About Gangaur Festival: What is Gangaur Festival? Why is Gangaur Celebrated?
India is known as a country of religious festivals, which outnumber the months of the year but are meticulously followed by us, Indians. Gangaur is an Indian religious festival dedicated to Goddess Gauri, who is a form of Goddess Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva. The vibrant Gangaur festival is also known as Gauri Tritiya and is mainly celebrated in the state of Rajasthan, with enthusiasm, by the married women, who worship Goddess Gauri to pray for their husbands' long and healthy lives and for conjugal bliss. The unmarried women participate in the Gangaur celebration and Gangaur pooja to seek the blessings of an excellent husband from Maa Gauri. The women also observe the Gangaur fast, hear or recite the Gangaur katha, and follow the Gangaur pooja vidhi sincerely. 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 from Rajasthan who have migrated to other states/cities, like Kolkata (West Bengal) or Gujarat, also celebrate the Gangaur festival with fervour.
The term Gangaur meaning is said to be compound of “Gana”, which is one of the names of Lord Shiva, and Gauri, the Goddess in whose honour this festival is celebrated.
Though Gangaur festival is primarily about worshipping Goddess Gauri but actually both Lord Shiva and Gauri/Parvati are worshipped together in this festival, to garner blessings of a blissful married life, which is the importance of Gangaur.
As Gangaur is celebrated during the spring season (March-April), the Gangaur festival significance also includes seeking blessings of abundant harvest and thanking the Divine Mother for the same.
Gangaur 2023: Gangaur Date, Tithi, Timing
The Gangaur festival is celebrated over a period of 18 days, which commences on the first day of Chaitra, which is the next day after the Holi festival.
|Particular ||Date & Day ||Time starts ||Time ends |
|Tritiya Tithi ||Mar 23, 2023 ||06:20 PM || |
|Tritiya Tithi ||Mar 24, 2023 || ||04:59 PM |
Story / History of Gangaur
Goddess Gauri epitomizes purity and austerity and it is believed that Gauri won over Lord Shiva, as Her husband, by virtue of Her devotion for the Lord and through intense meditation She was able to draw His love and attention towards Her. There are different versions of the Gangaur vrat katha.
One of the most popular version of the Gangaur story narrates that once Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvati and Narad Muni had once come for a tour on Earth and on their journey, arrived in 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 the women also worshipped the divine guests. 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 She would bless this group of women with. Goddess Parvati replied that She would bless this group of women with Her own blood. Goddess Parvati did exactly that by scratching Her finger and sprinkling Her blood on the women.
Another version of the Gangaur puja katha narrates that once Goddess Parvati visited Her parents' house during the time of Gangaur and when She was going back to Her husband's house, Lord Shiva, Himself came to accompany Her back home and She was given a glorious send-off by Her family members and loved ones, which is celebrated as Gangaur festival.
How to celebrate Gangaur Festival?
The Gangaur festival is celebrated by women with complete devotion and fervour. In Rajasthan and in the other states of India where Gangaur is celebrated, women dress in bright coloured traditional clothes and jewellery. Wearing rich designs of Mehendi on hands and feet is a part of the tradition of Gangaur celebrations and is called Sinjara in Rajasthan.
Women observe the Gangaur vrat/fast during all the 18 days of Gangaur festival, having only one meal a day. It is compulsory for newly-wed women, especially in Rajasthan Gangaur festival, to observe fast. Hearing the Gangaur pooja katha is mandatory for the successful completion of the Gangaur fast and Gangaur pooja vidhi.
As the Gangaur festival starts on the day following Holi, the ashes from the Holika Dahan (burning of Holika) is collected and put in Kundas (earthen pots) and then wheat and Jou (barley) seeds are planted in it and watered through the days of the festival for the seeds to germinate. This is an important part of the Gangaur puja vidhi.
Women enthusiastically sing various Gangaur geet, which are traditional folk songs in praise of Maa Gauri/Parvati, while performing the rituals of Gangaur.
In the Rajasthani festival Gangaur, women deftly balance pots of water on their head which are painted and decorated with traditional Rajasthani designs. Everything about Gangaur is traditionally beautiful and lively.
For the Gangaur pooja, beautiful clay idols of Isar (Lord Shiva) and Gauri are made, as part of the Gangaur pooja vidhi, and are kept together in a basket with grass in houses and worshipped each day. Some Rajput families in Rajasthan keep wooden idols of Isar and Gauri permanently, which are repainted every year on the eve of Gangaur festival by painters called “Matherans”.
The unmarried women carry Ghudlias on their heads starting from the evening of the seventh day after Holi, which is an integral part of Gangaur rituals. The Ghudlia is an earthen pot that has small holes all around and is decorated with traditional hand painting in vibrant colours. Inside the Ghudila a ghee or oil lamp is lit. They set out in a procession with Ghudilas on their heads, wearing traditional attire, walking on the streets and lanes of their city or 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 until the last day of the Gangaur festival, when the unmarried women break the pot and throw the broken pieces into a well or water tank. On the second last day of Gangaur, traditionally, the parents of married women send gifts of new clothes, jewelry, cosmetic items, sweets etc.
