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Gangaur Festival

Time of the Year              March/ April
Places to Visit                  Jaipur (Rajasthan)

Duration                            Sixteen Days

Gangaur is a significant festival of Jaipur, especially meant for the women. The word Gangaur is derived from two words, 'Gan' and 'Gauri' which are synonyms of 'Siva' and his consort 'Parvati' respectively. The festival of Gangaur starts with the subsequent day of Holi and persists for about 2 weeks. Gangaur is celebrated in the honor of Goddess Gauri, who is considered as the symbol of virtue, devotion, fertility and a perfect married woman.

The womenfolk of Rajasthan worship Gauri with all the means of devotion, for the well-being of their husband, while the unmarried girls worship the goddess to get the husband of their choice. The festival begins with the custom of gathering ashes from Holika Dahan (Holi Fire) and burying the seeds of barley in it. After it, the seeds are watered everyday awaiting the germination.

The ritual is performed with the praiseful songs for Isar (Siva) and Gauri. The women apply henna on their hands to celebrate the auspicious festival. They carry painted matkas (water pots) on their heads. They also make images of Gauri and Isar with clay. On the seventh evening after Holi, unmarried girls assemble and take out a procession with 'Ghudlia' (an earthen pot with holes around and a lamp inside) on their heads. The ceremony continues for a fortnight. The girls are gifted with sweets, ghee and cash by the elders.

During the last days of the festival, the celebration reaches to its height. On the final day, lively images of Gauri are taken out in procession escorted by traditionally dressed camels, bullock carts, horses and elephants decorated in traditional finery.. Songs are sung about the departure of Gauri to her husband's home. The procession is wrapped up with the breaking of pots and throwing the trash into a tank or pond. This traditional festival of Gangor is celebrated in Jaipur from ages and forms a special attraction for any visitor

Another unique characteristic of this colorful festival is that on this occasion, tribal men and women have an opportunity to meet and interact freely. They can select a life partner of their choice and marry only by eloping.