The women were busy greeting each other with gifts and ‘Borla’ (Rajasthani maang tika) as the stage for the festivities was made ready to begin the annual festival of ‘Gangaur Bindora’. It was a synergy of colours and festive cheer at the traditional programme organised by Agrawal Mahasabha and Agrawal Mahila Samiti on Wednesday.

Worship of Lord Shiva

More than 200 Rajasthani women gathered at the venue to celebrate the festival that commences on the first day of ‘Chaitra’, the day following Holi and continues for 16 days. “Gangaur signifies the worship of Lord Shiva and Parvati. The festival is celebrated by the women of Rajasthani families for successful married life and prosperity,” said Anita Gupta, secretary of Agrawal Mahila Samiti.

It is also a time for families to get together and exchange gifts, a practice known as ‘Sidhara’. 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 observe fast during the period and take only one meal a day.

There are about 450 Rajasthani families of Agrawal Mahasabha who have made the city their home for many decades. This is the first time that ‘Gangaur Bindora’ was being celebrated on a large scale in the community.

Dance programmes

“At a time when traditional festivals are gradually losing their lustre with an amalgamation of cultures happening across the globe, celebrating festivals like these at the community level brings the younger generation together and makes them understand the essence of our culture. They get involved in the preparations of the festival and know the meaning behind the rituals,” Anita added.

Apart from traditional puja, fun games like treasure hunt and dance programmes were presented by the women. For the youngsters, it was a chance to showcase their prowess in traditional dance performances. “This is the first time that I practiced and danced to a traditional Rajasthani song. We did rehearsals for past 10 days to perfect the steps and understand the meaning of the song,” said Chavi Saraf, a student of class 7.

She along with her friends Sakshi Agrawal and Sonal Bansal gave a dance performance on the song ‘Isardas ji’. There was a counter of traditional Rajastani dishes with an array of mouth-watering delicacies.