Photo Feature: Actress Suchandra Vaaniya Celebrates "Gangaur Mahotsav" with Purva Kolkata Maheshwari Sabha (Slideshow)

By Ankit Agarwal and Prerna Kothari

Actress Suchandra Vaaniya Celebrates Gangaur in Kolkata
Actress Suchandra Vaaniya Celebrates Gangaur in Kolkata

Kolkata, 8th April, 2016: 'Gangaur', the festival of Rajasthan is observed with great fervour and devotion by women folk who worship 'Gauri', the consort of Lord Shiva. The word “Gangaur” comes from ‘Gana’ which is a synonym of Lord Shiva and ‘Gaur’ which stands for Gauri who symbolises Saubhagya (marital bliss). The inauguration ceremony was attended by: Suchandra Vaaniya, Tollywood Actress; Hon'ble Justice Amitava Lala, Ex Acting Chief Justice, Allabhabad High Court and many other political representatives and eminent personalities.

Actress Suchandra Vaaniya Celebrates Gangaur in Kolkata
Actress Suchandra Vaaniya Celebrates Gangaur in Kolkata

Purva Kolkata Maheshwari Sabha is all set to celebrate the festival of “Gangaur” with much fervour and devotion for the seventh year in a row at Gangaur CIT Park (Opposite Purwanchal Diagnostic Centre). Being the only All-Women-Festival of ‘Gangaur’ in the city of joy, Kolkata, the festival celebration will observe colourful episodes, gaiety participants and several folk songs and dances, welcoming goddess “Gauri” to her motherly home for her 18 days stay.

The event is organized by women and for the women celebrating the spirit of womanhood and marital life. Womenfolk attending the evening carnival will be all decked in lehariya saris, lehangas and Rajasthani poshak, adorned with ethnic embellishments. The feat will observe fun games to traditional customs and stage performances.

In the event and cultural functions young girls and women dominate the stage with colourful cloths and with dance and singing. Since the very first year the lyrics of all the numbers are also being written by one lady. The procession includes both men and women with women outnumbering there men counterpart.

Related: Photo Feature | Kolkata Celebrates Holi - “RANGOTSAV - Buzz Ki Holi Festival” at PC Chandra Gardens

Gangaur symbolises marital happiness achieved by Gauri. While married women evoke the blessings of Gauri and pray for the long life of their husbands, unmarried girls pray for a good husband.

Speaking to the media, Mr. Hemant Marda, Vice-President of Purva Kolkata Maheshwari Sabha said, “The aim of organizing this Gangaur Mahotsav on such a large scale is to bring to light the Rajasthani culture and to connect today’s youth with their tradition and culture. “Gangaur Mahotsav” showcases the vitality and energy of Rajasthani culture with live performances in the stunning surroundings which brings traditional touches of Rajasthan in the town. We are really very thankful to all our participants for making this event so grand.”

Describing the significance of the festival, a lady here said, "Idol of Isar ji represents Hindu god Shiva while that of Gangaur ji represents goddess Parvati. We offer prayers to these idols on this day. Unmarried girls pray for getting a good groom while the married ladies pray for the long life of their husbands." The ladies decorate their hands and feet by drawing designs with 'mehandi'.

Speaking on this occasion, Mr. Gopal Das Damani, Coordinator of Purva Kolkata Maheshwari Sabha said, “The festival is celebrated as an event of biding adieu to the pious Hindu festival Holi. Rajasthani women participate in the festival with local songs and folk dances. The celebrations began just as the holi concludes, in which goddess Gauri is worshipped. The carnival continues for 18 days.”

Gangaur starts the day after Holi and goes on for 18 days. Women apply mehendi and are offered sweets, clothes and jewellery by family members. Married women get gifts from her mother and mother-in-law. Gangaur Rituals: Every early morning, women take shower and worship Isar (Shiva) and Parvati (Gauri). Women also maintain a sheet which marks their presence for 16 days.

They apply three different tikkis on the sheet which consists of roli, mehendi and kajal. The three tikkis are applied every day after the woman worships Isar Parvati. Songs and stories mark the festive celebrations every day. The last three days are very important. The images of Gauri and Isar are dressed in new garments, especially made for the occasion.

The clay idols of Gangaur look really colourful and bright with garments and accessories which makes them look like a living figure. In some cultures, wooden idols are used which are polished every year and decorated with new garments. Women either use Isar and Parvati (two idols) or seven idols of Gangaur. The last day of Gangaur is celebrated in a grand way. The idols are immersed in river, pond or well and this concludes the 16 days of Gangaur festival. Women feast each other and in early evening, go out with the Gangaur. This is the seventh year in a row where Purva Kolkata Maheshwari Sabha is celebrating this Gangaur Mahotsav on such a large scale here at Phoolbagan.

Slideshow of pictures from the event:

EVENT SCHEDULE:

8th APRIL, 2016, FRIDAY:
* MEHANDI
* Gangaur Pujan
* Inauguration & Gangaur Geet Gunjan

9th APRIL, 2016, SATURDAY:
* Gangaur Mel-Milaap
* Paag Bandhai
* Gangaur Pujan
* Cultural Programme - 7 pm onwards


10th APRIL, 2016, SUNDAY:
* Gangaur Pujan

* Drawing Competition
* Gangaur Savaari