“Gangaur” is a combination of the names of two personalities who are revered as “Adi Dampati” (the first couple) and who are loved and worshipped as the universal mother and father. The two names that “Gangaur” is made up of are, “Gana” representing Lord Shiva and “Gaur” referring to goddess Gauri (Parvati).
The festival of Gangaur is celebrated on Tritiya (third day) of Shukla paksha (waxing phase of the moon) in the month of Chaitra. It is widely celebrated in the states of Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana and Karnataka. In Andhra Pradesh, the festival is celebrated as Soubhagya Gauri Vrat.
Significance of Gangaur festival:
• The festival is celebrated ranging from 1 day to 1 month in different parts of the country.
• It marks the celebration of the marriage of goddess Parvati with Lord Shiva, her visit to her maternal home and the journey back to her husband's place.
• It is believed that goddess Parvati visits her paternal home and stays there for 1 month during this period. On the day of Gangaur festival, Lord Shiva visits their house to take goddess Parvati back to his abode.
• Married women offer special prayers to goddess Parvati for happiness and harmony in their marital lives.
• Unmarried women worship goddess Parvati during this festival to be blessed with good husbands.
• In certain parts of Rajasthan, it is also celebrated as the harvest festival representing abundance.
Appropriate way to celebrate Gangaur festival:
• Women collect ash from the (made out of the effigy of Holika and combustible wood), mix it with mud and sow wheat and barley in that mixture. The mud is then watered everyday till the festival of Gangaur allowing the germination of seeds.
• In several parts of Rajasthan, women decorate their hands and feet with mehendi designs.
• Devotees who wish to observe Gangaur festival, need to wake up early in the morning, take an early morning bath and worship Lord Shiva and goddess Parvati.
• If possible, make clay images of Lord Shiva and goddess Parvati. Then, worship the clay deities with devotion and offer ghee lamps, incense, sweets and flowers.
• Keep a fast till the evening puja.
• Make sure to use red clothes and red flowers in the worship of goddess Parvati.
• Usually, the deity of goddess Parvati is taken out on a procession accompanied by women carrying earthen pots (with holes) and lamps (lit) inside the pots.
• At the end of the procession or after the completion of the puja, immerse the deities in the water in a nearby lake/ pond/ river or well. If the same is not possible, leave the deities respectfully in a nearby temple of Lord Shiva/ goddess Durga.
Stotra to be recited to please goddess Gauri (Parvati):
Oh goddess Parvati, you are the auspiciousness of all that is auspicious and the consort of Lord Shiva. You grant all the desires and are the mother of the three worlds. Oh fair-complexioned goddess and the one endowed with the potency of Lord Narayana, I seek refuge in you and offer my obeisances to you.
• Gangaur festival is also known as Gauri Utsav.
This year, Gangaur falls on 2nd April. OnlineTemple.com wishes you all a very happy Gauri Tritiya/ Gangaur. May the devotee couples be blessed with happy and harmonious marital lives and may the single devotees find the right partners and lead happy lives!