The climax takes place on the last three days of Gangaur festival, when both married and unmarried women decorate their idols of Isar and Gauri with specially made new clothes and Jewelry. The finale is a grand occasion, and on the last day of Gangaur festival, 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, singing Gangaur geet about Maa Gauri's departure to Her husband's house, accompanied with drums, trumpets, and other traditional instruments playing in the background. The idols are ceremonially immersed in ponds, lakes, or tanks, which ends the grand Gangaur celebration and Gangaur puja vidhi. The wait for next year’s Gangaur begins.
How to do Gangaur puja at home – Goddess Gauri, or Parvati, is the main deity of worship in the Gangaur festival. She is also called Gangaur Mata in places like Rajasthan. However, both Lord Shiva as Isar and Goddess Gauri are worshipped in Gangaur festival by women for blessings of marital bliss and well-being of their husbands, which is the main Gangaur puja significance. Idols of Isar and Gauri are made from clay, which is either handcrafted by the devotees or they buy the beautiful clay deity idols from the market. The female devotees take a bath and vow to observe the daylong fast. A place is segregated in the house to set up the alter for Gangaur pooja, and as per ritual, the place is decorated with haldi, chandan, and kesar powder.
As per the Gangaur puja vidhi, a wooden platform, or Chawki is especially set up to keep the idols of the 18 days of Gangaur. First a kalash(pot) is kept on it with water, and 5 Pan(betel leaves) and a Coconut is placed on top of it and worshipped as per puja rituals. This pot is then kept on the right of the Chawki. The ash collected from Holika Dahan is made into 16 balls by married women and 8 balls by unmarried women and kept in the basket along with Isar and Gauri idols and worshipped offering haldi (turmeric), kumkum(vermilion), mehendi (heena), kajal. Fresh flowers are dipped in milk and offered to Goddess Gauri along with Chunri, sindoor, mehendi, bangles, kajal, bindi, mirror, comb and other makeup or Shringar items. Offerings of fruit, halwa-puri or kheer and other food are offered to the divine deities. As mentioned above, the seeds of wheat and jau are planted in the mixture of ash from Holika Dahan and mudare on the first day of Gangaur festival, to germinate. Gangaur geet is sung and Gangaur pooja mantras are chanted and all Gangaur puja vidhi are followed meticulously by the women. The daily Gangaur puja for the rest of the days of Gagaur festival is done by offering dahi (curd), water, supari (betel nut) and other samagri. Hearing the Gangaur vrat katha is an essential part of Ganagur fast and Gangaur pooja vidhi.
On the last day, the deity idols are immersed in a clean water body that is called "Sasural" (house of in-laws or husband). The homes of devotees where Gangaur pooja is performed are called Gangaur ka pihar, which means the house of Gangaur Mata’s father.
Celebration of Gangaur festival in Rajasthan, Rajasthani festival Gangaur
Gangaur festivals of Rajasthan is spectacular with varying Gangaur puja rituals and traditions followed in its various cities, all of which are unique, and attract tourists from countries across the world. Different Gangaur special events are organised, be it in Gangaur festival Jaipur or Gangaur Udaipur, etc. Scroll Down to read more
Gangaur Mela is a fair organized in all major cities of Rajasthan which become a hub 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, therefore, the Gangaur Mela serve as a place for meeting of known and unknown families, who have girls or boys of marriageable age.
Gangaur Jaipur is famous for its festive mood. Jaipur is the capital of Rajasthan. Here, on the final day, traditionally the procession of vibrantly dressed women with the idols of Goddess Gauri carefully perched on their head, begin from the Zanani-Deodhi of the well-known City Palace, which then proceed to Tripolia Bazaar, pass through Chhoti Chaupar, Gangauri Bazaar, Chaugan stadium and ultimately reach the Talkatora. Locals and tourists gather to experience this amazing sight of the women singing Gangaur geet, Rajasthani folk dance being performed throughout the route of the procession. The procession of Gangaur festival Jaipur include decorated Palanquins or Paalki, colourfully painted real Elephants walk along with bullock-carts and chariots. The grandeur of Gangaur festival Jaipur is of the top order.
Gangaur festival food in Rajasthan is famous and enjoyed by the tourists and locals. “Ghewar,” a Rajasthani sweet is a specialty of Gangaur festival in Rajasthan which is popularly eaten during this festival. Gangaur Udaipur 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 celebrations is a truly a mix of prayers, fasting, Gangaur pooja rituals, love, happiness, celebrations, food, bright decorations and bedecked women, socializing and of enjoyment.
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