Festivals In Rajasthan

 

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Festivals of Rajasthan

The landscape certainly does not inspire. As it stretches for miles and countless miles all around it is apparent that the one thing the desert does not have is colour. The sands drift a bleached blond, and the scrub cover is straggly, and when there are flowers, they are a dull shade of white or yellow, with the exception of the flame of the forest that blooms hidden in the forests of the Aravallis.

Yet, the Thar, and with it all of Rajasthan, is known as the most colourful desert in the world. Festivals and celebrations, music and dance punctuate its barrenness, turning the land into a fertile basin of colour and creativity.

Gangaur Fair

What is it that has inspired these people to live their life with such verve and passion? Was it an attempt to overcome the harshness of the desert conditions that let them to celebrate in such overwhelming style? Did the fact that life itself was unpredictable lend an edge of gaiety to the manner in which they lived? Or was it all of these?

In Rajasthan these are mere questions, for only colour is a reality, as it the zest with which the people make their journey through life. It festivals are a source for lavish enjoyment, so are marriages. Pageantry is a part of the daily ritual, manifest in the way the ment and women dress, resplendent in their raiments where the colours never seem to cease. Silver and gold glint at elbow and ankle, jewels twinkle at nose and neck; veils and turbans use bold, passionate colours to liven up the landscape; these is a sense of both flamboyance and coquetry. Men, no less ritually adorned than women, can vie with their women on the amount of jewellery they sport.

Each region in Rajasthan has its own form of folk entertainment, the tribals contributing no little measure to it. In most parts, entertainment is provided by professional communities of whose livelihood depends on it, and who have evolved their respective arts into fine forms. Certainly the patronage of the royel families helped to support the entertainers, but there was also the Rajasthani ideals of the person who was equally appreciative of the arts as of swordsmanship. According to a popular couplet, only a man sensitive to music, landscape, appearance, wine, poetry and painting was worthy being called a true aristocrat. (Rag, baag, pashak, madh, kavita aus tasvir, Jo yaanki parakh kare beene kahe amir.)

Women In Traditional Dress

Celebrations in Rajasthan range from the religious to the popular, linked with commerce, as in the case of the camel and cattle fairs. In more recent years, the tourism department too has initiated a number of tourist fairs in an attempt to showcase the performing arts of a region. Amazingly, though the soil throbs with the sounds of celebration, its vibrant chords require little sophistry apart from the simple, unsophisticated instruments that include the ravanhatha ( a stringed instrument), the morchang (a Jewish harp), the bankia (trumpet), algoza (twin flutes), the duff (tambourine), and the amazingly innocuous matka (earthen pitcher) which is flipped over to play the most amazingly mesmeric beat that resounds with the pulse of Rajashtan.

 
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