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Published: April 20th 2005
Master of ceremony
Let's start the show
We had already missed the Holi Festival (in retrospective we admit that we were not very keen on throwing colour or being thrown colour at), we decided not to miss this one, which was said to be very lively and colourful. We immediately left the City Palace at closing hour and headed to the street where we could see best. The Gangaur Festival
celebrates the union of Lord Siva and Parvati, his heavenly consort and is a symbol of conjugal and marital happiness. People explained that it is a festival for women, married women pray for their husband’s long life and good health (a cause Klaudia embraced with all her heart) and unmarried women prayed for a good husband. We only knew that a colourful procession was going to take place and were much looking forward to it.
We have to admit that the City Council does a lot to boost tourism, as soon as a foreign tourist was spotted, they were led up to a tribune, from which they could watch well and in peace. We were warmly welcomed by a nice lady, she provided us with a red dot in the middle of the forehead and gave us
What a wonderful day to celebrate Gangaur
a leaflet, a poster and a key ring. Klaudia seated herself comfortably, but Stephan started getting all tingly and wanted to get closer to the action. Of course Klaudia did not object, she was feeling at ease there and let the artist have his way. The tourists on the tribune were treated extremely well, served welcome drinks and local sweets. When they met again after the procession, Klaudia learned that Stephan had been able to sneak into a group of professional photographers and had really been close, he even touched one of the elephants! It was still about half an hour until the beginning, and the traffic in the road below was very dense. Klaudia wondered how the police would manage to close the road, but somehow it worked, as if by a miracle. Klaudia can never stop admiring the chaos in the streets, where no traffic rules seem to exist, all and everything is transported on all kinds of vehicles, including passengers on buses or rickshaws. The roads were empty, but a huge crowd had gathered on the small strip between the two lanes, constantly rushing to and fro. Finally, the procession started and Klaudia was very excited, she
Dancing human horse
His task was to create the right mood
constantly used her binoculars and her small camera alternately.
The procession was headed by a man dressed as a horse and trying to bring the spectators into the right mood for the pretty dancers
who followed him. The first dancing group consisted of Rajasthani women, who can be recognised by black dresses adorned with very colourful ribbons and ornaments in red, white, yellow, green and blue, as well as many small mirrors. In addition to this, they wear extremely many necklaces, bangles, earrings and ankle chains and a matching scarf on their heads. When they dance, you have the skirt and the scarf whirling around them in a wonderful mixture of colours, what a lovely sight. After them, two dancers dressed in yellow and red followed, both groups were accompanied by beautifully dressed musicians, who gave the dancers the tune to dance to. Exit the dancers and musicians, entry of a single elephant which was carrying the Indian flag. This animal, as well as the group of elephants
, which came some time later, was also wonderfully decorated, its head and trunk were painted all over with flowers, even his feet and ears were painted, a coloured blanket was spread
What a powerful start
over his back and a small triangular piece of cloth full of round metal pieces was attached to its forehead. Between the elephants and the camels paraded a group of male musicians, all dressed in white with bright red turbans. Next on the list were the camels
, them also decorated mostly in red, their riders were completely clad in bright red; the bullock-carts
also displayed an astonishing red colour, also the blankets on the animals. The horses
were decorated a bit differently, their heads covered by glittering cloth. The absolute climax was the approach of Paravti’s statue
, which again was carried by men fully dressed in red and which everybody wanted to touch. Afterwards, the spectators simply dispersed into all directions.
We liked the procession very much, it was colourful and sometimes very loud, especially when several band were heard at the same time, but that’s India!
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