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Rajasthan is a land of colors and festivals. Every day is a fiesta here and every region has a number of fests, fairs, and processions which add to the culture and heritage of the entire state. A heritage and culture-filled city like Udaipur gives its visitors a lot to carry with themselves – an array of colorful memories. Not just that these are pleasing to the eyes, these fests and fairs are also great for capturing, if you’re a photo enthusiast.
These festivals are especially celebrated in Rajasthan (Udaipur). Obviously, there are a lot of nationally celebrated festivals.
One of the most colorful festivals of Udaipur is the Gangaur Festival. This fest is held two weeks after Holi every year and is visited by a large number of tourists from various parts of the world. The word ‘Gangaur’ is made up of two words- ‘Gana’ is another name for Lord Shiva and ‘Gaur’ is synonymous with Gauri or Goddess Parvati which symbolizes marital bliss.
The conviction behind the festival carries the ceremony in which the unmarried women worship ‘Gauri’ for bestowing them with a good husband, while married women do so for the welfare, health, and longevity of their husbands and a buoyant married life.
The festival begins on the first day of Chaitra, the day following Holi and continues for 18 days, typically in the month of March and April. This year it started on 2nd March and the main event is on Tuesday, 20 March 2018.
After the monsoons, in the months of September and October, the forty-days-festival “GAVRI” is celebrated by Bhil tribe in Udaipur, Rajsamand and Chittor districts of Rajasthan. The entire males of the community, even children participate in this dance-drama symbolizing a healthy environment and it intends to ensure the well-being of the community and the village.
Until Gavri concludes, these people don’t consume green-colored food, non-vegetarian food, and alcohol. In the performance, they pray to Lord Shiva and his wife, and each day the performance is set up at different locations for 5-6 hours.
When the rain comes down, spirits soar high in celebrations. Song and dance mark the gaiety of the Teej festival in the city. It is held every year during the Hindu month of Shravan and marks the advent of the monsoons. The religious significance of Teej festival lies in the devotion of Goddess Parvati for her husband Lord Shiva. It was on this day that the divine couple Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati reunited with each other after hundreds of years.
On strolling through the streets, one will find the sweet smell of “Ghevar” and “Malpuas”, these mouthwatering dishes are special in Teej revels. Women clad in Lehariya and Green sarees visit Shiva temples with extreme devotion towards their husbands.
Two days after Sheetala Ashtami, the women of Mewar observe the festival of Dashamata. On this day women deck up in traditional ornaments and clothes and adore Peepal Tree, from very early in the morning and the poojan activities stretched till afternoon.
They relate the tale of Dashamata to each other and pray for health and wealth of their family.
The festival of Sheetala Ashtami falls on the eight days of Chaitra (March) month i.e. first month in Hindi calendar. As per conventional approach, the day is generally observed on the seventh day, but at many places, it is celebrated on the eighth day of the month.
This festival is celebrated with the belief that this would prevent people from the deadly epidemics. To have more info about Sheetla Ashtami Click Here
Janmashtami is celebrated on the eighth day (Ashtami) in the month of Sravana i.e. the birthday of Natkhat Gopal. The Jagdish Mandir and Asthal Mandir are crowded with queues of devotees waiting eagerly to have a look of Lord Krishna. The most exciting event is “Matki Fod” at Jagdish Chowk.
The Dahi Handi event at Jagdish Chowk has become a prolonged custom; the Janmashtami celebration is accompanied with colorful cultural activities where many localities and foreign tourists take active participation. These activities include cultural dance, singing performances which ends with the Dadhika Matki Phod. The special attraction here at the Jagdish chowk is the performances by the tourists across the globe who sing and perform on Rajasthani Songs.
Other the mythological festivals, there are some public fests like:
Udaipur Lake Festival is planned by Rajasthan Tourism, UIT, & Municipal Corporation. This initiative of a festival was taken at the helm by seeing the immense growth in tourism. In this context only, it was decided to develop various activities in and around lakes to highlight the unique benefits of the water reservoirs.
Udaipur has witnessed three consecutive years of Lake Festival and people are excited about the coming years.
World Music Festival
From past three years, Udaipur is experiencing the Udaipur World Music Festival (UWMF) in the month of February. The festival is a three-day extravaganza and people from the entire globe flock to Udaipur to enjoy great international as well as national artists.
Conceptualized and produced by Seher, the event is free, that means no entry ticket is there. It is held, every year, at 3 different locations. The first year, people of Udaipur experienced Papon, the second year Kailash Kher and this year people experienced the music of Shankar, Ehsan, and Loy.
Udaipur has many fairs held in the city, let us have a look at some of the most famous ones.
Hariyal Amavasya Mela
‘Hariyali’ refers to greenery and ‘Amavasya’ refers to a no-moon day thus it is festival which is celebrated on a no-moon day to welcome the month of monsoon.
