The tinkling sound of the ghungroos, the vibrant, colourful attires, a latest movie song playing at full volume… Chougada Tara… This is just an example of the beautiful scenes you get to see in Gujarat in the days during Navratri! Gujrat in Navratri is definitely an experience not to be missed.
Gujarat turns into a festive hub during these nine days of Navaratri. Few people keep fast during these 9 days, while others go out barefoot during the festival. All this is to show respect to Maa “Shakti”. It is said that due to all this, people turn so pious that there is some strange energy in them. All this energy is channelized during the Garba dance at night.
So what is Garba dance? Garba is derived from the word “Garbha” which means womb and “Deep” which means an earthen pot. The dance is performed around an earthen pot and a statue of Maa Shakti. The performance in the circle depicts the circle of life from birth to life to death and again rebirth. The constant here is the goddess in the middle.
Here are a few things that you can do in Gujarat in Navratri:
Learn Garba and Dandiya:
Ask any Gujarati a few days before Navratri what are they are busy with and pat comes the reply – we are busy practising Garba or dandiya. There are many places where workshops are held for Garba and Dandiya. What you can do is either enroll in your city for the same or come to Gujarat and learn it. A word of caution though: It is not as easy as it looks to be and you definitely don’t want to be out of sync in the circle of dancers! Make sure you know the steps well, and then you can dance your heart out all night long to the music!
Check out a dance workshop video of Shyam’s academy:
Shop for Garba:
Garba is not just about the dancing. You have to dress yourself up in the right way. Men and women, both dress up in vibrant colors, beautiful cotton, muslin cloths, and a completely ethnic look. You might want to hit the shops and buy a colourful ghagra-choli for you with heavy accessories to add to the festive mood. Get a nice dhoti and shirt for your better half at the same time. Let him flaunt his handsome looks at the same time with you! Curly tales did a cool video about shopping in Gujarat.
(Pssst: A tip here is to shop in advance as a few shops remain closed during Navratri! Do remember!)
Dance the night out in Gujrat in Navratri
Prepare yourself for the Dandiya nights. Take good sleep during the day and get all dressed up to dance the night out! There are many places that host Garba nights and a few famous ones have as many as 30000 visitors a day. United way of Baroda in Vadodara is one such famous place. Vadodara, Ahmedabad and Surat have many places which host the best of Garba and Dandiya dances.
Eat local delicacies in Gujrat in Navratri:
Gujarat is known for its Fafda, Dhokla and Jalebis. You get the best of this food near the pandals for Garba dance. You will definitely need these after tiring yourself out from hours of dancing!
Don’t miss out on local sightseeing, since you’re visiting Gujarat anyways for Garba. Ahmedabad is house to the oldest Swaminarayan temple, the stepwells of Dada Hari Wav, the famous Sabarmati Ashram and many more such places. There are many companies that offer tours combining sightseeing in the day and Garba dance by night.
Here is the video on sightseeing places in Ahmedabad:
Excited yet? Navaratri is here and if you have not planned anything, here is your chance. Make the trip even more romantic by driving all the way from Pune to Gujrat rather than taking the public transport to witness the festival!
Don’t wait! Book your travel now. And yes, do post us your Garba night photos and tell us all your stories. We always love to hear back from you!