Rajasthan is well-known for its lavish and colourful event celebrations. The festival Gangaur is no exception in which women of all ages, married and unmarried, participate enthusiastically. This festival honours Goddess Gauri, also known as Parvati, and celebrates marriage and love. Unmarried women worship Goddess Parvati in order to get a good life partner. Married ladies worship Goddess Parvati for their husbands’ longevity and good health.
This festival normally lasts 18 days, during which all ladies are obliged to fast and eat only one meal every day. Throughout the event, ladies decorate and worship clay idols of Shiva-Gauri or Isar-Gaura baai created by local artisans. They place Wheat grass and flowers in baskets with these figures; wheat plays a key role in the rituals since it represents harvest. People also buy kunda, or earthen pots, and decorate them with maandna, a traditional Rajasthani painting style.
It is usual for the women to receive Sinjara gift baskets from their parents, which include clothing, jewellery, cosmetics, and sweets. The women use the second last day of the festival to prepare for the final or main celebration day. This day is usually the day of Sinjara. Hence, parents send these gift hampers are on the second last day of the festival. Another common ritual during the festival is the decoration of hands and feet with exquisite designs created out of Mehndi. This too, is done on the day of Sinjara.
Various fairs are hosted around the state, with the fascinating processions serving as the major attraction. Local musicians form bands that perform traditional and folk tunes as part of the parade. The celebration concludes with the idols being immersed in bawdi or johad (wells or water reservoirs) to bid Goddess Gauri farewell. People come from all across town to watch and join in these processions. Camels, chariots, bullock carts, and dancing folk artists are all part of Goddess Gangaur’s royal procession.