Gangaur Festival History Importance Katha Udyapan Pooja Vidhi
India is a multi-cultural and multi-lingual country. Each state has its unique feel, its own heritage, tradition, culture, hues and warmth. No two states are the same. As religion is an important part of the lives of the people, it is obvious that there are various religious festivals celebrated in the country. All these festivals will highlight the culture as well. If you happen to take a trip in the state of Rajasthan, you stand a chance to see the celebration of the colorful festival of Gangaur. Here, you will get detailed description of all aspects associated with the ritual.
What is Gangaur?
Gangaur is primarily a ritual that is celebrated in the border state of Rajasthan. Apart from this, Gangaur is also celebrated with pomp and grandeur in some of the areas of Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, and Gujarat. Just the state itself, Gangure is also a colorful and vibrant festival. During this festival, the women worship Goddess Gauri, the wife of Lord Shiva.
According to the ancient Hindu texts, the festival is not only the celebrated to seek the blessings of Goddess Parvati but also to evoke the blessings of Lord Shiva. It is mentioned in the ancient texts that the name of the festival Gangaur has been derived by joining the names of “Gan” (another name of Shiv) and “Ganuri” that obviously represents Goddess Gauri. This ritual is mainly followed by the women of each family. Goddess Gauri is seen as an epitome of devotion and virtue and thus, Gangaur is celebrated to pay respect to her and get her blessings.
When is it celebrated?
According to the English calendar, the Gnagaur takes place during the months of March to April. Though the main festival has a fixed date, it is believed that the actual tithi starts after the date of Holi. The celebrations continue for a period of 18 days.
According to the Hindu calendar, the festival is celebrated on the opening day of “chaitra.” During the entire course, the women worship and sing praises of the Lord and the Goddess and then on the final day, they immerse the idols in the holy water of the river of the sacred tanks.
Gangaur date and time in 2017
This year, the festival will comment on the 30th of March, 2017 and will end on the 14th of April, 2017.
Importance of the Gangaur festival
If there is one festival that is celebrated all over the state of Rajasthan then it has to be Gangaur. Even people of Rajasthani origin, living in other parts of the country or even abroad, make sure to observe this ritual.
According to the legends and ancient texts, if any unmarried girl does the pooja with full devotion then she is bound to get a good man as her husband. Apart from this, the married women observe the festival and worship Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati as it is said that the gods will bless them and they will have no issues in the marital life. This festival is also celebrated to thank the gods for the good harvest and the crops. Celebration concludes on the third day of Shukla Paksha.
In Rajasthan, it is a ritual for a newly married woman to take part in the pooja. She has to observe a vrat or a fast for the development of her family and the wellbeing of her husband. The newly married woman must consume only one meal during the entire day. She is not even allowed to drink a drop of water. This must be observed for all the 16 days of the pooja.
The importance of the festival is high among the tribal communities in the area. During these 16 days, the young men of the tribe get along with the young and eligible girls and choose a life partner accordingly.
Important items for the Gangaur pooja
There are certain items which are a must for this festival. The following list will tell you more about the things you require to take part in the pooja:
- The image of the deity
The first thing that is needs is the idols. The statues of Goddess Parvati are made of fresh clay and decorated with vibrant colors. Many women of the Rajput dynasty also repaint the wooden idols each year before the festival. The painting is done by the ‘matherans.’ One significant difference between the statues used during Gangaur and Teej is that the idols used in the former do not have any canopy on top.
Decorating the hands and palm with mehandi or a paste of “heena” is a popular ritual among the women during any auspicious ritual. It is mainly done when a girl is getting married. It is a symbol of marital life. As Gangaur is a festival that celebrates marital status and bliss, it is mandatory for the women to decorate their hands with “heena” paste. They also decorate the feel with this paste. Fine designs are drawn. According to popular belief the deeper the color of the mehandi, the more the husbands will love and respect the wives.
“Ghudlia” is the term that is given to pots, made of earth. These pots have a lot of holes in them. These pots are used during the pooja and lamps or diyas made of clay are placed inside these perforated pots. Six days after Holi, all girls who are yet not married carry these perforated pots, with diyas in them and carry it on top of their heads. They sign the songs, which are specifically sung during Gangaur. According to the rituals, these girls hold the pots on top of the heads and collect gifts of sugar, sweets, ghee and jiggery from the neighbors. The ritual is done for 10 days. On the last day, the pots are broken and the fragments are submerged in the sacred tank or pond. The girls then take part in an elaborate feast and eat the things they had collected.
Rituals of observing Gangaur
The married women follow a different way of doing the pooja. During the month of Gangaur, local craftsmen make idols of Shiv and Parvati. The women of the house purchase these and after decorating them with vibrant clothes, place the idols in baskets full of flowers and grass. They take small pots made of clay and put wheat in them. These pots are called “kundas”. The wheat seeds germinate and the concluding day of the festival, the wheat grass is used. Pots for keeping water are also painted with amazing “maandna.”
The second day of the pooja is called Sinjara. The married women get gifts of new clothes, sweets, jewelry, and other items for decorating the home. Women put on mehandi, wear new and colorful clothes and jewelry and sit for the pooja. The last day is marked by the leaving of Goddess Gauri.
