Rajasthan celebrates a plethora of festivals, each of which is devoted to a season, a deity or even a legend and each of them is unique, joyous and beautiful. The festival of Mewar is celebrated with maximum fervour in the beautiful lake city of Udaipur. It marks the ceremonial welcome of spring and is dedicated to goddess Parvati. The festival coincides with the festival of Gangaur and sees processions of colorfully attired women, carrying images of the goddess to the Gangaur Ghat of the Lake Pichola. Here with much fanfare, song, dance, devotional music and fireworks, the images are submersed in the waters of the lake.
The city of Udaipur glitters with spirit of celebration, its streets and shops are colourfully decorated and the occasion is marked with mouth-watering dishes, dance, and music.
During this festival young girls dress up in their finery and pray for grooms of their choice while the married women pray for the well being of their husbands. As the festival of Gangaur and Mewar are celebrated at the same time the rituals intermingle giving it an even more vibrant flavour. At this time young unmarried girls in groups go around singing songs of ghudlia (ghudlias are earthen pots with numerous holes all around and a lamp lit inside them) carrying the pots on their heads. On their way, they collect small presents of cash, sweets, jaggery, ghee, oil etc. This continues for ten days, up to the conclusion of the festival. The last three days of the festival are truly vibrant, colourfully bedecked images of Parvati are taken out in procession through the city streets accompanied by dancers, drummers, joyous children, camels, bullock carts, horses and elephants, decorated in traditional finery. Songs are sung about the departure of Parvati to her husband's house. At the end of it all the girls break their pots and throw all that they had collected into a tank or a pond. A grand feast marks the end of the festival. Sweets are prepared throughout the festival and offered to Goddess Parvati. The light and deliciously sugary Ghewar is the most popular sweet served during this festival. Gifts and boxes of Ghewar are also exchanged amongst friends and relatives.
Udaipur is an alluring concoction of visual wonders, during these festivals the city is very lively but even otherwise it is popular with visitors and a precious jewel in the desert province of Rajasthan. The city stretches along the banks of the Lake Pichola and is considered one of India's most romantic. This lush green oasis in the middle of the desert is redolent with luxurious palaces, majestic mansions and regal gardens. A major art and antiques hub, it is an art aficionado's dream come true.
The airport at Udaipur links it with other major cities of India including Delhi, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Aurangabad and Mumbai.
The railway network connects Udaipur with Delhi, Chittor, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Ajmer and Jodhpur amongst other cities.
Udaipur can be easily reached by road as well. There are good motorable roads linking it to tourist destinations in Rajasthan and neighbouring states of Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.