There wouldn't be a better time to travel to Rajasthan than during festival time. The most important local festival in Rajasthan, Gangaur is held about a fortnight after Holi, the festival of colours, and the celebrations go on for eighteen days. The festival is held in honor of Gauri, a manifestation of Goddess Parvati, the wife of Lord Shiva. The festival is celebrated by girls and married women throughout Rajasthan. Images of Gauri are ornamented and offerings are made. This is also an auspicious time for young people to select their life partners. Colorful processions with the town band, horses, and elaborate palanquins make it a fascinating spectacle.
The Gangaur Festival is celebrated throughout Rajasthan with great enthusiasm but the celebrations in Jaipur and Udaipur have their own special charm. The festival is also celebrated with great pomp and show in Bikaner, Jodhpur, Marathwara and Jaisalmer. Girls worship the goddess throughout the fortnight. Colorful images of Gauri, beautifully dressed and bejeweled, are taken out in a procession accompanied by the town band.
A boat procession is taken out on the Pichola Lake in Udaipur. Women balancing several brass pitchers on their heads add to the gaiety of the Udaipur celebrations. Thousands of people from the countryside come to take part in the procession of Gangaur, which goes around from village to village. Tribal men and women get the opportunity to meet and interact freely and during this time, they select partners and elope to marry. An unusual, romantic custom sanctioned by the community, it helps many young people find their life partner.
The festival commences on the first day of Chaitra, the day following Holi and continues for 18 days. For a new bride, it is binding to observe all the rituals and fasts specified for the 18 days of the first Gangaur after her marriage. Even unmarried girls fast for the full period of 18 days and eat only one meal a day in the hope of finding a good husband. Girls dress up in their finest clothes and pray for a spouse of their choice, while married women do the same for the happiness and long life of their husbands.
Celebrated all over Rajasthan, the Gangaur Festival offers a colourful insight into the culture of Rajasthan. So, embark on a Rajasthan tour to experience a world of colours and festivities.