Gauri(Gowri in Marathi) Puja is performed in many households during Ganesh Chaturthi festival especially in Maharashtra. Goddess Gauri or Gowri is another name for Goddess Parvati, the mother of Ganesha.
But in Gauri Puja during Vinayaka Chaturthi in certain parts of Maharashtra, especially in Pune, Goddess Gauri is the sister of Ganapati. Arrival of Goddess Gauri in homes is said to bring health, wealth, happiness and prosperity. Two idols of Goddess Gauri are brought home and worshipped and the arrival is regarded as the coming of the sisters of Ganesha by some communities. Some people believe that it is Goddess Parvati, mother of Ganesha.
The idols of Gauri are brought usually two days after the beginning of Ganesh Chaturthi. It is placed for three days – first day is the avahana, next day it is Satyanarayan puja and on the third day Gauri is immersed in water. Gauri Puja is also considered as Upasana of Goddess Lakshmi in some regions.
Many Hindus might raise an eyebrow when they hear Gauri as sister of Ganesha. A Gauri Puja is held the day before or on Ganesh Chaturthi in Karnataka and in it Gowri is the mother of Ganesha. In West Bengal, Goddess Lakshmi and Goddess Saraswati are sisters of Ganesha and all three are children of Goddess Durga.
Each region in India has an independent culture and most of these cultures are 5000 years old. Each region has developed its on way of interpreting the deities. But what is common in all regions is the basic idea – all idols are an attempt to give form to the Nirguna Parabrahman. Brahman cannot be defined but each individual has the freedom to make an attempt to define in it. The greatness of Sanatana Dharma lies in this freedom, respecting an individual’s quest to define Brahman and not in imposing ideas.
Significance & Ritual of Gauri Pujan in Maharashtra
Gauri Pujan is the festival of worshiping Goddess Parvati celebrated by Maharashtrians. It is also celebrated in few other places near Maharashtra. Know about the features of this festival which makes it unique. On the day of Gauri Pujan all Maharashtrian women stay awake the whole night and play traditional games like Zhimma and Phugdi. Read on to find more about how Gauri Pujan festival is celebrated.
Festivals have a special importance in life of every individual. People from all the religions celebrate their festivals in their own way. One such festival is Gauri Pujan which resembles some Hindu festivals but has its own unique features. Parvati mother of Lord Ganesh is also known as Gauri. Gauri Pujan is all about worshiping Goddess Parvati or Gauri.
It is celebrated mainly in Maharashtra. It falls during the fourth or fifth day of Ganesh Chaturthi. It is regarded as the festival of Maharastrian women. It is the only time in a year when women enjoy themselves along with their friends. This Puja is very well known in Maharashtra as ‘Mangala Gauri’. According to Hindus Mangala means holy and auspicious. To know more about this holy celebration read on.
Bringing Gauri Idol or Image Home
Just like Ganesh idol, Gauri idol is brought one day before Gauri Pujan or along with Ganesh idol. Gauri is brought home in form of the idol or a simple image on a paper. In Maharashtra most of the families bring Gauri idols but in some villages near Maharashtra people prefer to worship an image of Goddess Gauri. Most of the Maharastrians bring Gauri idol exclusively during Gauri Pujan day during Ganesh Chaturthi. There are some people who bring an image of Goddess Gauri on the day of Ganesh Chaturthi itself.
It is believed by most of the devotees that the holy rays come out of the Gauri image or idol during the period of Gauri Pujan which puts end to sufferings. Gauri Pujan also brings prosperity and well being to the mankind. Some people also worship the images of Lord Shiva and Goddess Gauri during Ganesh Chaturthi. This is done with the view of paying respect to the parents of Lord Ganesh.
Dressing up Gauri
If the devotees bring idol they drape the idol with a very fine and colourful sari. The devotees also decorate the idol with the jewellery like green bangles, mangalsutra, nose-ring, necklace etc. mangalsutra and green bangles are the most important jewellery which Hindu married women wear. Goddess Gauri is also offered a hair band of flowers known as Veni in Marathi which is worn on the backside of the head. Devotees also offer garlands to Goddess Gauri.
Gauri Pujan requires leaves and flower of a specific plant. It also requires systematic Puja to be done by inviting a Pujari at home. Performing Aarti is also necessary during Gauri Pujan. After the systematic Puja is performed all the women visit each others house to offer coconut, a piece of cloth, flowers, bananas, rice and even new saris to the idol of Goddess Gauri.
All the women wear new saris and all the traditional jewellery on this day. On the night of Gauri Pujan all the women gather together and sing Mangala Gauri songs. These songs have a traditional base and reflect the life style of Hindu married women. Males do not take part in this function. This occasion is considered important in the life of a newly married Maharastrian woman as her first Mangala Gauri.
All the women taking part in Mangala Gauri occasion are awake the whole night and play various games. The typical games known as Zhimmaa and Phugadi are played during this occasion. In Zhimmaa women clap hands and sing songs to tease each other. Phugadi is played by crossing both hands and holding each others hands just as we shake them. After holding hands in this specific position, women move round in circles and sing songs. The whole night is full of fun and joy for the women.
Gauri Visarjan is done immediately the next day of Gauri Pujan. It is done along with Ganesh Visarjan on sixth or seventh day of Ganesh Chaturthi. Before Gauri Visarjan Aarti is performed and the Prasad of cooked rice mixed with curd and cooked fenugreek leaves is offered to the idol. This Prasad is then distributed amongst the devotees as the blessings of Goddess Gauri.
The occasions like Gauri Pujan and Ganesh Chaturthi are major events for the Maharastrians. They celebrate it according to the Marathi calendar. These festivals are vital to bring families and friends together. These festivals play an important role in making the bonds of love stronger.
In some regions Jyeshtha Gauri is worshiped as Goddess Mahalakshmi and in others to Goddess Parvati. In certain parts of Maharashtra, especially in Pune, Goddess Gauri is the sister of Ganapati. Arrival of Goddess Gauri in homes is regarded as the coming of the sisters of Ganesha and is said to bring health, wealth, happiness and prosperity. It is said that Goddess Gauri kills demon.
Gauri Puja startes from the third day after Ganesh Chaturthi which is known as the day of Gauri Awahan (Arrival). On this day married women brings two idols of Goddess Gauri – “the twin sisters or two different forms of Gauri” at there home. These two idols are decorated and worshiped for one and half day. Women also perform the community puja along with Haldi Kum Kum ceremony.
From the first day itself the process of worshiping goddess Gauri starts which continues till the third day known as the day of Gauri Visarjan (immersion). It is a belief is that Goddess Gauri come to visit their brother and resides in homes during the period and bless the family worshipping Ganesha during Ganesh Chaturthi. Naivedya (fruits, cooked food and sweets) are offered and Aarti is done as per Vidhi (performing rituals based on the Panchang or the right and auspicious timings) and praying to Goddess.
At same place people prefer the photograph of Goddess Gauri rather then the idols. They place a Kalash (copper pot) with a coconut on top considering it as the Goddess Gauri. The Kalash contains barks of 5 different trees and then consecrated with mantras
As the part of preparations for Gauri pooja people clean their house, decorate it with lights, colourful flowers and make rangoli out side the their home near the main entrenceto welcome the Goddess. Special food is prepared during the period.