Reading Time: 3 minutesThe annual Gangaur Festival is filled with colour yet again
Song and dance, games, and great food, all add up to something. Adding colour to the mix, makes it truly extraordinary!
The Rajasthani Kutumb of Victoria Inc. (RAJKOV) hosted a vivid event in April to celebrate its annual Gangaur Mela. This fun-filled family day out was well attended by the local community and the Rajasthani diaspora.
This festival is held in Rajasthan, the Land of the Kings, on the first day of Chaitra (which is the day following Holi) and continues for 18 days. The purpose of Gangaur is to celebrate the purity and austerity of the goddess Gauri, a manifestation of Goddess Parvati. Parvati was renowned for blessing her friends with marital delight.
Kutumb, which is Hindi for ‘family’, is the underlying foundation of RAJKOV. “We invite community members to showcase and celebrate Rajasthani culture,” explained Sury Soni, President of RAJKOV.
The festival is typically aimed at women who don their best clothes and perform traditional routines. However, RAJKOV embraces a view to showcase the talents of all community members.
While senior members of the community perform Ghoomer and Gair (typical Rajasthani routines), the children dance to the more contemporary Bollywood Rajasthani songs and also to traditional folk songs.
There were many attractions on the day. The highlight was the camel ride. The beautiful animals came all the way from Cosgrove, a six-hour drive. In addition, there was henna tattoo art, rangoli floor art, a safa/turban tying workshop and competition, traditional games, contemporary shows and workshops for the children and dancing.
Nitesh Vyas, secretary of RAJKOV noted, “It is great to see the local community getting involved and enjoying the Rajasthani culture.”
Soni added, “Melburnians who come to our event get a glimpse of India and Rajasthan first-hand and look forward to the following year’s festival.”
RAJKOV has a small number of 120 families registered to its association. The committee enjoys hosting events such as Teej, Rama Sama and Diwali because it encourages participation across families in the community. Membership is steadily growing, especially as reports of the multi-coloured Gangaur fest go out each year, and parents of children growing up here realise the importance of exposing them to their cultural heritage.
“I would like to thank all the families and members who made this event something to remember,” Soni said at the end of the day.
Notable attendees included Cr Phillip Mallis of Maranoa Ward; Cr Coral Ross representing the Mayor of the City of Boroondara; Russell Berman, General Manager of Watersun Construction and Prashant Patil, Director of iChip Solutions.