Gangaur is one of the oldest and the most important festivals of Rajasthan. It is celebrated in all the districts of the State. ‘Gangaur’ literally means the union of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. The festival is all about worshipping Goddess Parvati. Married women pray to the goddess for the prosperity of their husbands and family while the unmarried women pray to get a good husband in future.
Gangaur festival is celebrated in the Chaitra month (March) every year. According to the Hindu calendar, this month starts the New Year for Hindus. This month also marks the end of winter season and the beginning of summers.
Gangaur is an 18-day festival and is celebrated with full zeal and excitement by the local people. Females apply ‘Henna’ on their hands and wear vibrant colored clothes.
The Mewar festival is celebrated to welcome the spring season in Udaipur. Though the festival is celebrated in most parts of the state but since Udaipur city was under the rule of Mewars in the past, the true flavor of the festival can be felt here.
The whole city is decorated with fine colors on the occasion especially the local markets which are adorned with bright lights and colorful drape. Since the Mewar festival coincides with Gangaur festival, it is of equal importance for the women of the city.
The beginning of the festive ceremony is done with the worship of the idols of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. A “Juloos” is organized wherein the people participating pass through different parts of the city with the idols of Shiva-Parvati and move towards Gangaur Ghat at Pichola Lake. The idols are immersed in the holy water and people pray for their families’ prosperity.
After the ritual is done, folk dances are performed and many other cultural events are organized.
Shilpgram Utsav (Festival)
Shilpgram Mahotsava is organised every year in the village Shilpgram from 21st December to 31st December. Shilpgram village is at a distance of 3 km from Udaipur city and is famous for its craftwork. The Mahotsava is basically an exhibition of handmade embroideries, handicrafts, hand-woven clothes and mirror works. Professionals from all parts of the state come here to exhibit their craftsmanship and designs.
Various workshops are organised during the festival for children to learn the artwork and craft skills. During the evening, cultural events are organised for the entertainment of the audience. The Mahotsava attracts a lot of tourists from across the country.
‘Hariyali Amavasya’, also known as ‘New Moon Day of Saawan’, is celebrated in Udaipur to welcome the Monsoon season. It is celebrated in the months of August-September. These months are also called ‘Shravan Months’ in Hindu calendar. According to South Indian Amavayant calendar, the months are termed as ‘Aashada Months’.
On the occasion of ‘Hariyali Amavasya’, local people worship the idols of Lord Shiva and pray for a good agricultural season for the year. Cultural events and fairs are also organised on this day. A very famous ‘Hariyali Amavasya Mela’ is organised at the banks of Fateh Sagar Lake every year as well.
JAGANNATH RATH YATRA
Jagannath Rath Yatra is another auspicious festival celebrated in Udaipur with a lot of enthusiasm and excitement. It is celebrated on Ashadha Shukla Paksha Dwitiya according to the Hindu calendar. On June 21 every year, Jagannath Rath Yatra is organized. The idols of Lord Krishna, Lord Balaram and Goddess Subhadra are carried in different wooden chariots and are taken to every part of the city.
Every year, huge chariots are prepared and decorated for the procession. The ‘Rath’ of Lord Krishna is called ‘Nandighosha’, Lord Balaram’s chariot is named as ‘Taladhwaja’ and Goddess Subhadra’s chariot is called ‘Dwarpadajana’. All three chariots are well-decorated with colorful drapes and props.
Jal-Jhulni Ekadashi with great Enthusiasm
Ekadashi is the eleventh day of Shukl Paksha and Krishna Paksha according to the Hindu calendar. It is considered to be a spiritual day and people observe a fast on this day. Grains and beans are not eaten on Ekadashi as it is believed that on Ekadashi, these foods get impure. According to the belief, milk products, fruits and vegetables can be eaten on this day.
There are 24 Ekadashis in a year according to the Hindu calendar. One of these is the Jal Juni Ekadashi which is celebrated in Udaipur city. Various processions are carried out in different parts of the city on this occasion and all of them conclude at Gangaur Ghat. The Idols of Lord Krishna are immersed in the holy water on this day. The processions are known as “Ram Revdies”.