India, the land of culture, the land of traditions has yet another reason to be ecstatic, for the festival of light, music and ‘nine nights-long dance’ is all-ready to begin. Yes, Navratri, credited to be the ‘World’s Longest Dance Festival’, is right at the doorstep with yet another season of uninterrupted fun, fervour and excitement. With ‘Shakti’, the divine power of Goddess Amba, seated at the core of every ritual, every puja and every heart, one just remains startled at the heightened spirits of ardent devotees who dance their hearts out even after intense fasting during ‘Devi Puja’.
Though it would not be wrong to say that the whole world dances to the beats of dandiya but nowhere is this grand event celebrated with as much zeal and fervour as Gujarat. It is flamboyant, colourful and magical. Let us take a deeper insight into the different facets of Navratri to help you relish this once-in-a-lifetime experience for those who have not been lucky enough to spectacle this resplendent occasion.
Shimmer in Traditional Wear
As impressive as it seems, Navratri involves the non-stop throbbing of feet and hearts to the beats of Garba and Dandiya. Brilliantly-dressed men and women with traditional chaniya-choli, kafni-pyjamas, kurtas adorned with beads, shells, mirrors and embroidery works along with ethnic jewellery, necklaces, bindi, bajubandh, chudas and kangans, are seen moving their hands, feet and colourfully-decorated sticks in unanimity to local beats, folk songs, DJ collections and celebrity performances.
Satiate Your Taste Buds
Gujarat is all about food. At any time of the year, its platter boasts of Methi ka Thepla, Bardoli ki Khichdi, Dhokla and Khandvi, but Navratri brings-in some special flavours that adds to the beauty of the festival. As fasting is an inseparable ritual of this fiesta, so people opt for recipes made of sago, potato and Singhare ka Atta viz Sabudana Khichdi, Mandvi Paak, Singoda ni Kheer, Moriyani Khichdi and Dudhi no Halwo.
Feel the Pulse of Gujarat
Though Navratri is celebrated all-over Gujarat, yet few places would definitely score high over others for being exceptional in their own rights.
In Vadodra one gets to behold a spectacular sight, when more than 35,000 men and women, from all walks of life, come together and dance at Navlakhi Ground, organised by United Way, an annual fund-raising event.
Maa Shakti Garbha Mahotsav is one grand show of music, dance, light and life. With more than 40,000 participants, it has already registered itself in the Limca Book of World Records. Held in Godhra, it definitely comes as a show not to be missed.
The largest city of Gujarat, Ahmedabad observes Navratri with amazing grace and grandeur. Hosted at the GMDC Ground by the Gujarat Tourism Board, Navratri is accompanied by exhibitions, kid shows and state-level garbha competitions. One gets to witness Sheri Garbha here.
In Saurashtra and Kutch, this grand event is marked by people performing traditional folk-style Garbha and Raas dandiya with laathis and swords.
Take Home Memories
Navratri sees Gujarat at its cultural, traditional and culinary best. People just love to go shop-hopping for handicrafts, metal-oxidised jewellery, apparels, heavy-work dupattas, Kutchi Kotis, kurtas, mirror work and embroidered chaniya-cholis and souvenirs. You could really have a blast with your bargaining hats on.
One should definitely keep one’s energy and spirits in store for the exquisite dance carnival but the days could be spent exploring the city and nearby areas. One could go to Champaner and Pavagadh Hills while in Vadodara, Gandhi Ashram and Adalaj Vav, once in Ahmedabad or the Gir National Park, if in Jamnagar.
Gujarat seriously has something nice to offer to every eager soul. So if one wishes to taste an unforgettable experience and witness an entire state reverberating in the same energy level, then do plan a visit to the state of Gujarat during Navratri.