If there is one word that describes Jaipur it is Liveliness. Everyone in the city keeps a lively smile and charming expressions on his/her face. It seems that the festivals of Jaipur are also designed to reflect this liveliness. That is why most of the festivals of Jaipur invite and involve as many people as possible. One such lively festival is 'Teej'.
The Teej festival is celebrated somewhere in July and August. On this festival the married women of the city pray to the most auspicious form of god 'Lord Shiva' and his consort 'Goddess Parvati' to gain blessings for their husbands, children and their whole family. They also pray for a long-lasting, happy married life. The festival is also celebrates the arrival of monsoons.
Well-bedecked swings hung from the trees. These embellished swings are decked with the flowers of different colours. When the beautiful womenfolk of the city swing on these decorated swings and sing the merry songs, it seems as the world has turned into a fairy tale where pleasure prevails everywhere. The festival is closely associated with growth and happiness, both of which are perfectly reflected by the colour 'green'. Lush green is the colour of the growing trees and green is the colour of water that represents affluence. Green is also known to work positively on the mind. So the womenfolk wear green coloured apparels that offer a uniform look and further enhance their beauty.
According to a belief, Lord Shiva and his consort Goddess Parvati went through a very long period of separation. After going through various twists and turns, the divine couple finally reunited on the day when Teej is celebrated. People say that if a woman worships Goddess Parvati on this auspicious day, the benevolent Mother blesses her like a Mother blessing a daughter. As a result of this blessing, various desires of the woman get fulfilled.
There are various elaborated rituals associated with this festival. However, the best thing is that these rituals are nothing like the common, detailed processes with specific techniques. These rituals are merrily observed by women and one can experience the beauty of these rituals through the pleasant laughter and joy the women share during the festival.
Just like most traditional Indian festivals, the whole extended family of the women are involved. The parents of the married women send what we Indians call 'Sinjhara'. It includes many traditional cosmetic items like bindi, hina, bangles, Rajasthani style leheriya sarees and vermilion along with boxes of 'Ghewar', which is a traditional Rajasthani sweet. The tradition of gifting 'Sinjhara' is much different from sending birthday gifts or New Year gifts. 'Sinjhara' arrives at the daughter's door with complete pomp and show. It is often her brother or father, who brings it to her husbands' home. The girl’s parents are given a warm welcome.
Women use the items in their 'Sinjhara' on the auspicious day of 'Teej' for the first time. They look like graceful goddesses with so many jewels, henna designs on their hands and draped in magnificent leheriya print sarees. They get together to join the merry celebrations and processions that are carried out in major parts of the old walled city.
The procession begins from Tripolia Gate, which holds a special significance for being associated with the royal family of Jaipur. It is a sign that tells that the people of Jaipur still have the same reverence for the royal class and the Maharaja, as was evident several centuries ago. Starting from Tripolia Gate, the procession passes through various markets and ends at Chaughan Stadium.
Teej is a form of Mother Parvati and none other than the womenfolk of Royal family of Jaipur decorates the idol of Teej. It is then placed in a golden or silver palanquin. It is followed by a royal convoy including high breed horses, mighty elephants and ship of the desert the camel. The fair is beautified and accentuated by various colourful fair and folk programs including folk dances, folk songs and other performances.
Some of the best talent of the region is on the show in various folk performances during this procession. Another thing to enjoy is the availability of various regional crafts and a wide variety of sweets.