In the month of July-August, a fair for men and women is held for two days, the last day of the fair is usually reserved for women, at the banks of Sahelion-Ki-Bari and Fatehsagar. Shops displaying varied crafts and swings are put up; boating is organized by the municipal corporation. Women wear green colored dresses and join the festivals. The famous dish of Rabri Malpua is available in plentiful. Historically, it is believed that Maharana Fateh Singh was the first to set up this fair.
This year the tentative date of the mela is August 11 (Saturday) 2018.
Systematized by the Udaipur Municipal Corporation, this fair run for a full-fledged 10 days. The fair witnesses many cultural programs and activities at night. The fair is held before Diwali which is one of the biggest festivals of India. The fair has hundreds of shops which sell handicrafts and other products. Food stalls present in the arena give mouth-watering snacks that people can relish while at the fair. There is also a section for swings and other amusement rides.
The Diwali-Dushera Mela is held at the Town Hall for many years and the city people gather in a huge number to enjoy the fair.
To promote Khadi Gram Udyog this fair is held for 29 years and has received a considerable boost because of the continuous exhibition. It is a 15-day Khadi exhibition cum sale which is held in the Town Hall Udaipur, every year. Craftsmen and traders from across the country participate in this. This fair is a smaller one if compared to the Diwali-Dushera Mela. It witnesses almost 130 stalls and the products are dissimilar from the aforementioned fair.
Products found in the fair include leather goods, spices, woolen khadi, besides suiting-shirting, dari, jajam, khas, blankets, saris, salwar suits and so much more.
Mega Trade Fair
The Mega Trade Fair is held for 10 days every year. The fair is organized by Rajasthan Patrika around Navratri and it has a great craze among the local people. Haryana’s handloom, woolens of Himachal Pradesh and Kashmir, Saharanpur’s furniture, crockery, decorative items, terracotta items, jewelry, cosmetic products, toys and basic items of daily needs are available in this grand fair.
Earlier the venue for the fair was BN College Ground but it is now changed to Fateh High School Ground since a couple of years.
Inaugurates every year on the 21st of the month of December, this ten-day long Shilpgram Utsav witnesses over 600 folk artists from 18 states and 400 artisans who display their handicrafts over shops and stalls. The bazaar starts around 12 noon where craftsmen showcase handloom, handicraft, jute, silk, pashmina, pure wool, Kashmiri clothes, eco-friendly items and so much more.
You can have more knowledge about the Shilpgram Mahotsav Here
Processions are a part of festivals. There are some of the major processions that line the city roads, every year.
Jagannath Rath Yatra
Every year the grand Rath-Yatra is held on the Ashaad Shukla Dwitya of Vikram Samvat, as per the Hindu calendar. Udaipur holds the distinction of holding the 3rd largest Rath Yatra in India. The city has two Rath Yatras on the same day at different locations.
A wooden chariot weighing 21,000 kg including the 51kg silver plating carrying an idol of Lord Jagannath, Subhadra (his sister), Balram (his friend) is pulled by the devotees of Lord Jagannath. The Rath Yatra starts from the Jagdish Temple, near the City Palace and is moved in Jagdish Chowk, Mochiwada, Bhadbhuja Ghati, Bada Bajar, Ghanta Ghar Mandi, Marshall Chauraha, Jhiniret Chowk, Bhattiyani Chohatta, Santoshi Mata Mandir, Asthal Mandir, R.M.V.
Eid Milaad-un- Nabi or the Birthday of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is a mass celebration, consisting of a colorful procession. Milad-un-Nabi is also known as Barawafat or Mawlid.
The Birth anniversary of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) is remembered on 12th Rabi-ul-Awwal of the Islamic lunar calendar every year by all Muslim communities. More than 1 Lakh people gather and cover almost 10-15 Km of Udaipur every year. Read more about Eid Milad Here
In Udaipur, the Taziya procession, on the 10th day of Muharram is one of the most essential events that occur in Udaipur every year. Taziyas are replicas of Imam Hussain’s mausoleum and are made of wood and paper.
The first ever procession of Taziya began in Udaipur in the year 1559. Since then the procession is organized where Taziyas from several locations are carried through the city and submerged in the water. Though, since a couple of years, this ritual of submerging Taziyas is prohibited from keeping the lakes of the city clean.
Celebrated by the Keralite Hindus, the two-day long Makarvilakku festival was observed on on 13th and 14th January 2018. Normally, it coincides with three other festivals that are Makar Sankranti by Hindus, Lohadi by Sikhs and Lal Loi by Sindhis. Makarvilakku festival is related to Lord Ayyappa and his temple in Sabarimala.
The holy outing or procession of Lord Ayyappa starts from the temple in New Jyoti Nagar, Shobhagpura and wends its way through CPS school road, Bansi Pan Chouraha, Court Chouraha, Delhi Gate, Shastri Circle, Ashok Nagar, Ayad Puliya, 100 feet road and returns to the temple.
These were some of the major fairs, festivals, and processions in the City of Lakes. However, if we have missed any fair or festival or procession; you can let us know by mentioning that in the comment section below.