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Gangaur Festival Jaipur

The word Gangaur is derived from Gan that symbolises Lord Shiva and Gauri, the name for his consort. Gangaur festival is observed in the honour of Gauri, theGoddess of Abundance. Starting in the first week of the month of Chaitra, the first month of Hindu calendar, it continues till the fourth day of the bright half of the month, lasting for nearly a fortnight.

Gangaur is a festival for women. Young ladies pray for a good spouse while married women pray for the longevity and well being of their husband and a smooth marital life.

There are a number of rituals and customs associated with this Rajasthani festival. It begins with collecting the ashes from the Holi fire and burying seeds of wheat and barley in it. These are watered every day until they germinate. The ritual is performed with songs of Isar and Gauri (Shiva and Parvathi) and by carrying the pots of water on the head. A week after Holi, women make images of Gauri and Isar with clay. A lot of singing goes on in the praise of the Lord Shiva and Gauri. Women apply henna to their hands and bedeck themselves in their finery.

On the final day, the images are consigned to water and bid au revoir. Gangaur is the most important regional festival of Rajasthan. During this festival, men and women mingle freely and are even free to select a spouse of their choice.

A great deal of pomp and ceremony is associated with this festival, making it a visual delight. Apart from Jaipur, Bikaner, Jodhpur, Nathdwara and Jaisalmer are the other major centres to participate in the Gangaur festival.

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