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History | Culture | Festival

 History

At about 90 min. drive (about 48 kms) from Udaipur in Rajasthan lies a very popular dham, Nathdwara set amidst idyllic hills on the left bank of the Banas river, where one can see devotees in large numbers flocking for worship. The place is most popular for its sacred Vaishnava temple of Lord Srinathji, the manifestation of Lord Krishna.Sri Nathdwara or the gateway leading to the Srinathji is also the centre of the Pushtimarg Sampradaya, a doctrine created by Jagat guru Sri Vallabhacharya. One can find the idol of Srinathji, sculpted out of one piece of black marble belonging to the 12th century and was first installed by Sri Vallabhacharya in a small temple at Jatipura, near Mathura. The little town is a honeycomb of lanes and alleys leading to the hub of activity, the Srinathji temple.

The Haveli of Srinathji(as the temple is called), was once a royal palace of the Rajput rulers. Over 1000 devotees reach the temple early in the morning to serve the Lord, each day of the year. Getting up during the early hours for the first darshan is a regular observation where Lord Sir Nathji resides in regal splendour. Darshans or glimpses of Srinathji can be sought 8 times in the day. Collectively known as Ashtaya, the 8 darshans are Mangala, Shrungar, Gwal, Rajbhog, Uthhapan, Bhog, Sandhaya Aarti and Shayan. In each of them the leelas (divine manifestations) of the Lord are described and harmonized with His daily routine. Groups of devotees constantly flush into the temple, pushing, pulling and reaching out, sometimes even getting hurt in the process. The darshan is like a matter of life and death for them, and they endure it bravely eight times in a day just for those few seconds.


 Culture

Culture in Nathdwara
It has above all been known for its tradition of painting and visual culture. Hundreds of artists inhabit Nathdwara and paint for their living. These artists mostly live in Chitaron ki gali. Each home here is a work of art studio. The artists make a close community and interact freely. Nathdwara is a main heart of Pichhwai paintings, a sought after art form of Rajasthan. Pichhwai paintings are painted in permanent natural colors that do not lighten for years. They are put to use in printing and embroidery also. Portrayal of the artist's love for God makes the Nathdwara style distinct from other forms.


 Festival

Desert Festival: The Desert Festival is organized in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, usually in the month of January or February. Desert Festival in Nathdwara The duration of the festival is three days and it comes to an end on Poornima, the full moon day. The main purpose of the Rajasthan Desert Festival is to display the rich and colorful culture of the state. Dressed in vibrant and colorful attire, the people of Rajasthan dance to the tunes lingering ballads of heroism, romance and tragedy of the local heroes.

The major attractions of the Desert Festival of Jaisalmer, Rajasthan include snake charmers, puppeteers, acrobats, folk performers, etc. Especially, the Gair and Fire dancers, in their vibrant and colorful costumes, capture your heart. However, amongst all these, the ship of the desert, camel does not loses its special place. Apart from the camel rides that are quite popular, camels take part in a number of events. Of them, the most famous and unique ones are camel polo and camel dance.

Other events include the turban tying competition and a display of the most glorious moustaches. Turbans and mustaches are deemed to be the symbols of honor in the state of Rajasthan. Then, there is a Mr. Desert contest that further adds to the enjoyment. With the fascinating Jaisalmer Fort and the sand dunes serving as the backdrop, the celebrations gain an added advantage. There are also brilliant performances by the folk artists, dancing elegantly to the tunes of the folk music. Traditional handicrafts of Rajasthan are also traded at the fair.

Mewar Festival in Nathdwara
Mewar Festival: The Mewar Festival is celebrated in the Hindu month of Chaitra (March-April). It is organized to mark the beginning of the spring season. Rajasthan Mewar Festival overlaps with the Gangaur festival. A procession carrying the images of Isar and Gangaur, ornamented and dressed in colorful attire, is taken at the time of the festival. The procession goes through the various areas of Udaipur and comes to an end at the Gangaur Ghat of Lake Pichola. Thereafter, the images are moved on to special boats. After this whole process is over, cultural events take over the celebration of the festival. Rajasthan folk songs, dances and other programs take the center stage. The festival concludes with a remarkable display of fireworks.


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