Festivals of Rajasthan: Teej in the Pink City

The fesitval of Sawan Teej starts tomorrow! Teej is a celebration of the beginning of the Hindu holy month of Sravan.

Sravan is celebrated throughout India under many different names, but the celebration is most extraordinary in Jaipur and is known as Teej. Starting from the Tripolia Gate of the City Palace and ending at Chaugun the traditional royal procession is led through the Tripolia Bazaar and Chhoti Chaupar on the 2nd and 3rd of August. The procession is alive with color and music and dancing as well as elephants, royal chariots and camels oh my!

During Teej there are opportunities to listen to folk music, watch elaborately dressed women perform their traditional dances, theatrical performances, eat delicious street food and visit craft bazaars.

The Jawahar Kala Kendra, the public arts centre in Jaipur, will be holding celebrations - folk and classical dance, music and theatreJuly 30th to August 3rd..

The video below captures one such duo performing a folk dance as part of the Teej festival in Jaipur 2010. Enjoy!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4y6qAkl12w

As for a bit of history: Teej, is celebrated for many purposes. For Hindu women, Teej is a fasting festival which celebrates the marital bliss that was the union between Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva. Teej is also the name of a small red insect that comes out of the soil when it rains, and thus Teej also celebrates the onset of the monsoon season and a break from the intense heat of summer. And Teej is also known as the festival of swings. Women dance and sing together in sisterhood and play on swings festoooned with flowers and hung from trees. They sing to praise the coming of the monsoon rains, and worship Goddess Parvati in hope of conjugal bliss!

   In the countryside around Savista, married women and young unmarried girls can be spotted throughout the day in groups, dressed in red bridal finery and carrying floral and fruit offerings for Parvati and Shiva and picnic hampers.  Singing together, they go to ponds, lakes or other water bodies – because Teej is also a celebration of water as the giver of life - where they perform puja (worship), sing and dance and then enjoy their picnic lunch.  Savista’ s women staff – who are all from the villages around – too, will be celebrating in this fashion!     Savista arranges for guests to join the celebrations in Jaipur city, both the processions in the walled city and the cultural programmes at the Jawahar kala Kendra.

For more specifics about the Teej Festival in Jaipur, visit: www.rajasthantravelguide.com and come join in the merriment yourself!

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