How to perform Gangaur puja?
Gangaur is the time when the universal mother, Parvati is worshipped. The goddess is known as the goddess of love, fertility and devotion. According to the Hindu beliefs, it is the energy of Maa Parvati, which carries out the continuous cycle of knowledge and learning in the universe. The goddess is worshipped during Gangaur festival with great enthusiasm and devotion by womenfolk. The festival is the celebration of monsoon, harvest and marital fidelity. Women worship Gauri, the consort of Lord Shiva.
Gangaur is the popular festival of Rajasthan and is celebrated with great devotion by all Rajasthani women who worship Gauri. Married women celebrate it for saubhagya(marital bliss) as Gauri or Parvati is wife of Shiva and share a beautiful relationship with Lord Shiva.This day marks the reunion of Maa Gauri and Lord Shiva after a temporary long sacrament The small doll like Idols of the Shiva and Gauri are made of wood and the divine male and female entities are called ‘Isar’ and ‘Gauri’.
Images of Isar and Gauri are made of clay for the festival. In some Rajput families, permanent wooden images are painted afresh every year by reputed painters called matherans on the eve of the festival. A distinct difference between the idols of Teej and Gangaur is that the Idol will have a canopy during the Teej.
Ingredients required for the puja
Some water in a vessel, turmeric stick, a silver ring (the latter two signifying Lakshmi), and seven grains of wheat, Idol of gaur, isar, kaniram, rova bai ,sova bai n Malan. Instead of their idol, you can also draw a gangaur chart in a chart paper. (Gauri is isarji’s wife and kaniram, rova bai & sova bai are isarji’s siblings). During the puja, women sing songs in praise of Shiv and Parvati and unmarried girls and newly-wed brides (in the first year of marriage) observe the Suraj-Rota ka vrat (fast) for the Sun God.
What are Ghudlias?
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 ghu dolia 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 up to the conclusion of the Gangaur festival when the girls break their pots and throw the debris into the well or a tank and enjoy a feast with the collection made.
The first important ritual of the festival is the collecting of ashes from the Holi fire and burying seeds of wheat and barley in it. They are watered every day until they germinate.Women sing songs of Shiv and Parvati and carry pots on their head.A week after this the goddess images are made with clay. For a newly-wedded girl, it is binding to observe the full course of 18 days of the festival that is known to succeed her marriage and give marital bliss. Even unmarried girls fast for the full period of the 18 days and eat only one meal a day.
Mehendi adorns the hands and feet of the worshipers
The ladies decorate their hands and feet by drawing designs with Mehndi. Mehendi is of immense importance during all Hindu cultural festivals whether it is to be applied on a bride or for any other cultural functions or festivals by other members of the family. No Hindu festival is complete without the application of Mehendi. Applying Mehendi is a beautiful art in itself and to top on getting the dark colour is a sheer necessity for all women who love Mehendi applications. The figures drawn range from the Sun, Moon and the stars to simple flowers or geometrical designs.
Puja Vidhi for Gangaur
Know the steps to preform gangaur puja with proper rituals and customs. You cannot get up in between once the Pooja starts. So make sure you do not forget anything and prepare yourself well in advance with all the materials needed for the pooja
- First, place the gangaur idols at a neat and clean place over a wooden platform. You can otherwise paste the gangaur chart on a wall in the east west direction idle to perform the puja. Also paste one plain white paper near the idol.
- Then apply “tilak” (vermicelli-kumkum and rice) on your forehead.
- Now take green grass and take out 7 small sticks from their edge for all the idols respectively. And then remove 16 nos for both newly wedded women as well as unmarried girls.
- These sticks are used as a toothbrush (Datun) for the idols. Take little water with it to each of the idols and touch them to their mouth, as if making the idol brush teeth. You should further sing this song specially meant for this occasion “Datun karlo oh madhavji,datun keka oh madhavji;Datun duba ka madhavji”… Best id to download it!!
- Now keep one nice dub in your hand till the puja is done.
- Now put “tilak” (vermicilli-kumkum and rice) on the idol’s forehead.
- Then offer the goddess red thread (Moli) and flowers.
- Making an offering of fresh fruits to the goddess
- Now on the blank sheet of paper make 7 small dots each of vermicilli, mehndi and kohl (kajal), 16 nos for both unmarried girls and newly wedded women.
- Now mix milk and water in a container and leave kodi, piece of turmeric (haldi), coin, silver ring and betel nut in it.
- Now take some janwara with dub in ur both hands and dip them into the container of milk and water. Sprinkle the water which is on the dub. Keep them in your hand for kahani.
- Now hear gangaur making fine and nice pearls on the upper side of your 2nd hand.
- Once you have finished reading the katha wipe away all the pearls from your hand with the dub and janwara towards the idol. And at last make bangles on your both hands with this water with the help of dub and janwara and sprinkle some water on your head.
- Now offer these dub and janwara to the idol and place it near to them and take some 4-6 pieces of these dub and janwara and tie it on ur both hand’s bangles and also put some on your hairs.
- Now take a container and do “El khel” by moving that container and dropping some water from it by accompanying “El khel” song with it. It is believed that the water which is dropped outside goes to the gaur and isar for their bath.
- Now remove a few fruits you had offered to the idol.
- Now gangaur puja comes to an end. Remove kodi, turmeric, coin, ring and betel nut from the water and touch them to the idol’s eyes and then to oneself.
- The last and the final ritual is to take the container of water and milk mixture with which puja is performed and drop little amount around oneself as if you are making ghaghra’s flare. It is believed that by doing so gaur mata will always bless you with that much flares of Ghaghra, happiness and marital bless.
Images of Isar and Gauri
The festival reaches its climax during the last three days. The images of Gauri and Isar are dressed in new garments are especially made for the occasion. Unmarried girls and married women decorate the images and make them look like living figures. They go around all the houses in the area and collect small presents, cash, sweets, jaggery, ghee, oil etc. The women chant hymns also termed as Gangaur geet to the Goddess. The festivity continues for as long as 18 days and is celebrated with huge pomp and show within the women community and concludes with the arrival of Lord Shiva to accompany his bride home. The procession marks the occasion and beautifully ornamented camels, horses, elephants and dancing people celebrate and rejoice the festival with great fervour with joyous drummers & children carries the idol of Gauri in beautifully decorated gold and silver a palanquin.
Celebrating Gaungaur on the ghat
At an auspicious hour in the afternoon, a procession is taken out of a garden, bawdi or johad or well with the images of Isar and Gauri, placed on the heads of married women. Songs are sung about the departure of Gauri to her husband’s house. The procession comes back after offering water to the first two days. On the final day, she faces in the same direction as Isar and the procession concludes in the consignment of the all images in the waters of a tank or a well. The women bid farewell to Gauri and turn their eyes and the Gangaur festival comes to an end.