Festivals In Udaipur

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Rajasthan is a vibrant, exotic state in India where tradition and royal glory meet in a riot of colors against the vast backdrop of sand and desert. Referred to as the Desert Jewel of India, Rajasthan shimmers with even more vibrancy during the time of its colourful fairs and festivals. The desert glitters with the colors of joyous celebration and gay abandon with every fair and festival of Rajasthan. There is a celebration for every religious occasion, every change of season and every harvest, all invariably a reflection of the genius of their arts and crafts and their ascetic refinement.

 

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Gangaur Festival (Mewar Mahotsav/Festival)

The Gangaur Festival is the most important local festival of Rajasthan and is observed throughout the state with great fervour and devotion by womenfolk who worship Gauri, the consort of Lord Shiva.

Gan is a synonym for 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 and long life of their life.

The images of Isar and Gauri are taken in a procession to the Pichhola Lake, thereafter they go around the lake in a boat, for an hour and the ceremony comes to an end with a display of fireworks on the banks.

 

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Hariyali Amavasya

Hariyali Amavasya is celebrated as a fair at Udaipur’s favourite Fatehsagar Lake and Sahelion Ki Bari. The fair is organized for two consecutive days in which one day is wholly dedicated to women.

History:

As per historic records, this fair started in the reign of Maharana Fateh Singh who was the architect of Fateh Sagar. The lake came into existence when Fateh Singh on his way noticed that a lot of water is being wasted near Dewali pond. He decided to convert the same into a big reservoir to fulfill the water needs of the citizens. Initially the reservoir was called Shiv Sagar and the dame was named after the Duke of Cannaunght, which was later renamed Fateh Sagar. To celebrate the achievement, a moonless night of the rainy season was chosen and since then this day is celebrated as a fair day in Udaipur near Saheliyon Ki Bari.

Features:

This fair is celebrated for two consecutive days in which one day is dedicated to women only while the other day entire family can enjoy. On the day which is reserved for the ladies, males are not allowed at all which makes it a unique fair in entire India.

 

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Deepawali (Diwali)

Deepawali or Diwali, the most pan-Indian of all Hindu festivals, is a festival of lights symbolising the victory of righteousness and the lifting of spiritual darkness. The word ‘Deepawali’ literally means rows of diyas (clay lamps). A family festival, it is celebrated 20 days after Dussehra, on the 13th day of the dark fortnight of the month of Asvin (October-November).

History:

Continuing the story of Rama, this festival commemorates Lord Rama’s return to his kingdom Ayodhya after completing his 14-year exile. Twinkling oil lamps or diyas light up every home and firework displays are common all across the country. The Goddess Lakshmi (consort of Vishnu), who is the symbol of wealth and prosperity, is also worshipped on this day.

This festive occasion also marks the beginning of the Hindu New Year and Lord Ganesha, the elephant-headed god, the symbol of auspiciousness and wisdom, is also worshipped in most Hindu homes on this day.

Another view is that Deepawali is meant to celebrate the destruction of the arrogant tyrant Bali at the hands of Vishnu when the latter appeared in his Vamana (dwarf) avatar. The occasion of Deepawali sees the spring-cleaning and whitewashing of houses; decorative designs or rangolis are painted on floors and walls. New clothes are bought and family members and relatives gather together to offer prayers, distribute sweets and to light up their homes. In West Bengal, the Deepawali festival is celebrated as Kali Puja and Kali, Shiva’s consort, is worshipped on this day.

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Holi Festival

One of the major festivals of India, Holi is celebrated with enthusiasm and gaiety on the full moon day in the month of Phalgun which is the month of March as per the Gregorian calendar.
Holi festival may be celebrated with various names and people of different states might be following different traditions. But, what makes Holi so unique and special is the spirit of it which remains the same throughout the country and even across the globe, wherever it is celebrated.

Preparations:

Entire country wears a festive look when it is time for Holi celebration. Market places get abuzz with activity as frenzied shoppers start making preparations for the festival. Heaps of various hues of gulal and abeer can be seen on the roadside days before the festival. Pichkaris in innovative and modern design too come up every year to lure the children who wish to collect them as Holi memorabilia and of course, to drench everybody in the town. Womenfolk too start making early preparations for the holi festival as they cook loads of gujiya, mathri and papri for the family and also for the relatives. At some places specially in the north women also make papads and potato chips at this time.

