Published on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 by
Deepawali (Dewali or Depawali)
Diwali is celebrated all over India. The preparations for the festival begins well in advance. People start decorating their homes, preparing sweets and farsans and buy new clothes & jewellery all this to welcome the Goddess into their homes who comes to bless all. People light up their homes with clay oil lamps and colorful lights and Rangolis . This new moon night or Amavasya as it is called is thus turned into a bright and colourful night.
Holi is a festival of colour & is celebrated all over India. It is also celebrated by Indians residing out of India. This festival comes on the full moon day of Phagan - a Hindu month. This festival bring new hope for all the people as it marks the end of chilled winter days and the beginning of the summer. People forget their enmity and throw away their worries.
Everywhere people - young or old are drenched with different colours and water which comes from everywhere, there are balloons bursting and long piston squirting coloured water. People in small groups are seen singing, dancing and throwing colours on each other.
One of the big festivals celebrated in most parts of India is Dussehra. Dussehra marks the victory of Ram over the demon king Ravana, and the rescue of his wife Sita. In north India, gigantic effigies of the ten-headed Ravana and his brothers are set aflame amidst bursting of crackers. Fairs are usually held on this occasion with lots to eat, buy and enjoy. This day is also known as Vijayadashmi, or the Victory Tenth, because of the victory of Ram over Ravana.
Raksha Bandhan is a Hindu custom marking the love and affection between brothers and sisters. It is celebrated on "Shravan Sud Poornima" every year according to the Hindu Calender. Raksha means Protection , Bandhan means bond. On this day, sisters tie a colourful 'Rakhi' on the wrists of their brothers. Sisters believe that this will bring success, peace, and good health to their brothers throughout the year. Brothers on their part take a vow to protect their sister, and a symbol of his love gives a gift to his sister.
Ganesh Chaturthi marks the birth of Lord Ganesha and is celebrated all over the country. This is also symbolic of the advent of all festivals dedicated to other Indian Gods. The temple dedicated to Lord Ganesha is located in the fort of Ranthambhor, about 12 kms from Sawai Madhopur. The Orange color in which the idol is painted as well is the holy colour for this festival. The idol is lavishly decorated with golden ornaments and every day felicities with huge garlands of marigold.
The famous Pushkar Fair is a great tourist attraction. People from around the globe come to the ancient religious town of Pushkar which is transformed into a spectacular fair ground in the month of Kartik. People bathe, worship and delight in the dazzling wares of roadside stalls. Camels are bought, sold, beautified, raced and parade. Most unusual are the small groups of men and women seen busy tattooing their hands and other parts of the body. Evenings at the Pushkar Fair have their own charm. The silent night is pierced by calls of camels. Ballads are sung by actors in passionate tones. Folk dramas, skits and folk dance are organised for the entertainment of the tourists.
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.
The Camel Festival begins with a colourful procession of bedecked camels against the red sandstone backdrop of the Junagarh Fort, the festivity advances to the open sand-spreads of the grounds, followed by the best breed competition, the tug-of-war contest, camel dance and acrobatics, etc. Hundreds of tourists and thousands of locals and dignitaries revel in this man-and-animal affair organised especially for the tourists.
The festival is organised by the tourist authorities as tourist entertainment around January-February. The very rich and colourful Rajasthani folk culture is on show here for a few days. Rajasthani men and tall beautiful women dressed in their brightly costumes dance and sing lingering ballads of valour, romance and tragedy. The high points of the festival are - snake charmers, puppeteers, acrobats, folk performers do rapid trade. Camels, the lifeline of the desert, play a foremost role. The tourist dances, turban tying competitions and tug of war are big draws and laughter. The Mr Desert competitions, which are focused around the length of moustaches by and large, attract many hopefuls.
The Gangaur Festival is the colourful and 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 during July-Aug. 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 life.
The annual fair of Kaila Devi, (Mahalakshmi or the goddess of wealth), is held at the village Kaila (24 kms to the south west) in Karauli district in the month of Chaitra (Mar-Apr), lasting for a fortnight. The temple of Kaila Devi is located on the banks of the Kalisil river in the hills of Trikut, 2 Kms. to the north-west of Kaila village. Another attraction is the small temple dedicated to Bhairon, situated in the courtyard and facing the shrine of Kaila Devi is a temple of Hanuman locally called 'Languriya'.
Khatu Shayamji Fair
Khatu Shyamji is famous for its Shyamji temple. There is a steady stream of devotees the year round, but lakh of them gather at the annual fair from Phalgun Sudi Dashmi to Dwadashi. Apart from being a place of pilgrimage, a large number of people come for the Jadula ceremony (the first time all hair is shaved off the head) of their children.
