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iXiGOers Apr 12 2013

What can you tell me about Mewar festival in Udaipur?

Nitin Gurha Apr 12 2013
0 people found this answer useful Useful ?Yes

Eras come, dynasties rule and then get layered with the next epoch, seemingly out of existence. What is missed out on is the gradual and inevitable osmosis of cultural traditions that seep in through the tiers of ages only to continue on in full glory to this day. Mewar festival is one such festival when the vibrant, multi-coloured cultural traditions of Udaipur come alive and resonate throughout the city. An ancient cultural festival and the Udaipur equivalent of Gangaur festival celebrated at the same time throughout the state of Rajasthan, Mewar festival essentially is a grand welcoming in of spring with all the hallmarks of a Rajasthani celebration.

A festival particularly close to women’s heart , you will find the streets full of women bedecked in traditional colourful saris, adorned with elaborate jewellery, not just taking part in all the festivities but the center of all gala. Held over a course of three days, Mewar festival not only lays out the proverbial red carpet for spring but is also an occasion for married women to honour and pray for their marital relationship as well as for unmarried women and girls to pray for their perfect partner.

Earmarking the last three days of the 18 days long Gangaur festival in Udaipur, Mewar festival is when the entire city is decked up in festoons and streets resonate with traditional folk songs and erupt with sudden dancing corteges bearing idols of Lord Isar, an avatar of Lord Shiva, and Goddess Gauri, his consort, symbolizing marital bliss and a hope for the same for themselves. The idols are usually made of clay and at times wood, painted and adorned in colorful wear and ornaments. Carried aloft amidst a great deal of singing and dancing, the idols are initially taken out to a step well or well or water tank, placed there for two days and then on the third final day immersed in the water body.

While the entire city and every house carries out this ritual in their respective neighbourhood, the one to watch out for is by the banks, or Gangaur ghat as its called, of Lake Pichola.

It’s here where the entire city eventually congregates dressed up in every shade of the color spectrum and the festivities reach their zenith. Past the royal arches of City Palace from the turrets of which erstwhile Mewar kings would enjoy the vibrant processions and regale, with bagpipes playing in the background, camels with riders beating a steady tattoo on drums, head out to Lake Pichola’s Bansi ghat where boats are adrift with men and women dancing to the beats of traditional folk songs and one floating dais with women dancing around the images of Lord Isar and Goddess Gauri. Called the royal Gangaur boat procession, the boats then head out to Gangaur ghat late in the evening where the idols are immersed.

You might think that the immersion of idols marks the festival’s finale. Far from it, the celebrations of Mewar festival take on a new crescendo with the immersion and a number of cultural events are held usually at Bharitya lok kala mandal, giving a unique experience of Udaipur’s multi-coloured cultural tapestry. Not to be missed, are performances of Ghoomra and Tehra Taal dance forms amongst many others that take place.

A number of mythological enactments, sword dances and comedy acts are held as well. There is a fun-filled Best Rajasthani dressed foreign couple competition aimed at foreign nationals and a unique way of making the spellbound foreign tourists a part of the carnival.

Culminating the Mewar festival are fireworks sent whizzing out into the night sky on the third and final day of this festival, a fitting uproarious finale to this gala event.

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