Payer (puja) plate
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diya

GUJARAT

Gujarat also spelled Gujrat and sometimes Gujarath. (Guzarat is a Western phonetic corruption, and is not considered an official term). Gujarat contains many of the former Princely states of India, and is the second-most industrialized state in the Republic of India after Maharashtra. Gujarat borders Pakistan, and the states of Rajasthan to the north-east, Madhya Pradesh to the east, Maharashtra and the Union territories of Diu, Daman, Dadra and Nagar Haveli to the south. The international border with Pakistan is to the north-west. The Arabian Sea makes up the state's western coast. Its capital, Gandhinagar is a planned city. It is located near Ahmedabad, the former state capital and the current commercial center of Gujarat.(Wikipedia)

Festivals of Gujarat

International Kite Festival in Gujarat

INTERNATIONAL KITE FESTIVAL

Time: January

Duration: One Day

Location: Ahmedabad

Description:

This festival is also known as Uttarayan (known as Makar Sakranti in other parts of India). On this day, the sun starts to travel northwards marking the decline of winter. A feeling of anticipation, joy and jubilation grips all who celebrate the occasion of thanksgiving and merry-making. This festival is celebrated on January 14, when the sky change colors like a rainbow in a glittering sun after the rain and bask in the glory of Uttarayan, when the skies of Gujarat give way to colorful kites. In Gujarat, Uttarayan is a holiday when every family can be met outdoors. People of all ages fly kites from dawn to dusk. There are crowded rooftops, fun-loving rivalry to outdo each other in kite flying skills and delicious traditional Gujarati feast throughout the day.

The excitement of the festival continues even after dark. There are illuminated box kites, often in a series strung on one line, to be launched into the sky. Known as tukkals, these kites add a touch of splendor to the dark sky. The day is marked with the traditional food/delicacy festival of Gujarat like the undhiyu (a delicacy of vegetables), jalebi (sweets), til ladoo (sweets made of sesame seeds) and chikki for the guests from different parts of world. Every year, people from different countries come together to be a part of the International Kite Festival.

Navratri in Gujarat

NAVRATRI FESTIVAL

Time: March, October

Duration: Nine Days

Location: Ahmedabad, Gujarat

Description:

The Navratri festival is celebrated for nine nights and is observed twice a year, once in the beginning of summer in March and again at the onset of winter in october. It begins on the first day of Ashwina of the bright fortnight. Seeds are sown, sprouting is watched- a sign of prosperity and abundance. Most people consider it the best time of the year to undertake or start new ventures. The festival ends on the Dussera day, when artisans worship their instruments, agriculturists their ploughs, warriors their weapons and students their books.

This festival is celebrated twice a year because the beginning of summer and the beginning of winter are two very important junctures of climatic change and solar influence. These two junctions have been chosen as the sacred opportunities for the worship of the divine power because of two reasons.
(1) We believe that it is the divine power that provides energy for the earth to move around the sun, causing the changes in the outer nature and that this divine power must be thanked for maintaining the correct balance of the universe.
(2) Due to the changes in the nature, the bodies and minds of people undergo a considerable change, and hence, we worship the divine power to bestow upon all of us enough potent powers to maintain our physical and mental balance.

Navaratri is divided into sets of three days to adore different aspects of the supreme goddess. On the first three days, the Mother is invoked as powerful force called Durga in order to destroy all our impurities, vices and defects. The next three days, the Mother is adored as a giver of spiritual wealth, Lakshmi, who is considered to have the power of bestowing on her devotees the inexhaustible wealth. The final set of three days is spent in worshipping the mother as the goddess of wisdom, Saraswati. Together, the three goddesses are worshipped as the feminine equivalent of the Hindu Holy Trinity.

The highlights of the festival are the extremely colorful dances of Garbha and Dandiya-Rasa during which, both men and women dressed in the traditional attires of dhoti-kurta (traditional Indian attire worn by men folk, comprising a long shirt and a long flowing garment worn over the lower part of the body), and chania-choli (mirror-work skirts and blouses), put up stunning performances to the vibrant rhythm of music. These dances are performed around the traditionally decorated terracotta pot called the garbi that has a small diya (lamp) burning inside signifying knowledge, or light meant to dissipate the ignorance, or darkness, within.

Tarnetar festival in Gujarat

TRINETRESHWAER MAHADEV FAIR

Time: August-September

Duration: Three Days

Location: Temple of Shiva, Gujarat

Description:

The Tarnetar Fair is one of the most important fairs of Gujarat. Various tribes like the Kolis, the Rabaris, the Bharwards, the Khants, the Khanbis, the Charans and the Kathis, get together to celebrate the famous legendary marriage of Draupadi with Arjuna. Arjuna was the third of the five Pandavas of Hastinapur, who got married to Draupadi - the princess of this region, in the great Hindu epic, the Mahabharata.

This fair is held every year on the 4th, 5th and 6th day of the Shukla Paksha, August-September in Tarnetar. Also known as the Trinetreshwer Mahadev Fair, this three-day festival is held at the 14th century Temple of Shiva (Destroyer in the Hindu Holy Trinity of Creator-Preserver-Destroyer), or Trinetreshwer (Three-Eyed God) who is also popularly known as Tarnetar.

This fair represents a unique synthesis of folk music, folk art and color. It highlights the true folk nature of the fair with folk dances like the Rasada (a Gujarati folk dance), performed by hundreds of women moving gracefully in a single circle to the accompaniment of four drums and jodja pava (double flutes). People are mesmerized by bhajans and kirtans (devotional songs) to the tune of folk instruments such as khartals, pakhawaj, dhol and tabla (a range of Indian percussion instruments).The fair has a a number of other attractions too like food tables, cattle show, competitive sports and exhibitions of embroidery. The most distinctive feature is the famous Tarnetar Chhatri (umbrella) embroidered by the bachelors to attract the attention of unmarried girls. These are decorated with extensive mirror work, embroidery and delicate lacework. This fair, a major tourist attraction in Gujarat, symbolizes the rich heritage of Saurashtra and draws thousands of visitors from various parts of the country and abroad.