Swings hung on the branches of large trees, decorated with flowers, and women taking turns to swing on them joyously. Convoys of decorated elephants, horses and camels. Folk dances being performed to the loud tunes of traditional songs. The celebratory vibe is all over and the rich culture of Rajasthan has come alive in the festival of Teej!
After the oppressive summer heat, the Teej festival is celebrated in and around Rajasthan to welcome the rain gods. It is believed that the festival is named after the small red insect, 'teej', that emerges from the soil during the rains. Depending upon the lunar cycle, the dates of Teej festival change every year. Of late, the festival is also celebrated in other parts of India, apart from Rajasthan. It is celebrated in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab and Bihar. However the best place to experience the festivities is in Jaipur. The Pink City is decorated like a young bride, fairs are held and processions are taken out from Tripolia Gate. They pass through various markets and finally culminate at Chaugan Stadium.
Commemorating Goddess Parvati's union with Lord Shiva after a long separation, the festival is also celebrated for the well being of one's spouse and for marital bliss. It is said that if you worship Parvati on this day, your desire will be fulfilled. A combination of sumptuous feasts and rigid fasting, the festival spans three days, celebrating the victory of a wife's love for and devotion towards her husband.
Adorning themselves with henna, jewels and a traditional 'lahariya' (multi-layered) sari gifted by their parents, married women look their best for the celebration. Accompanied by chanting and hymns, a royal procession of Teej Mata, bedecked in red and gold clothing, winds its way through the lanes of Jaipur. Chariots, decorated farm animals, brass bands and folk dancers follow the march. With the winging, singing and dancing, Teej is not only a religious festival but also a time for renewal and rejuvenation with the advent of new season. So, as the scorching heat finally bids adieu, wecome the 'saawan ke jhule' and enjoy swinging in the monsoon this Teej.