Rajasthanis enjoy spring festival of Gangaur at Bhartiya Hindu Temple in Philadelphia



Procession carrying the idols at the Gangaur spring festival celebration April 6, 2024, at Bhartiya Hindu Temple in Philadelphia. Seen in photo are Parmeshwar Soni, Nawal Todi, Kajal Kamla Kanwar , Dr.Ravi Murarka, Rajesh Bagdi. PHOTOS: Courtesy organizers

Gangaur, one of the most important festivals of Rajasthan celebrating spring as well as marital bliss, was held at the Bhartiya Hindu Temple in Philadelphia April 6, 2024.

The Temple has been celebrating this festival for the last 15 years, according to a press release received from organizers.

Women offer Isarji (Lord Shiva) and Maa Gauri (Mata Parvati) who symbolize Saubhagya, or good fortune.

Some of the attendees at the Gangaur festival of Rajasthan held April 6, 2024, in Philadelphia’s Bhartiya Hindu Temple. Seen in photo, Sharad Agarwal Dr. Ravi Murarka, Leena Gupta, Vijay Singhal, Pooja Singhal (wheel chair), and Shashi Agarwal. PHOTO: organizers

Rajasthan natives Nand and Shashi Todi, Dr. Ravi and Kusum Murarka, Umesh and Vandana Tambi, Pankaj and Shweta Ajmera, along with members of the Rajasthani community play an important role in ensuring the spirit of Gangaur remains alive in the hearts and minds of thousands of Indian Americans.

This year’s celebration was attended by several local dignitaries, as well as Prem Bhandari, president of Rajasthan Association of North America, NY, Tarang Soni, president of ROAR, NJ, Mukesh Modi, film producer and director, NY,  Mayor Jeanne Sorg of Ambler Township, Tammy Bamford, supervisor of Montogomery Township, and volunteers from SEVA USA.

Eco-friendly, ornately decked-up wooden idols of Gaur and Isar ji arrived at the Bhartiya Temple on the April 2. In an effort to boost local craftsmanship and to preserve the States cultural heritage, hand crafted idols carved by local Jodhpur craftsman,  Prahlad Kumawat of Nanda Ri Chauraha, had been flown to the Bhartiya Hindu Temple.

The April 6 celebrations commenced around 2pm EST with women performing the traditional Gaur-Isar pooja ritual and participating in Shobha yatra carrying the idols on their shoulders, singing and dancing to traditional folk songs.

Attendees enjoying the Gangaur spring festival of Rajasthan April 6, 2024. Seen in picture Vandana Tambi, Ruchi Sharma,Tanya Bamford, Supervisor Montgomery Township, Jeanne Sorg, Mayor of Ambler, Arpita Tambi, Kusum Murarka, Sonia Jain. PHOTO: organizers

Mayor Sorb and Supervisor Bamford joined in carrying the idols on their shoulders and walking barefoot during the procession.

Dr. Ravi Murarka, who has seen the festival over the years, noted that this year’s idols were larger in size than previous ones. Bejeweled idols of Ishar ji and Maa Gauri were dressed elaborate red, customized dhoti-kurta and lehnage- blouse respectively! Delicate Zari work on the garments were done by local Rajasthani craftsmen.

Men in traditional Rajasthani garb pose for a picture at the April 6, 2024, Gangaur festival held at Bhartiya Hindu Temple in Philadelphia. PHOTO: organizers

Following the puja, attendees enjoyed dancing to traditional folk songs and music, many of them dressed in Rajasthani attire. Men were dressed in traditional kurta-payjama and wore the signature multi-colored Rajasthani Safas on their heads. Women performed the traditional Ghoomer dance along with numerous other folk-dance numbers. Live dhol-taasha and drumbeats enhanced the joyous celebrations.

At the Bhartiya Temple, volunteers cooked fresh delicacies the aroma of which filled the air! Participants also volunteered to sign-up for different food items notably daal-baati-churma, bajre ka khichda, gatte ki sabzi, etc. showcasing the closeness within the community.

This year’s Gangaur was extra special as the community also celebrated Rajathan Divas, commemorating the 75th year of the State’s formation. School kids presented their research on the glory of Rajasthan; Nandini Goswami tantalized everyone’s taste buds with her presentation on the ‘Foods of Rajasthan’; Aarushi Sharma took people on a tour of the Pink City, Jaipur; Nevaan talked about the ‘Business Maharajas of Rajasthan’; Rushnak spoke about the ‘Forts and Temples of the State’; and  Aayansh took a historical journey to speak about Veer Maharana Pratap.



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