FESTIVALS OF RAJASTHAN & MADHYA PRADESH

Though the states of India are formed primarily of language basis, many cultural fairs and festivals transcend these boundaries. This can be easily seen in celebration of Gangaur and Teej festivals in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. But there are some entirely region specific fairs and festivals like Pushkar Fair & Urs of Ajmer in Rajasthan. Celebration of these festivals in Rajasthan attracts a large number of foreign tourists and, thus, turns out to be a highlight of Rajasthan tourism.

Gangaur (March/April): The spring festival of Gangaur is held in honour of Gauri, the goddess throughout the preceding fortnight. Although celebrated throughout Rajasthan with great enthusiasm, the celebrations in Jaipur and Udaipur have their own charm and attractions. In the former, a procession of the goddess is taken out from the city palaces and thousands of people from the county-side throng the city to take part in it, while in the latter, a boat procession in Pichola Lake adds to the gaiety of the festival.

The Teej Festival (June/July): The Teej is mainly a women's festival held in honour of Devi (Parvati). She is worshipped in the home for two days, and is then sent out of the house with all the love and affections due to a daughter of the house when she leaves for her husband's home. This festival also celebrates the beginning of the monsoon rains, and the peasant brings their families to the cities for the occasion. Their gay customers and colour to the festival. In big towns, impressive processions, headed by richly caparisoned elephant camels and horse, are taken out.

Pushkar Fair (October/November): A fair is held by the sacred tank at Pushkar, about 11 Kms. (7 miles) from Ajmer. The tank is believed to have been created by Brahma himself. Camels and horse shows are also held.

Urs at Ajmer Sharif (October/November): One of the most important place of pilgrimage for Indian Muslims is the annual urs festival at the shrines of Khwaja Moin-Ud-Din Chishti in Ajmer, for he is regarded as the prince among the saints of India. Pious and saintly from his early life, the Khwaja pursued religious knowledge at Samarkand and Bukhara, at Iraq, Iran, Syria and Afghanistan, and finally in India. About 1190 A.D the Khwaja reached Ajmer, Where he settled down for the rest of his life. Devoted admirers, seekers of blessing as well as sceptic visitors poured into Ajmer during the 44 years of the Khwaja's life in Ajmer. It is said that even the bitterest agnostic returned from there a convert.

One of the most interesting features of the annual pilgrimage to Ajmer is that not only Muslims but even Hindus in their thousand attend the urs.



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