Fair & Festivals
Elephant Festival Jaipur
The elephant festival gets underway in the month of Phalgun (March) on the eve of Holi, the festival of colours. The festival begins with a procession of elephants, camels, horses and folk dancers. The sight of mighty jumbos striding majestically is a treat to watch. The mahavats or owners proudly decorate their elephants with bright colours, jhools (saddle cloth) and heavy jewellery. Female elephants are made to wear payals or anklets which tinkle as they walk. Prizes are given for the most beautifully decorated elephant. Even more exciting is the Polo match, the Elephant race, the tug-of-war between elephant and 19 men and women. The most colourful being the playing of Holi on Elephant back.
Sheetla Mata Fair Chaksu Jaipur
The Sheetla Mata Fair is held in March-April, the month of Chaitra, in village Seel-Ki-Doongri. Doongri is a hillock on top of which the shrine of Sheetla Mata stands. The Fair is held in her honour every year. The fair attracts hordes of visitors from far and wide. People believe that epidemics spread because of the wrath of Sheetla Mata and hence they worship her and make offerings so that she may be pacified. The deity is represented by a red stone. It is veritable picnic for the pilgrims attending the fair. It is customary to cook one's own food at the site, and eat it only after it has been offered at the shrine. A temporary market comes up at the fair and the rural folk can been trading in wares such as shoes, clothes, food stuff, utensils and agriculture implements. A cattle fair is also organized during the fair. It is a small affair and lasts for about a week. Bullocks, camels and horses are sold at the fair and prizes are awarded to the best breeders.
Gangaur Festival Jaipur
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 Gauri which stands for Gauri or Parvati who symbolizes 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 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 fully period of 18days and eat only one meal a day. Images of Isar&Gauri are made of clay for the festival. In some 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 festival while the Gangaur idol would not a canopy. The ladies decorate their hands and feet by drawing design with Mehendi (myrtle Paste). The figures drawn range from the sun, Moon and the stars to simple flowers or geometrical designs.
Teej Festival Jaipur
Teej is the festival of swings. It marks the advent of the monsoon month of Sharvan (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.