Gangaur Puja and festival is dedicated to Shiva and Goddess Parvati. It is a celebration of the arrival of spring, harvest and also the marriage of Shiva and Parvati. Gangaur 2023 date is March 24. The festival is mainly observed in Rajasthan. Today it is also observed in parts of Gujarat and Nimar and Malwa region in Madhya Pradesh that has its border with Rajasthan. It is observed on the third day of the Shukla Paksha or waxing phase of moon in Chaitra month (March – April). The 16-day vrat associated with Gangaur Festival began on March 8, 2023.
In some regions the rituals associated with Gangaur is observed for five days starting from Chaitra Shukla Paksha Tritiya. Various pujas and offering are done on these days.
Gana is one among the numerous names of Shiva and Gaur is the name of Parvati or Gaur. The main puja on the day is dedicated to Gangaur Mata (Ma Parvati) and Isharji (Shiva).
An 16 day vrat and rituals beginning from the first day of Chaitra Month is observed for Gangaur.
Married and unmarried girls observe the rituals. Married women perform it for the welfare of their husbands and families and unmarried women perform it for good husbands.
Goddess Parvati had done intense penance to get Lord Shiva as her husband. The puja and ritual is based on this divine event.
How to do Gangaur Puja?
The elaborate 16-day vrat begins on Chaitra Krishna Paksha Pratipada, or the first day during the waning phase or dark phase, in Chaitra month as per traditional Hindu lunar calendar followed in North India.
Married and unmarried women who participate in the ritual offer worship to Gangaur Mata idol for 16 days.
Special Area for Puja
A special area is designated for the puja is measured as a square measuring 24 ungal x 24 ungal (one ungal is equal to breadth of four fingers or a palm). The place is decorated using turmeric powder (haldi), chandan, kapur, kesar etc.
Growing Wheat – Jawaras
Wheat is sown in two small pots on the first day of the vrat and it is allowed to grow for 16 days. This grown grass is known as Jawaras and it is used during puja on the final day and it is distributed as Prasad to friends and relatives. The mud and remaining jawaras is put under a tree.
Pots, utensils for puja and mud for making idol of Gangaur Mata is brought from the local potter.
Women collect flowers early in the morning and do puja to Gangaur Mata with flowers and milk. The flowers are dipped in the milk and offered to Goddess.
The daily puja thali consists of dahi, water, supari and other puja items.
The main offering to Mata includes bangles, mahavar, sindhoor, roli, mehandi, tika, bindi, kanga, mirror, kajal etc. An item is offered daily.
A sweet dish like kheer is offered when possible. Local traditional and seasonal dishes are made and offered to the Goddess.
On one of the puja days, the women, or girl, undertaking the vrat invites 16-married women and offer 16 shringar items (comb, kajal, mirror, bangles, bindi etc). They are also given a sumptuous meal on the day.
Women and girls decorate their hands and feet with mehandi designs on the previous day of Gangaur known as Sinjara.
Immersion of Gangaur Mata
The idol is immersed in water on the Chaitra Shukla Paksha Tritiya, or the third day during the waxing phase of moon – on the Gangaur Puja day.
The place where the murti is worshipped in known as Gangaur ka pihar and where the murti is immersed is known as Sasural (the home of husband).
Gangaur Mela in Rajasthan
Gangaur Melas are held during the period. The most important day is the Gangaur Puja day on Chaitra shukla paksha Tritiya.
The highlight of the day is the procession of the murti of Goddess Parvati. In Jaipur in Rajasthan the main procession begins at the Zanani-Deodhi (female section) of the City Palace. It then passes through Tripolia Bazaar, Chhoti Chaupar, Gangauri Bazaar, Chaugan stadium and finally ends near Talkatora.
Similar Vrats Based on the Goddess Parvati
Hartalika Teej in Bhadrapad Shukla Paksha Tritiya (August – September and Karva Chauth during Kartik Krishna Paksha Chaturthi (October – November) are similar vrats dedicated to Goddess Parvati.
Teej in North India and Gauri Vrat in Gujarat is also based on the story of Goddess Parvati.
Saubhagya Sundari Teej Vrat observed during the waxing phase of moon in Chaitra and Margashirsh month is another important vrat with a similar theme.
Other rituals observed on the day are:
Saubhagya Sundari Teej.
Soubhagya Gauri Vrat