. Though Gangaur is to seek blessings of Goddess Gauri but the festival is about Lord Shiva and Gauri/Parvati together.
Gangaur has an interesting Vrat Katha (story) which narrates that Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvati and Narad Muni had once come for a tour on Earth and on their journey, arrived at a certain forest. When the women of that area got to know about the arrival of the Divine guests, they cooked delicious, elaborate meals for them. The first to arrive with the food were the women from the lower cast of the society, who offered the food and worshipped Them. Lord Shiva, Parvati and Narad Muni were delighted to have the food offered to Them and Goddess Parvati happily blessed the women by sprinkling the suhagras on them.
Later, the women of upper cast came with their offering of food which was again happily eaten by the Gods and Goddess and these women performed their worship. Lord Shiva had witnessed Parvatiji sprinkling all the suhagras that She had on the previous group of women, so, He asked His loving wife what would She bless this group of women with. Goddess Parvati replied that she would bless this group of women with Her blood and did exactly that by scratching Her finger and sprinkled Her blood on the women.
What to do on Gangaur: Puja Vidhi, Rites and Rituals
The festival of Gangaur is celebrated by women with complete devotion and fervor. They dress in bright coloured traditional clothes and Jewelry. Wearing Mehendi on hands and feet is a part of the tradition of Gangaur and the designs of the Mehendi are rich and varied and range from floral designs to Sun/Moon to geometric designs.
Most women fast all the days of Gangaur, having only one meal a day. It is mandatory for newly-wed women to observe fast and follow all rituals on Gangaur.
As the Gangaur starts on the day following Holi, an important ritual is to collect the ashes from the Holika Dahan (burning of Holika) and planting Wheat and Barley seeds in Kundas (earthen pots) in the ash and watering it to germinate. Women deftly balance pots of water on their head which are painted and decorated in traditional Rajasthani designs. Everything about Gangaur is traditionally beautiful and lively.
A lovely ritual is that of the singing of traditional songs by the women, in praise of Goddess Gauri/Parvati while performing the rituals of Gangaur.
Beautiful clay idols of Isar (Lord Shiva) and Gauri are made during this festival, which are kept together in a basket with grass in the houses and worshipped each day. There are some Rajput families who keep wooden idols of Isar and Gauri permanently, which are repainted every year on the eve of Gangaur by painters called Matherans.
The unmarried women carry Ghudlias on their head starting from the evening of the seventh (7th.) day from Holi and are an integral part of Gangaur. The Ghudlia is an earthen pot which has small holes all around and is beautified with great designs painted on them. Inside the Ghudila a ghee/oil lamp is lit. They set out in a procession with Ghudilas on their head, wearing traditional attire, walking on the streets and lanes of the town/city/village. The elders of the family as well as people from the area they pass through give them gifts of cash, Ghee, Jaggery, sweets and other things. This ritual continues till the last day of the festival when the unmarried women break the pot and throw the broken pieces into a well or water tank.
The second last day of Gangaur, new clothes, jewelry, cosmetic items, sweets etc. come as gift from the house of the parents' of the married women.
The last three days of Gangaur festival is the climax, when married and unmarried women decorate the idols of Isar and Gauri with specially made new clothes and Jewelry. The finale is a grand occasion, on the last day, when women dressed gorgeously step out of their houses at the Tithi (auspicious time), with the idols of Goddess Gauri and Lord Shiva on their heads to participate in a procession and roam the streets all over the city/town/village, singing songs about Maa Gauri's departure to Her Husband's house, with music of drums, trumpets and other traditional instruments playing in the background. The idols are ceremonially immersed in ponds/lakes/ tanks ending the grand Gangaur celebration and the wait for the next year’s Gangaur begin.
Celebrations in Rajasthan
The festival of Gangaur is celebrated with varying rituals and traditions in its various cities, all of which are unique, attracting tourists from countries across the world.Gangaur Mela, which is a fair organized in all major cities become a place of entertainment for families as well as a good place to meet people. Gangaur is considered an auspicious time to choose a life partner for oneself.The capital of Rajasthan, Jaipur is famous for its festive mood. Here, on the final day, traditionally the procession of women with the idols of Goddess Gauri carefully perched on their head, begin from the Zanani-Deodhi of the well known City Palace, proceeding to Tripolia Bazaar, passing through Chhoti Chaupar, Gangauri Bazaar, Chaugan stadium and ultimately reach the Talkatora. Locals, tourists all gather to view this amazing sight of the women singing, Rajasthani folk dance being performed through the route. Parts of the procession are decorated Palanquins, colourfully painted real Elephants, bullock-carts, chariots. At Jaipur, the grandeur is of the top order. A special sweet of Rajasthan called Ghewar is a specialty of Gangaur which is popularly eaten during Gangaur. In Udaipur, Gangaur coincides with the Mewar festival. Udaipur also has a 'ghat' named after the Gangaur festival called Gangur Ghat or Gangori Ghat on Lake Pichola. Gangaur is a festival of love, of prayers and rituals with significant meanings.
Article Written by Neeta Singhal
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