GAURI PUJAN takes place during Ganesh Chaturthi

  • By Dr Prachi Moghe
  • September 18, 2023
  • 1806 views
  • Know about the worship of Goddess Parvati (Gauri) – Offerings including salads, vegetables and sweets. Plus Traditional Attire and Adornments for Gauri.

To read part 1 Origin of Ganesha worship in India

To read part 2 How GANAPATI is celebrated in a Maharashtrian home

 

Gauri is a form of Goddess Parvati. She is worshipped on Haritalika Trutiya, one day prior to Ganesh Chaturthi as a maiden longing for Lord Shiva as a husband. So maidens fast on this day and worship Gauri as Haritalika for getting good husband. Married woman worship her to get Saubhagya forever. In the month of Chaitra Trutiya, Gauri as a daughter comes to her parent’s home and stays with them for a month. Gauri is worshipped in that month as a daughter.

 

But Gauri pujan from Shuddha Shasthi to Astami in Bhadrapada is worshipping her as a Mother. It is a significant festival celebrated mainly in Maharashtra, India, and is dedicated to Goddess Parvati, who is also known as Gauri. This festival, which closely follows Ganesh Chaturthi, holds its own unique cultural and religious importance.

 

It is a significant festival celebrated mainly in Maharashtra, India, and is dedicated to Goddess Parvati, who is also known as Gauri. This festival, which closely follows Ganesh Chaturthi, holds its own unique cultural and religious importance.

 

Worship of Goddess Parvati (Gauri)

The Pauranic Kahani behind Gauri Pujan

It is told that in ancient times when the asuras (loosely translated as demons) would harass humans, married women approached Devi Gauri - the wife of Lord Shiva - to help protect their Saubhagya or the life of their respective husbands. That day was a Bhadrapad month Shudha (Shukla - waning fortnight) Paksha Ashtami. 

 

Gauri Pujan primarily revolves around the worship of Goddess Parvati, who is considered the mother of Lord Ganesh. It is an occasion to seek the blessings of the Divine Mother for prosperity, well-being, and the removal of obstacles.

 

Timing

Gauri Pujan typically falls during the fourth or fifth day of Ganesh Chaturthi, which is a ten-day festival dedicated to Lord Ganesh. It often takes place one day before or alongside the worship of Lord Ganesh.

 

Gauri Murti or Image

Devotees bring a murti of Goddess Gauri into their homes for worship. The Gauri murti can be made of various materials, including clay, metal, or paper. In some cases, people opt for a simple image of Goddess Gauri on paper.

 

Belief in Divine Blessings

Many devotees believe that during the period of Gauri Pujan, divine rays emanate from the Gauri murti, bringing an end to suffering and bestowing prosperity and well-being upon the worshipers.

 

Worship of Lord Shiva

In addition to worshiping Goddess Gauri, some devotees also include the worship of Lord Shiva, who is considered the husband of Goddess Parvati. This is a way of paying respects to the divine parents of Lord Ganesh.

Gauri Mukhwatas or murtis are handed down through the generations in the family but for those who wish to begin observing this festival for the first time, the same is available in the market. Usually, they arrive in pairs (Two women - Goddess's faces). 

 

A lot of orchestra-like sounds are created with spoons and small vessels to welcome the arrival of Mahalakshmi or Gauri. She is shown around all symbols of prosperity that abound in the house. A prayer is made to the Goddess to help retain prosperity.

 

Goddess Mahalakshmi's palms (the benevolent, most-giving Goddess) are worshipped too. Without Laksmiji's aashirwaad, nothing can come to fruition, is the belief.

 

Traditional Attire and Adornments

The idol of Goddess Gauri is adorned with fine and colorful saris, traditional jewellery such as green bangles, mangalsutra (a symbol of marriage), nose-ring, and necklace. A floral hair band called Veni is also placed on the backside of the idol's head, and garlands are offered. The mangalsutra and green bangles hold particular significance for married Hindu women.

 

Puja Arrangements

Specific leaves and flowers from a particular plant are required for the puja. A trained Pujari (priest) is often invited to conduct the systematic puja, which includes the performance of Aarti.

 

Offerings

Women visit each other's houses to offer coconut, pieces of cloth, flowers, bananas, rice, and sometimes new saris to the murti of Goddess Gauri. This is a gesture of devotion and camaraderie.

 

The second day of Gauri Pujan, also known as Athavani, holds special significance in Maharashtrian households. It is a day when Goddess Gauri is traditionally invited to a married daughter's home for lunch. This occasion is marked by the preparation and offering of a special set menu that includes sixteen types of salads, sixteen types of vegetables, and five types of sweets. 

 

Sixteen Types of Salads

The salads are an integral part of the meal and are prepared using a variety of ingredients, including vegetables, herbs, and spices. These salads are usually fresh and provide a burst of flavors and textures.

 

Sixteen Types of Vegetables

Maharashtrian cuisine is known for its wide range of vegetable dishes, and for Gauri Pujan, sixteen different vegetable preparations are cooked. These dishes may include traditional recipes with seasonal vegetables, spices, and flavors that vary according to regional preferences.

 

Five Types of Sweets

The meal is completed with a selection of sweets, which typically includes five different types of desserts. These sweets are prepared using ingredients like jaggery, sugar, ghee, and various grains. They may include traditional Maharashtrian sweets such as Puran Poli, Shrikhand, Modak, and more.

 

The preparation of this elaborate meal is a labor of love and devotion, and it reflects the hospitality and warmth of the host family. It is a way for the family to honour Goddess Gauri and seek her blessings for happiness, prosperity, and familial well-being.

 

The tradition of inviting a married daughter, who represents Gauri, for this meal is a way of recognizing and celebrating the married daughter's role in her parental home. It fosters family bonds and reinforces the idea of familial togetherness.

 

The married women offer Osa/Vasa/Oti to Gauri. It consists of Saree/Khan, coconut, rice, bettlenut, nuts, sweets, Mangalsutra, green bangles etc, which are symbols of Saubhagya, prosperity.

 

Overall, Gauri Pujan, with its special rituals and customs, is a cherished festival in Maharashtra that not only pays homage to Goddess Gauri but also strengthens the cultural and familial ties within the community.

 

Visarjana

Before the murti immersion, an Aarti is performed, and Prasad consisting of cooked rice mixed with curd and cooked fenugreek leaves is offered to the Goddess. This Prasad is then distributed among the devotees as a blessing from Goddess Gauri.

 

These Maharashtrian festivals, such as Gauri Pujan and Ganesh Chaturthi, hold significant cultural and religious importance. They bring families and friends together, strengthen bonds of love and devotion, and serve as occasions for celebration, reflection, and community involvement. These traditions are a testament to the rich cultural heritage and spiritual practices of Maharashtra.

 

Author  Dr Moghe is Assistant Professor (Archaeology), Centre of Archaeology, Centre for Extra Mural Studies, University of Mumbai.

 

Also read

1. Album Ganesha Temple in Pondicherry

2. Album Ganesha in Indonesia

3. Read Ganapati Atharvasirha  

4. Maharashtra’s famous Ashtavinayaka Temples

5. Deeper symbolic meaning of Ganesha and message conveyed

6. Ganesha is global God in a globalised world

7. Enshrining of Ganesha

8. In Hindi - Amazing traditions and statues of Ganesha

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