Gangaur Festival Jaipur
The Gangaur Festival is the local festival of Rajasthan that is celebrated statewide especially in Jaipur by the womenfolk with great ardor and religious zeal. The women worship Gauri, the companion of Lord Shiva during the month Chaitra ( July -August). The festival begins following the day of Holi and the first day of the Chaitra month and continues for eighteen days.The term of Gangaur is formed by the combination of the words Gan and Gaur. Gan is the other name of Lord Shiva while Gaur comes from Gauri. Gauri represents saubhagya meaning marital bliss or conjugal love. So the the married women worship the goddess for the betterment of their husbands and for a blissful marriage. The unmarried women also worship Gauri in order to be blessed with good husbands.
It is a customary for a newly-wed woman to observe the full period of 18 days of the festival and have only one meal a day.Clay images of Isar and Gauri are made and decorated that look like living ones. Some people have wooden images that are painted freshly each year by renowned painters called matherans.The women adorn their hands and feet with beautiful patterns of mehendi (myrtle paste).
Lamps are lit inside the earthen pots with countless holes known as Ghudlias and on the seventh evening unmarried girls go around singing songs by carrying the earthen pots (Ghudlias) on their heads. They collect small gifts such as sweets, money, jaggery, ghee, oil and etc on their way and at the culminating time of the festival they break their pots. After immersing the debris into a well or a tank, they have a grand feast with their collected gifts. The married women carry the images of Gan and Gauri on their heads.