Jaipur with its rich and colorful culture, celebrates a variety of festivals and events that add more color to this colorful city. Being a part of these events you will get to see and learn wide array of rituals and customs being practiced here since ages…
Banganga Fair: The fair is one of the most celebrated events of Jaipur. It is an annual festival held every year on the full moon day of Vaishakh (April-May) near the historical township of Bairath in Jaipur district. The Banganga Fair takes place near a stream, approximately 11 km from the town Bairath in Jaipur district. Bairath is situated almost 85 km from the city of Jaipur.
Legend goes that Arjun, one of the Pandavas, made the rivulet. He shot an arrow to quench the thirst of dying Bhishma Pitamah, a soldier hurt in the battle of Mahabharata, and created the lake. The characteristic of this fair is that people from Alwar, Behror, Jaipur, Bharatpur and many other places come to the Banganga Fair in Jaipur to take a bath and pay homage to the holy sites in the adjoining areas. This is considered as very auspicious by the pilgrims. The devotees assemble at Shri Radha Krishnaji’s temple in the morning. It is accompanied by taking a bath at the ghats (a flight of steps leading to the water) of the Banganga river with the belief that it has powers to purify the soul. The people then move to the adjacent shrines of Hanuman and Ganga Bihari and also visit the Shiva temple and the Math of Goswamiji.
Besides religious connotation, the Banganga Fair has much more to offer to the visitors. With the commencement of the Banganga Fair traders from different corners of Rajasthan arrive here to sell their wares. A wide range of articles is sold in this fair. The whole area puts on a festive look. The cheer and hustle and bustle of the people add festive color to the total ambience. Giant wheels and merry-go-rounds thrill the children as well as the grown-ups.
Elephant Festival: The festival is a unique event held annually on the day of Holi every year and attracts visitors from all corners of the globe. There is a reference of the tradition of Hastimangala or the Elephant Festival in the Jataka stories of Buddhism. In the past, the elephants were a mark of royalty. It symbolized strength and wealth. For the Rajput kings, the elephants were of especial importance not only during the wars but also during the royal festivities-a must at royal pageant. Rajasthan Tourism revived the tradition by including the Elephant Festival in the cultural calendar.
Till today, Jaipur carries on the trend of carrying the tourists to Amber Palace on elephant back. As the name suggests, the elephants are the center of attraction in the Elephant Festival in Jaipur. The festival commences with a procession of elephants, camels and horses, accompanied by merry folk dancers. Elephant races, elephant-polo matches, elephant fights and a tug of war between elephants and men are part of this spectacular event. The elephants move graciously in procession, run races, play the regal game of polo, and finally participate in the spring festival of Holi. In a nutshell, it is the festival time for the elephants.
Gangaur Festival: The festival in Jaipur is very famous and is one of the most important and widely celebrated traditional festivals of Rajasthan.
The Gangaur Festival is devoted to Goddess Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva. This festival starts on the day following Holi and continues for about 2 weeks. This festival is done in the honor of ‘Gauri’ who is considered as the symbol of virtue and fidelity and a mythological role model of married women. The married women worship Gauri for the welfare of their husbands while the single girls worship her for being blessed with a spouse of their choice.
The Gangaur Festival starts with the rite of accumulating ashes from the Holika Dahan (Holi Fire) and burying seeds of wheat and barley in it. The seeds are watered regularly after that until the germination takes place. This ritual is accompanied with the songs praising Ishwar and Gauri and the carrying of painted water pots on women heads. Unmarried girls overshoot singing songs of ghudlia while carrying earthen pots having numerous holes all around with a lamp lit aside on their hands on the evening of the 7th day after Holi. They also gather small gifts like cash, sweets, jaggery, ghee, oil etc on their way. All these rituals are carried on while chanting hymns to the Goddess.
The festival continues for 18 days ending with the arrival of Lord Shiva to escort his bride home. This is accompanied by a grand procession with the idol of Gauri beautifully placed in gold and silver palanquin, dressed up elephants, camels, horses, dances, drummers & joyous children, who run through the city streets. The procession closes with the girls breaking their pots and casting off all the consignment into a tank or a pond.
Jaipur Heritage International Festival: The Jaipur Heritage International Festival is one of the most happening festivals in Rajasthan. It attracts tourists from all the corners of the world. This festival is a community enterprise, backed up by the Governments of India and Rajasthan, moved individuals and corporate companies and organized by a group of committed citizens and professionals.
