Gangaur is a festival celebrated by the people of Rajasthan and some parts of Gujarat, West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh. It is a colorful festival and one of the most important festivals of the people of Rajasthan which is celebrated with a lot of zeal and enthusiasm. The name comes from ‘Gana’ which is a synonym for Lord Shiva and ‘Gaur’ which mean Gauri or Parvati who symbolizes marital happiness. ‘Gangaur’ signifies Lord Shiva and Parvati together. It is believed that Gauri won the affection of Lord Shiva through her deep devotion and dedicated meditation to allure him. Parvati returned to her parental home during Gangaur, to bless her friends with marital bliss.
On the last day, Parvati was given a grand farewell by her loved ones and Lord Shiva arrived to escort her home. Ganguar is falling on 20 th March’18 , Tuesday. Unmarried women worship Lord Gangaur for being blessed with a good husband and married women worship for the health, long life and well-being of their husbands. Many Rajasthani people moved to Kolkata due to which people in Kolkata have also started celebrating this festival. It has been more than 100 years that people in Kolkata are celebrating this event. The most notable celebrations happen in Jaipur, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Bikaner, and Nathdwara (near Udaipur). The festival commences on the first day of Chaitra, the day following Holi, and is continued for 16 days. Newly married women have to religiously follow it for 18 days the year immediately following their marriage. The festival completes on the third day of Shukla Paksha of Chaitra month.
Fairs known as ‘Gangaur Melas’ are organised and there is active participation by women. Idols of Gore (Parvati) and Isar (Lord Shiva), to be worshipped during the festival, is made by local craftsmen. The idols are bought home, placed in a basket and decorated with grass and flowers. Wheat plays a very important part of the rituals. It’s sown in earthen pots and used on the final day. On the second last day of the festival, mothers send their married daughters, sweets, jewellery, clothes as a token of love. On the main day, females wake up before sunrise to carry on the rituals. They wear fancy clothes and perform the puja. In the evening a colorful procession of the bejeweled idols takes place as they wind through the entire area accompanied by ladies and a local band. Ladies carry the idol on their head and walk during the procession. In Udaipur, there's a boat procession on Lake Pichola, and fireworks. Women balance several brass pitchers on their heads. The occasion ends with fireworks on the banks of the lake.
Early in the morning in Jodhpur, thousands of maidens dress up, sing, and carry water and grass in pots. In Jaipur, the traditional procession starts out from the Zanani-Deodhi of the City Palace. It passes through Tripolia Bazaar, Chhoti Chaupar, Gangauri Bazaar, Chaugan stadium, and finally converges near the Talkatora. Elephants, old palanquins, chariots, bullock carts, and folk performances are all part of it.