The Gangaur Festival is the colourful and most important local festival of Rajastha n and is observed throughout the state with great fervour and devotion by womenfolk during the months of July and August. During this festival, Goddess Gauri, the consort of Lord Shiva is worshipped. The festival marks the celebration of monsoon, harvest and marital fidelity in Jaipur.
This festival of Rajasthan is synonymous with Shiva and Gaur which stands for Gauri or Parvati who symbolises saubhagya (marital bliss). Gauri is the embodiment of perfection and conjugal love which is why the unmarried women worship her for being blessed with good husbands, while married women do so for the welfare, health and long life of their spouses and a happy married life.
The festival commences on the first day of Chaitra, the day following Holi and continues for 18 days. For a newly-wedded girl, it is binding to observe the full course of 18 days of the festival that succeeds her marriage. Even unmarried girls fast for the full period of 18 days and eat only one meal a day.
The ladies decorate their hands and feet by drawing designs with mehendi (myrtle paste). Ghudlias are earthen pots with numerous holes all around and a lamp lit inside them. On the evening of the 7th day after Holi, unmarried girls go around singing songs of ghudlia carrying the pots with a burning lamp inside, on their heads. On their way, they collect small presents of cash, sweets, jaggery, ghee, oil etc. This continues for 10 days i.e. upto the conclusion of the Gangaur Festival when the girls break their pots and throw the debris into a well or a tank and enjoy a feast with the collections made.