Rajasthan is a land of goddesses and deified Satis. Besides
local family and clan goddesses, goddesses of the locality and those
presiding over diseases and childbirth, there are pan-Indian family
divinities such as Durga, Lakshmi, Sarsvati etc.
The most popular among these deities is Gangaur, the consort
of Isar. Gangaur and Isar represent regional form of Shiva
and Parvati. Gangaur is worshipped by women in
whose honour they keep vows. She is the goddess of harvest and personified
spring. Generally depicted as a two-armed goddess; her images are
decked with clothing and ornaments to celebrate her festival, when
the sun enters Aries ( the opening of the Hindu year). Being a goddess
connected with fertility, barley seeds are sown in a trench or a
pot, and the young sprouts are presented by women to the men.
Images of Gangaur and Isar are generally made of terracotta
but painted wooden ones have also been found.
Images of clan goddesses and Satis are worshipped daily
by family members. Among the royal and aristocratic families there
was a custom of maintaining domestic shrines or special rooms for
installation and worship of deities. Among the ritual paraphernalia,
the most noticeable were sets of miniature garments, crowns and
ornaments. Shangar, or ritual decoration of cultic images
and clothing, was one of the forms of Hindu worship. Often such
sets were offered by devotees on fulfillment of their vows. Most
of the sets displayed here belong to early and mid-twentieth century.
The chamber for domestic worship often had subsidiary images of
deities hung on the walls. A range of such images made of silver
plagues (raised work in relief over silver sheets) including those
of Krishna, Shiva, Vishnu and Lakshmi, displayed here come
from the early twentieth century.