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A Protector of Jodhpur

Traditions of Gudhla Ghoomela ji

Rao Satal Ji Rathore (reigned 1489–1492) was the eldest son of Rao Jodha, the founder of Jodhpur. On hearing that soldiers from Nagore had abducted 140 girls from a village near Mertia, he promptly set out to rescue the girls.

Despite a Rajput tradition of not engaging in battle after sunset, Satal killed the commander-in-chief of the Nagaur army, Gudhla Khan and beheaded him. The pierced and slashed head was then carried as a triumphal trophy by the rescued maidens who marched it through their village as a symbol of tehir untarnished honor. Rao Satal succumbed to the wounds received in battle and died that night.

In commemoration of this event a festival is held in Marwar in march (the exact date being decided by the lunar calendar). At sunset, on the appointed day, young married girls make their way to the local potter’s home to get earthen pot, which is riddled with holes. The girl splace an oil lamp in the matka (earthen pot) and the procession wends its way through the streets with the pot held high midst a chanting of folk song Gudhla ghoomelaji. After sunset the pot is taken to the nearest lake and gently cast away.

The riddled pot symbolises the head of Gudhla Khan and the festival acknowledges the long-dead king who lost his life in the protection of his subjects.

Source – Rajasthan: A Mosaic of Culture

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