Ganagor, local form of goddess Parvati, consort of god Shiva. Pigment and varnish on wood; 71 cm x 24 cm. Rajasthan. c. mid 20th century. 84/6727.

The Ganagor festival1 in Rajasthan is celebrated by women in honour of Gouri, the goddess of abundance and consort of Shiva, by women during “the vernal equinox, when nature in these regions proximate to the tropic is in the full expanse of her charms and the matronly Gouri casts her golden mantle over the beauties of the verdant Vassanti (personification of spring).”

The meaning of Gouri is ‘yellow’, emblematic of the ripened harvest, when the votaries of the goddess adore her effigies, which are those of a matron painted the colour of ripe corn; and though her image is represented with only two hands, in one of which she holds the lotus… yet not unfrequently they equip her with the warlike conch, the discus, and the club, to denote that the goddess, whose gifts sustain life, is likewise accessory to the loss of it….”

The rites commence when the sun enters Aries (the opening of the Hindu year), by a deputation to a spot beyond the city, ‘to bring earth for the image of Gouri’. When this is formed, a smaller one of Iswara is made, and they are placed together; a small trench is then excavated in which barley is sown; the ground is irrigated and artificial heat supplied till the grain germinates, when the females join hands and dance round it, invoking the blessings of Gouri on their husbands. The young corn is then taken up, distributed, and presented by the females to the men who wear it in their turbans.”

1. Also see Cat. No. IV/4
2. Tod, 1957, Vol. I, p.454
3.Ibid, p.454-5
4. Ibid, p.455

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