‘Navratri’ is one of the most popular and widely celebrated festivals in Saurashtra or Kathiyawad region of Gujarat – a state that erupts into a nine-night dance festival.
In Saurashtra’s cultural capital Rajkot, ‘Navratri’ revelers primarily enjoy till late night on the tunes of melodious music, a dance-circle form known as ‘Ras Garba’ (also joined sometimes by ‘Dandiya’, which uses small wooden sticks). These dances reflect the bondage between Lord Krishna andHis ‘Gopis’.
Drenched in colours and steeped in tradition, there’s no place like Rajkot in Gujarat to immerse you in the festive spirit of Navratri. In exquisitely embroidered clothing in pops of colour, the city of Rajkot sees melodious flow of Ras Garba and Dandiya. The deliciously sweet aroma of ‘Jalebis’ spiking the air in Rajkot every night is not un-common. That’s what Navratri in Rajkot is all about. While this popular Hindu festival is enjoyed in many parts of India, it is in Rajkot of Gujarat that truly erupts in vibrant colours, music and dance, bringing the celebrations to life.
Bursting with glass bangles with peacock designs, enameled fish heads studded with pearls and several other styles, Rajkot’s Bangadi Bazaar market becomes a hot-spot for youth to stock up on accessories apt for the revelries. Bangles aside, they also buy traditional Bandhani fabric, beautiful Ghagra Cholis, and matching footwear.
Nevertheless, the focal point of every Garba- circle is the small Goddess shrine erected to mark the beginning of the festival, on the first day of the Hindu month of‘Ashwin’. The shrine includes a Garbo – an earthenware pot in which a betel nut, coconut, and silver coin are placed.
In an exclusive interaction with ME, Chandresh Jethani, Gujarat based film-producer, a socialite and the chairperson of Rajkot’s best Navratri event, ‘Aajkaal’, said: “Over the years, the city of Rajkot in Saurashtra has emerged as an ideal destination for the youth from all over the world, keen on enjoying Navratri in a traditional manner. Their expensive ethnic costumes set a novel trend amongst Navratri fans. Millions of people watch the mesmerizing Navratri dances of these young girls & boys on YouTube everynight.”
“Navratri is traditionally a Hindu festival, but it’s not unheard-of to find non-Hindus having fun with their friends at a Garba in Rajkot. That’s the beauty of the secular fabric of our country,” added Chandresh Jethani.
The beautiful ‘Aajkaal’ Navratri in Rajkot continues to mesmerize the youth forever…