Gangaur Pooja Samagri
To achieve the best results of observing the vrat one must make sure that all the ingredients and items required for the doing the pooja is at hand. The following list will give a clear idea about the items, which you will require for the task:
|1.||A “chouki” made of wood|
|2.||A kunda made of copper|
|3.||Black colored clay or the ash from burning the sacred holi|
|4.||Two pots made of clay|
|5.||Lamp or “diya” made out of clay|
|6.||“kumkum,” “haldi” or turmeric, mehandi or henna|
|7.||rice grains, “abir” or colored powder, “kajal” and ghee|
|8.||Durba grass, flowers, the twigs of mango tree|
|9.||A “kalash” full of water|
|10.||Coconut, betel seeds, betel leaves, wheat|
|11.||New clothes for the Gangaur idols, proper cloth for “chunri”|
|12.||A lid made of bamboo|
|14.||Halwa” (sweet dish), “puri,” fruits made of flour (gune)|
Gangaur pooja vidhi
The following steps will give you a clear idea about the vidhi of observing the vrat and the pooja of gangaur:
- It is written in the religious texts that the women, observing the Gangaur fast must leave bed before the sun rises and take a bath to clean their body. Then they must wear clean and new clothes before staring the pooja.
- Both the married and the unmarried ladies must place the pot on the top of their heads and then go to the nearby gardens. They must fill the pot with clean water and pick fresh flowers and burba grass. While coming back home, they must sing the praise of the Goddess.
- When they come home, the women make a square “bedi” with clay and place sandal essence and “kapur” inside the “bedi.” In the middle of the bedi, women place statues of the deity made of silver or gold. These statues are worshiped with flowers and durba grass.
- The girls put 16 dots each of “kumkum,” “mehandi” and “kajal” on the walls every day. All these items are associated with the marital happiness and bliss. This ritual worships the ten roops of Goddess Gauri.
- According to the guidelines of the rituals, the women observing the vrat must fast for the entire day and only consume milk once. If this ritual is observed with full dedication, the Goddess will bless the household with prosperity and children.
- Apart from the clay statues, the statues of Shiva – Parvati, made of any metal are placed on the “shingasana” or a swing. The statues are clothed in beautiful dresses. They are then decorated with fresh flowers and sweet smelling incense sticks are burnt during the pooja.
Gangaur Udyapan Pooja Vidhi
Though the normal pooja of Gangaur and the Gangaur Udyapan Pooja vidhi are almost the same, there are some differences. For instance, on the very last or the 16th day of the festival, the main event takes place.
On the very last day, the married as well as the unmarried girls offer the eight kinds of fruits, which they made out of flour. Along with this, they also offer “puri” and wheat to the idols. Once the pooja is done, the girls take back four fruits as “prasad.” On the day of the Gangaur, the married as well as the unmarried worship the idols twice. The first time they follow the normal vidhi and the second time, they follow the vidhi that is at per with the traditions of the respective households.
Before the sitting for the pooja the second time, all the married women keep the cloth for the “choli” and place the fruits made of flour on it. The cloth contains 16 fruits each for the mother-in-law, brother, brother-in-law and also for herself. They all keep the items, which mark the symbol of marriage on the cloth and once the pooja is over, they wave their hands on all the things. In the evening, the carry all the offerings and the idols to the nearest water body and submerge the idols. These women then give away all the offerings to the gardener. Before the sun sets, the women come back home and then sign the praise of Lord Shiv and Goddess Parvati. And thus, the entire Gangaur vidhi is completed.
Vrat katha of Gangaur
Reading the vrat katha is mandatory for the devotees to get the positive results of the ritual. Once upon a time, Lord Shiv, along Goddess Parvati and Narad Muni went out to take a small trip. When they reached a nearby forest, the news of their arrival spread like wild fire. All the women of the high class families wanted to offer them delicious food. As the women were busy preparing a gorgeous spread for the Gods and Goddess, the women of the low class came with their offerings. Lord Shiv and Goddess Parvati happily ate the food and Goddess sprinkled the “suhagras” on them.
After a certain time, the women of the high classes came with the food they had prepared. They arranged it on the golden and silver platters. This food was also consumed by the deities. When they had finished eating Lord Shiv asked his wide that with what was she going to bless the women as she had already finished every bit of the “suhagras” on blessing the women of lower classes. To this, Goddess Parvati replied that she intended to bless these women with her own blood. Saying so, she scratched the tip of her finger and sprinkled the blood on these women.
Once this was done, Goddess Parvati went to take a bath in the nearby river. Afther her bath, she stepped on the beach and made a Shivalinga out of sand and worshiped it. She offered the Shivaling with food that she prepared out of sand. All these took a lot of time and when she went back to her husband, he asked the cause of her delay. Goddes Parvati lied to Lord Shiv and said that she met her family on the way. When Lord Shiv asked what she ate, she said that her relatives offered her milk and rice. Upon hearing this, Lord Shiv also wanted to taste the same. In reality Lord Shiv knew that Parvati was not being true. When he said that he too wanted to meet his il-laws, Goddess Parvati started praying to Bholenath (Lord Shiv) to save her face.
As the three reached the banks, they saw a palace and all the relatives of Goddess Parvati waiting for them. The palace and the relatives were nothing but illusion. It was created by Lord Shiva himself. They were received and enjoyed their stay for two days. After this, Goddess Parvati wanted to leave while Lord Shiv wanted to stay for a few days more. When Goddess Parvati pressed to leave, Lord Shiv had to leave along with Narad Muni. While on their journey back home, Lord Shiv realized that he had forgot to bring his garland. Narad Muni was sent to fetch it. When he reached the place, he saw nothing but thick forest and wild beasts roaming around. He saw that the mala was resting on the branch of a tree.
When Narad went back to Lord Shiv, he narrated the entire incident to the god. On hearing this, Lord Shiv said that all this was the “leela” of Goddess Parvati. She felt embarrassed. On seeing this, Narad Muni said that there was nothing to be embarrassed about doing the pooja in secret. He also said that Mata Parvati was the epitome of marital bliss for all women. She is the “adi Shakti” and anyone who does the pooja in secret will be duly be blessed by Lord Shiv. Since that day onward, the popularity of the Gangaur festival started spreading on earth.
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