Holi is a massive riot of colors and celebrations, but in Rajasthan the fun and festivities don’t end with it, but continue for another 18 days in the form of Gangaur festival which commences on the day following holi. Though it is celebrated all over the state, it reserves a special place in Jaipur. The festival is celebrated by womenfolk with great enthusiasm and devotion for gauri, the consort of lord shiva (gana), hence Gangaur. Married women worship gauri the embodiment of perfection and conjugal love, for the success of their married life, unmarried women worship the goddess to pray for a good husband.
The first important ritual of the colorful festival of gangaur is the collection of ashes from the holi fire. A week after holi, women make clay idols of gauri and shiva. Idols of goddess gauri and lord shiva are dressed up in vibrant attire and heavy embellished jewellery. Women dressed up in beautiful, colorful outfits, wear henna on their hands and sing traditional songs. On the 18th day women carry bejeweled idols of the gan and gaur (shiva and parvati) on their head across the city, accompanied by colorful processions of bands, camels, elephants, palkis, chariots, bullock carts and folk performances. The celebration comes to an end with the immersion of idols into a lake or fresh water body, symbolizing return of Gauri and Shiva to their home. Post which everyone feasts on rich rajasthani food and especially a sweetened dish ghewar, a delicious local dessert.