From royal splendour to riotous egalitarianism , 14 January is celebrated in India as Makar Sankranti. Its been five years that this Desert Kite Festival is held. Kite makers flaunt kites sized as big as 1.5km of various shapes and Designs. Some carrying messages, some depicting social issues, some as caricatures of politicians. Its been the most popular event recently, even tourists can take part in various kite flying competitions. The colours that flaunt in the blue sky mesmerises the viewers.
Shri Mahavirji Fair
The Shri Mahavirji Fair is held from Chaitra Shukla Ekadasi to Baisakh Krishna Dwitiya (March-April) to commemorate the memory of Shri Mahavir Swami, the 24th tirthankara (saint) of the Jains, in Chandangaon. The major attraction is the Rath Yatra. The fair of Mahavirji reaches its peak on Baisakh Krishna Dwitiya when the image of the deity is taken to the bank of river Gambhiri in a grand procession for Kalash Abhishek. The golden chariot (rath) is drawn by bullocks. Four persons wave chanvars (fly whisks) over the image and the site resounds with "bhajans" and religious songs with intermittent slogans of 'Shri Mahavir Swami Ki jai.
The Marwar Festival is held every year in memory of the heroes of Rajasthan. 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 carrying pots on their heads and singers who assemble here and provide hours of lively entertainment. 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.
The Mewar Festival is celebrated to welcome the advent of spring. It coincides with the festival of Gangaur in Udaipur, and has a unique charm about it. The women folk gather to dress the images of Isar and Gangaur and then carry them in a ceremonial procession through different parts of the city. The procession winds its way to the Gangaur Ghat at Lake Pichhola. Here, the images are transferred to special boats amidst much singing and festivity. Once the religious part of the festival is over, it is time for cultural events where Rajasthani culture is portrayed through songs, dances and other programmes. The festival culminates with an impressive fireworks display.
A large fair is held here from Bhadon Sudi 2 to Bhadon Sudi 11 (Aug - Sept) which is attended by lakh of devotees who come in large groups from far and wide. Irrespective of their caste, creed or religious affiliations, these devotees throng the shrine dedicated to the saint. These groups organise night long singing of bhajans and kirtans to pay homage to Baba. Baba Ram Dev believed in the equality of all human beings, both high and low, rich and poor. He helped the down-trodden by granting them their wishes.
The Sheetla Mata Fair is held in March-April, the month of Chaitra on Krishna Paksh , in village Seel-Ki-Doongri (Jaipur). Doongri is a hillock on top of which the shrine of Sheetla Mata stands. The fair is held in her honour for a day 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.A temporary market comes up at the fair and the rural folk can be seen trading in wares such as shoes, clothes, foodstuff, utensils and agricultural implements A cattle fair is also organised during the fair.
The Shekhawati Festival held on 10th and 11th February every year is organised jointly by the State Department of Tourism, District administrations of Sikar, Jhunjhunu and Churu. Travelling on horse back, the tourists get a closer view of the countryside and the people. The festival is spread over a number of venues - Nawalgarh, Sikar, Jhunjhunu and Churu. The programmes include a one day tour of the region, camel and jeep safaris, farm visits, rural games, cultural programmes, haveli competitions and fireworks.
Hill Station of the Rajasthan in a festive mood with the Summer Festival, held every year in the month of June. The festival begins with the singing of a ballad which is followed by folk dances which enthral the spectators. Sporting events such as the boat race on the Nakki lake add variety to the festival. The Sham-e-Qawwali is a much-awaited musical extravaganza, as renowned qawwals from all over the country can be heard regaling the audience. The three-day festival is a feast of folk and classical music and a window to the tribal life and culture of Rajasthan.
The Urs is initiated with the hoisting of a white flag on the dargah by the Sajjada Nashin (successor representative) of Chishtis. It is done on the 25th of Jamadi-ul-Akhir (sixth lunar month), with the accompaniment of music. On the last day of the sixth month, the Jannati-Darwaza (gateway of heaven) is flung open early in the morning. People cross this gate seven times with the belief that they will be assured a place in heaven. On the 1st of Rajab, the tomb is washed with rose water and sandalwood paste and anointed with perfumes. This ritual is called ghusal. The tomb is then covered with an embroidered silk cloth by the Sajjada Nashin.At night, religious assemblies called mehfils are held in the mehfil-khana.
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