The Jaipur Heritage International Festival draws foreign visitors to the region and provides a platform for a perfect linkage between the local and the global. Step into the a magical land scattered with desert carpets, dotted with palaces and awe inspiring forts as you experience the splendors of the Jaipur Heritage International Festival. This festival goes on for two weeks. Rajasthan crafts, arts and folk traditions are exhibited in a big way here. Participants from all over the Western world are seen commixing with local Jaipur craftsmen at the Jaipur Heritage International Festival.
The grand festival showcases Rajasthan as a global brand and provides a platform to the local craftsman to display their talents.
Jaipur Vintage Car Rally: The Jaipur Vintage Car Rally is increasingly becoming popular among the car owners who have a flair for adventure. The enthusiastic sports lovers, paramours of vintage beauty and the tourists are increasingly getting attracted to this event.
The great car rally occurs annually in the month of January. What is to be seen here is the congregation of old model cars of the yesteryears. Some of the most popular vintage car models that come to participate in this annual event are the Humber of 1903, the Fiat 501 of the year 1923, the Mercedes Benz 170V of 1936, the Morris 8 of 1938, the 1923 Austin and the Erskine of 1923. Another interesting thing to note about this event is that the vintage cars are available on hire for occasions like marriages and joy rides.
The event is a matter of prestige for all the vintage car owners and the participants. The good thing about the cars is that they are still in a very usable condition and it is always a treat to go in for a drive in such cars as it offers you with a dignity and adds a charm to your appearance.
Generally the cut off year for vintage cars in abroad is taken after the First World War. But in India, a car is considered to be a vintage if it has been manufactured before the year 1939. All the cars manufactured after 1939 fall under the category of Classic cars. Also, in India, it is not allowed to export or import vintage or classic cars. Therefore, the number of old cars in India always remains constant.
From being associated with prestige, the car rally also gives you glimpses of the by gone years of the European rule in India, especially The British.
Kite Festival: The Kite Festival in Jaipur is one of the major events here. Enthusiasts of all age take part in this annual festival. Held every year on the eve of Makar Sankranti on 14th of February, the Kite Festival is held with great pomp and show.
The special kite event has got neither any historical relation nor any mythological connotation. It is just a revival of the age old tradition of India of flying kites. Kite Festival is celebrated on the eve of Makar Sankranti. This day is generally a kite day not only in Jaipur but throughout India. People from all age group take part in flying kites. The sky wears on a festive look as the kites of different colors and shapes fly in the air. This festival goes on for three days.
The Kite Festival is characterized by two kinds of celebrations. The first is the Fighter Kite Competition and the other is the more sober Display Flying and there are prestigious trophies to be won in both categories. The participants are also provided with delicious dinner in the evenings at exotic location during the running of the festival. The venue for the Kite Festival changes on the last day of the festival. It shifts to the exquisite lawns of the Umaid Bhawan Palace, the royal residence of the Maharaja of Jodhpur. Prize distribution ceremony, the valedictory function, and a farewell dinner with the Maharaja are followed after the completion of the finals of the Fighter Kite Competition and the final judging of the Display Kites.
Teej Festival in Jaipur: The festival is one of the most renowned and celebrated festivals of Jaipur. This festival is held every year during the monsoons between July to August. The Teej Festival is dedicated to Lord Shiva and Parvati.
It is celebrated with great pomp and show. This festival draws visitors from round the globe. Married women pray for a happy and long married life during this festival. The celebration takes place all over Rajasthan. But it is particularly colorful in Jaipur.
The Teej Festival generally revolves around singing and dancing in praise of Parvati. This festival also gives the women an opportunity to feast, to dress in the best of cloths, finery and jewelry. This festival is even celebrated in the remote villages of Rajasthan. Jhoolas (swings) are hung from trees and adorned with leaves and flowers. Ladies and girls can be seen enjoying on these swings, playing games, singing folk songs and applying Mehendi on their palms. Lehariya dresses are quite common on this day and ‘Ghewar’ is the popular dessert of the day. Girls going to get married receive ‘shrinjhara’ from her in-laws on this day that comprises of shringar , henna, lac bangles, lehariya saris and a sweet called Ghewar.