Holika Dahan:

On the eve of Holi, called Chhoti or Small Holi people gather at important crossroads and light huge bonfires, the ceremony is called Holika Dahan. This tradition is also followed in Gujarat and Orissa. To render greatfulness to Agni, god of Fire, gram and stalks from the harvest are also offered to Agni with all humility. Ash left from this bonfire is also considered sacred and people apply it on their foreheads. People believe that the ash protects them from evil forces.

Play of Colors:

Great excitement can be seen in people on the next day when it is actually the time for the play of colours. Shops and offices remain closed for the day and people get all the time to get crazy and whacky. Bright colours of gulal and abeer fill the air and people take turns in pouring colour water over each other. Children take special delight in spraying colours on one another with their pichkaris and throwing water balloons and passers by. Women and senior citizen form groups called tolis and move in colonies – applying colours and exchanging greetings. Songs, dance on the rhythm of dholak and mouthwatering Holi delicacies are the other highlights of the day.

 

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Pratap Jayanti

Pratap Jayanti is the birth anniversary festival of Maharana Pratap – an eternal patriot who fought the first war of independence. It is mostly celebrated in Kumbhalgarh, the birth place of Maharana Pratap, and Haldighati, where an eventful battle held between Maharana Pratap and Mughal Emperor Akbar.

This festival falls during Ashad Shukla (May-June). Apart from special puja, processions are taken out in memory of Maharana Pratap on this day. Several cultural programs such as debate are also organized.

 

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Shilpgram Festival

The Shilpgram Crafts Mela in Udaipur is a crafts lover paradise. A crafts men village in the literal sense, the Shilpgram Crafts Mela is a fair for depicting the diversities in art, craft and culture between various Indian States. The fair ground is situated at the foot of the Aravalli hills and consists of 26 huts pertaining to various states is set amidst 70 acres of lush green land.

It is situated 3 kms west of Udaipur near the Havala village. The craft fair gives us the opportunity to have a glimpse of the lifestyles of the tribal people.The ideal time to visit Udaipur to enjoy the Shilpgram Festival is during the winter months of November and December.

Features:

The crafts fair aim is to propagate the importance of rural arts and crafts especially among the younger generation. Workshops are conducted on theater, music, arts and crafts to enhance the interest.

The fair acts as a place where the rural and urban artists can exchange their views. The mela also helps in promoting the urban potters, visual artists and designers.

A craft bazaar is put up where the various works are put up on display and for sale. This helps in opening up an economic side for the artists.

A program called Shilpdarshan is an integral part of this Shilpgram Crafts Mela. According to this activity, traditional performing artists are invited to demonstrate their skills and sell their products.

In this crafts fair, Rajasthan is represented by the Weaver’s community of Marwar by 5 huts. Two sand bound villages of Rama and Sham are represented by 2 huts. Mewar’s potter community from the village named Dhol is present. The tribal communities of Bhil and the Sehariyas are represented by 2 huts.

 

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Marwar Festival

Marwar Festival is held every year in memory of the heroes of Rajasthan. The festival is held in the month of Ashwin (September-October) in Jodhpur, for two days during the full moon of Sharad Poornima.

Originally known as the Maand Festival, this festival features folk music centred on the romantic lifestyle of Rajasthan’s rulers. This festival is devoted to the music and dance of the Marwar region and offers a good opportunity to see the folk dancers and singers who assemble here and provide hours of lively entertainment. These folk artists provide a glimpse of the days of yore, of battles and valiant heroes who still live on in their songs.

Other attractions at the festival are the camel tattoo show and polo. The impressive Umaid Bhawan Palace, Mandore and Mehrangarh Fort, which are symbols of might and valour, provide the ideal venue for the cultural extravaganza, an integral part of the festival.

 

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Teej Festival

Teej is the festival of swings. It marks the advent of the monsoon month of Shravan (August). The monsoon rains fall on the parched land and the pleasing scent of the wet soil rises into the air. Swings are hung from trees and decorated with flowers. Young girls and women dressed in green clothes sing songs in celebration of the advent of the monsoon.

This festival is dedicated to the Goddess Parvati, commemorating her union with Lord Shiva. Goddess Parvati is worshipped by seekers of conjugal bliss and happiness. An elaborate procession is taken out in Jaipur for two consecutive days on the festive occasion which is watched by people in large numbers. The Teej idol is covered with a canopy whereas the Gangaur idol is open.

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