Rajasthan, which is famous all over the world for its lively fairs filled with traditional art and glorious culture, celebrates the festival of Gangaur in a traditional manner, but the procession of Gangaur in Bikaner has its own distinct beliefs and celebration. Apart from Bikaner, the procession of Gangaur happens in accordance with historic traditions in several other places like Jaipur, Kishangarh, Jodhpur. Even now, the procession of Gangaur of the royal families of yore is taken out in the royal style in these places. According to the senior litterateurs, even today people from far off places, and even local as well as foreign tourists come to witness the procession of the erstwhile royal families. They informed us that the people of the Bikaner royal family had won the Gangaur of the former royal family of Jodhpur; and it is because of this reason that the royal procession of Gangaur is taken out every year by the royal family, which starts from the fort of Joonagarh and comes till the Chautina well, and this is where the ‘khol bharai’ is done. When the Gangaur reaches the Chautina well, the ritual of water offering is done. A fair is organised here where people who visit the fair enjoy rides and other kinds of merriment.
From the time of the estate itself, the tradition of taking out the procession of Gangaur by the businessman Chaadmal Daddha’s family continues till date. On the second day of Holi, young girls become a part of it for a good suitor for them and women, especially the newly married ones worship Gangaur and pray for the happiness and well-being of their husbands and families. This festival of Gangaur is embedded in the culture of Rajasthan. In the songs of Gangaur, men pray to and worship Mother Gangaur who is an incarnation of Goddess Parvati, and also describe the ornamentation of Gangaur. With the advent of Gangaur in Bikaner, when women and young girls sing the songs of Gangaur from dawn till dusk, the passers-by cannot help but stop to hear them.
It is a legend that Gangaur comes to visit her parents’ house; and Eeshar follows her to take her back. And then finally on the Chaitra Shukla Dviteeya and Triteeya, Gangaur is bid adieu to go back to her in-laws’ place.
People associated with the Pata culture say that when Gangaur is there at her parents’ house, her relatives and neighbours sing songs to keep her happy, and they pray to the Mother for the prosperity of the country, city, family and the clan and protect them. The men also pray for the same to Mother Gavaraja in their songs. Songs of bravery are also sung with these songs. Eeshar tries to portray that he is a suitable groom for Gangaur, and that he wishes to make her his bride. In the songs, Gangaur taunts Eeshar and says, “If you even try to look at me, my sister will give you poison in the twig which you will use to clean your teeth, and my brother will give you poison in your food.” But Eeshar does not budge and finally takes his Gangaur back with him.
Songs of devotion, ornamentation, and heroism for Gangaur are also sung by men and on the final day, in the form of prasad, milk made rabade is served to Gangaur and distributed amongst everyone, and Gangaur is bid farewell with devotion.