Gangaur is a popular festival of Rajasthan. This festival is also celebrated in parts of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. The name of the festival is resultant of two words “Gan” and “Gauri”, which are alternative words for Lord Shiva and his consort Parvathi.
Gangaur, Festival of Rajasthan falls on the first day of Hindu month Chaitra, March – April according to Gregorian calendar. This year (2018), the festival is celebrated on 20th March. The festival concludes on the 3rd day of Hindu month Chaitra. But the Gangaur Mela continues for 18 days.
During this festival Goddess Gouri / Parvathi consort of Lord Shiva is worshiped with great devotion by the women. Married women pray for good health and long life of their husbands and unmarried women pray for their future husbands. They decorate their hands with mehendi and adorn themselves with finery.
Idols of Gauri and Isar (Lord Shiva) are made using clay. The idols are dressed in new garments and decorated.
Permanent wooden idols of Gauri are maintained in Rajput families. These idols get a fresh coat of paint every year during the festival. The same idol is also used during Teej with a canopy.
On the 7th day evening unmarried girls go around singing songs carrying Ghudlia on their heads. Ghudlia are pots with holes all around with a lamp lit inside. The girls are given gifts and sweets. On the 10th day, the girls break the pots and throw them in a well or a water tank.
A procession is taken out and the idol is immersed in the waters. In Jaipur, Ghewar is prepared on this festival. People distribute this sweet to friends and family.