Gangaur Festival

Gauri or Parvati
Back in March I was traveling in Rajasthan, India and I stopped in Pushkar for a couple of nights since I had a few days to spare before heading back to Delhi. Pushkar is not only a religious center, but a very cool and laid-back town that attracts pilgrims and hippy types as well. I got all excited when I heard that the Gangour festival was in-town. 

The festival goes for over 18 days, but I was very luck to be there during the last two most important days. Gangaur is one of the most important celebrations in the state of Rajasthan--especially for women. Married and unmarried women worship the spouse of Lord Shiva-- Gauri  also known as Parvati - the supreme goddess of marriage. Married women pray for being blessed for their husbands and their welfare whereas unmarried women pray to be blessed for a good husband. It was common to see groups of beautifully dressed young girls—some very young, walking through the streets praying for a good marriage. It shows just how important marriage still is in Indian society.

A few blocks away musicians were tuning their instruments, Gauri’s image was already out in the streets and locals were celebrating with offerings. Apparently, her image is only celebrated on the streets once a year for procession and during the Gangaur festival.

Later in the afternoon, a party atmosphere was gathering on the main commercial street. While loud music was playing, business owners gathered in the streets to draw colorful allegorical paintings on the pavement to welcome the procession while crowds of tourists and locals watched. 

It was very interesting to watch India celebrate Gangaur. They are so mystical and traditionalists. I am glad I had the time to stop over in Pushkar.

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