Thursday, October 12, 2006



The spring festival of Gangaur is the most popular festival of Rajasthani women. It is celebrated in honour of Gauri, another name for goddess Prvati, the consort of Lord Shiva. The festival begins a day after Holi and lasts for 18 days. Young women dressed in colourful regional costumes carrying brass pitchers on their heads go to the temple of goddess Parvati and ceremonially bathe the deity. The unmarried girls pray for a good match while the married ladies pray for their husband’s long life. The festivities come to an end when Lord Shiva accompanied by elephants comes to escort Gauri home. Although celebrated throughout Rajasthan with great enthusiasm, the celebrations of Gangaur in Jaipur and Udaipur have their own charm. In Jaipur a large procession of Gauri’s adorned image is taken out from the City palace accompanied by music bands, caparisoned elephants, camels, hourses and thousands of people. In Udaipur a board procession in Pichola Lake adds to the gaiety of the festival.

The Ghoomer is the most celebrated folk dance of Rajasthan. Dedicated to the goddess Parvati or Gauri, the dance is performed exclusively by women during Teej and other festivals and on happy occasions. Ghoomer means a spinning movement and the dancers go round gracefully in circles to the rhythm to the dholak (drum) and the manjeera (cymbals). The Ger dance on the other hand, is performed by men during Holi. It is danced at a hectic pace to the beat of a drum. Dancing men carry sticks which they manipulate with great finesse.


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