This festival is dedicated to Gauri, a manifestation of Goddess Parvati; consort of Lord Shiva, which commences on the first day of Chaitra, the day following Holi and lasts for 18days. Traditionally the festival celebrates Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, however there is a lot more to the festival then meets the eye. For those who want to know, Gangaur is not just a one day festival where people offer their prayers to the deities. The festival holds a lot more than that.
Gangaur is preceded by Sinjara, a day when women dress up, pamper themselves and put beautiful designs made by Heena on their hands. The women celebrate Sinjara by adorning themselves with beautiful jewelry and clothing and also by eating traditional sweet Ghewar. In the city of Jaipur this is the day when women prepare for the festival of Gangaur too. People bring beautiful idols of Isar and Gangaur (Shiva and Parvati) in their house and women design beautiful clothes for the idols along-with preparing sweets.
The next day, on the festival of Gangaur, women come together in groups and pray to the Goddess Parvati for blissful married life. The rituals performed during the festival are also very beautiful and have been performed by the women of Rajasthan for centuries. Isar and Gangaur, adorned in beautiful clothing, are placed on a beautiful stage of made of flowers and grass. Women then festoon their head with Tika, hands with Heena and beautify their eyes with kohl. The whole ceremony is accompanied with beautiful Folk Songs that women keep singing.
Anyone who visits this festival ceremony for the first time will definitely be charmed by the beauty, simplicity and colors of the festival. Post the ceremony one can easily notice many small dots (Bindis) of different colors made with turmeric, vermilion, Kohl and heena that are put by women as a part of festival’s rituals, on the wall. The festivities do not end here, in the evening, Isar and Gangaur, are again treated with sweets and then fed water.
On the day of Gangaur Pink City gets to see a royal Gangaur procession, which starts from City Palace, find its way through the Pink City and ends at talkatora. Over the years, numbers of festivals and fairs have changed in nature – however, the procession has retained its traditional charm. The tourists and visitors get to witness the traditional dances and performances throughout the procession.