If you are present in Jodhpur and it’s the first day of Hindu New Year, you should definitely tie your shoelaces and be ready to homogenize in the festive mood of the Gangaur festival. Surrounded by people dressed in shimmering traditional Rajasthani dresses, you will feel the heat of this festival for certain, forgetting all the boredom and mundanity.
Listed amongst the most important and celebrated festivals of Rajasthan, and a specialty in Jodhpur, Gangaur festival is dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva (Gan) and his wife, Goddess Parvati (Gaur). Whether it is married or unmarried women, ladies camouflage themselves as men, like dacoits, saints, police or army men and many more disguises. So if you are strolling on the streets on Gangaur, you better make a mindset that you will be at the mercy of these oddly dressed females!
Carrying sticks or Baints in hand, these disguised women march across the streets of the blue city, protecting the statue of Dhinga Gavar and beating up unmarried boys who crosses their way!
The myth behind this act is that whoever gets beaten up or even touched by the sticks gets married soon with his dream girl. So if you are still single, Gangaur is the festival for you! Also, on this pious day, unmarried girls willing to get married keep fasts in order to find their suitable groom.
In the morning, married women of different mohallas carry out processions with the statues of Gaur and Isar bare footedly to the temples to pray for the long life of their partner. Although the day ends with this, but the dusk still awaits the wavering of disco lights, when dance floors are set up at public squares and people dance to their heart’s content on the beats of DJ!
Apart from Jodhpur, Gangaur festival is also celebrated in other cities of Rajasthan, such as Bikaner, Jaipur, Jaisalmer, Udaipur etc. Even though the festival is celebrated in an enjoying manner, but one cannot remain without appreciating the faith people have in Gangaur and its belief. Moreover, it’s the utter devotion of people which earns this festival its obeisance.
In brief, we can consider Gangaur to be a festival for the bachelors. For those who are married can engage their minds and souls in the mouth-watering tastes of numerous sweet dishes prepared this day, such as the Ghevar and Barfi. So instead of imagining the mind boggling scenarios of Gangaur festival roll out on the streets and dissolve yourself in the vibrant fumes of this festival of fun and frolic, Gangaur.
Author- Ashutosh Chandra
Picture Credits- Anil Purohit