Among the more celebrated festivals of Rajasthan, Gangaur felicitates marital bliss, harvest and spring
What is it that sets Rajasthan apart from all the other ethereal places in world? The festivals which are colourful and diverse! Among these is GANGAUR which embodies the spirit of diversity. As the bright skies ushered in the festive season, the remote town of Shahpura (65km from the capital Jaipur), in the desert state of Rajasthan came alive. Worshipped by both men and women, the idols of Isar Maharaj and Gangaur Mata were taken around the streets on March 20.
Shahpura Gangaur Festival
Rajmata Gunwant Kumari, belonging to the family of the erstwhile rulers of Shahpura, and Rani Ratna Kumari Foundation, that works for women empowerment led by the family, revived the festival on a magnificent scale in 2017 after a long gap of 40 years. On the day of Gangaur, Rani Ratna Kumari, along with the married and unmarried woman of Shahpura, dressed in a colorful Rajasthani attire worshipped Isar Maharaj and Gangaur Mata at the Shahpura Haveli. This is now a luxury boutique hotel owned by the royal family of Shahpura.
The grand procession of Isar Maharaj and Gangaur Mata began with all its regal pomp and pageantry at 5pm from Rawla Moti Mahal. Both men and women could be seen beaming in colors of Rajasthan. The procession passed through the vivid markets of the town, encompassing horses, camels, traditional folk dancers, brass bands from Punjab, lancers etc, finally converging at the newly restored Gopinath Temple.
It was a spectacle to see the idols being gloriously taken to Rawla Moti Mahal, where the great Gangaur Mahotsav was organised. The major attractions of Shahpura Gangaur Festival were the cultural performances of local artists and folk musicians, the regional dances like Mayur Nritya, Masak Nritya, Behpang Nritya, magician performance, horse show, and other traditional games and competitions.
Extremely talented artists from various parts of the country such as Udaipur, Deeg, Jodhpur, Haryana, Punjab performed magnificently. The royal family of Shahpura, Maharaj Surendra Singh Shahpura and Rani Ratna Kumari of Shahpura, also participated in the festival and felicitated the local artisans in the concluding ceremony. And town, rejoicing under the festivities, teeming with both foreign nationals and domestic tourists, now awaits the next year for celebrations, thanks to Rajasthan Tourism.
Gangaur Festival, one of the most colorful and auspicious festivals of Rajasthan, celebrates spring, harvest and marital fidelity. While ‘Gana’ is another name for Lord Shiva, ‘Gaur’ symbolises Gauri aka Parvati, his wife, also an epitome of marital bliss. The 18-day festival is observed by both married and unmarried women during which they fast. Women dress up in red bandhani saris and along with turban-clad men, they worship the clay idols of Isar and Parvati.
Gangaur Festival gives visitors a spectacular opportunity to observe Rajasthan’s magnificent culture from close quarters. And everyone looks forward to seeing the spectacular celebrations and royal glamour next year.