Playing Garba in Gujrat is something that has always been on my bucket list. Fortunately, this time I got a chance to visit Gujarat during the Navratri festival. All credits to my wonderful Guju friends.
Not only did I accomplish one of the wishes from my bucket list but I also learnt a few Garba steps, made new friends, ate mouth-watering Gujarati food, explored Gujrat and on top of everything witnessed something so distinguished which I could not have had ever imagined – The United Garba of Baroda, where more than 30,000 people. Everybody dancing in harmony, to sync and with a zeal and enthusiasm that matches no other. I went awestruck looking at that beautiful sight which certainly became one of my best experiences that I had in Gujrat. Apart from that, I witnessed many other Garba nights like PDPU College – Rangtaal night, various societies Garba night. In short, Navratri 2017 was LIT.
If you are a Garba fan then visiting Gujrat during Navaratri should be on your top list too.
What is Garba
Garba is a popular folk Dance of Gujarat and is being performed not only all over India but all over the world during Navratri, nine days festival of Goddess Durga.
The term ‘Garba’ originated from Sanskrit term ‘Garbha’ which means womb and ‘Deep’ which means an earthen lamp or diya. It was traditionally performed around a big Garbha Deep, representing life, just as a fetus in the mother’s womb. This dance form worships the divinity and power of Goddess Durga or Amba.
Another perspective on the symbolic form of Garba is that as the dancers move around in circles making circular movements with their hands and feet, it represents the circle of life, which moves from life to death to rebirth, leaving only the Goddess Durga unmoved, unchanging and invincible.
Music and Dance
The dance is performed on Garba music which plays a pivotal role in it. Dhol, Nal, and Harmonium are played with the songs. Garba dance is performed in circulatory movement and people clap their hands and goes according to the rhythm, it starts with a slow tune and picks up gradually. There are various beautiful dance steps where people move sideways, toss their body and gracefully sway their arms.
These days dance movements are influenced by Bollywood and various communities and cultures. Popular Garba of 2017 are:
- Aqua Garba
- Silent Disco Garba
- Roller Skates Garba
- Salsa Garba
Difference between Dandiya & Garba
This dance form is often confused with Dandiya, which is another dance form of Gujarat performed during Navratri but originated in Vrindavan.
The major difference between the two dance forms is that Garba dance is performed in circular movements with hands and feet, while Dandiya is played with colorful sticks.
Fitness benefits of Garba
Garba movements make you stretch and twist your body which definitely helps you to lose weight. It also helps you to tone your muscles as you turn and jump around. Garba dance acts as a stressbuster because of the music and dance and on top of all, guys get to see pretty girls all dolled up and girls get to see handsome guys trying to impress girls by their moves.
Jokes apart, Garba is definitely a fun activity.
The Garba Attire
Garba attire is the most important part of Garba dance. People start getting their costumes done, months ahead. Girls search unique designs for their dresses. In fact, various competitions are held for the best dressed.
Traditional dress for men – Colorful turbans, short coats with long tight-sleeves which are locally known as Kedia and Kafni Pajamas and Mojri
Traditional Dress for women – Women wear chaniya choli – a traditional Gujarati three-piece outfit comprising Choli or a Blouse, a Chaniya, which is a long-flared skirt and an embellished dupatta. The whole outfit is teamed up with Silver or Black Metal Necklaces, Big Earrings, Kamarband, Bajuband, maang tikka and Juttis.