Navratri is a 9 day Hindu festival for Goddess Durga (Shakti). Navratri is one of the biggest festivals among Mumbai’s Gujarati community, which constitutes 19% of the population.
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Navratri Festival Dates and Garba Timing in Mumbai
There are two Navratri festival in a year. “Chaitra Navratri” or “Vasant Navratri” is usually in March or April and its ninth day is Ram Navami. In Maharashtra, the first day of Chaitra Navratri is “Gudi Padwa”.
The second Navratri is called “Sharad Navratri” and it is usually in September or October. The day after Sharad Navratri is Dusshera. In Mumbai it is Sharad Navratri that is celebrated with fervour and passion and this article is mainly about Sharad Navratri.
- Navratri Festival Start Date in 2016: September 21, 2017 (Thursday)
- Navratri Festival End Date in 2015: September 29, 2017 (Friday). Dusshera (Dashami or Vijaydashmi) is on September 30, 2017 (Saturday)..
- Idols of Goddess Durga are immersed (Visarjan) on “Vijayadashami” (“Dusshera”), September 30, 2017 (Saturday).
- Chaitra Navratri Festival Start Date in 2017: March 28, 2017 (Tuesday) (Gudi Padwa)
- Chaitra Navratri Festival End Date in 2017: April 5, 2017 (Wednesday) (Ram Navami).
- Chaitra Navratri Festival Start Date in 2018: March 18, 2018 (Sunday) (Gudi Padwa)
- Chaitra Navratri Festival End Date in 2018: March 26, 2018 (Monday) (Ram Navami).
- Mumbai has a 10:00 pm deadline for Dandiya Raas and Garba. On the last 2 days of Navratri, Garba and Dandiya organizers are allowed to play music up to 12:00 midnight.
- As per Mumbai rules, 55 decibels is the maximum level of noise allowed in residential areas before 10:00 pm. After 10:00 pm, the noise level should not exceed 45 decibel.
Mumbai’s Most Famous and Best Navratri (Dandiya, Garba) Locations
Listed below are some of Mumbai’s biggest and most famous venues and organizers of “Dandya Raas” and “Garba”:
- Pushpanjali Gardens Ground (Near Don Bosco School, Borivali West): Falguni Pathak is Mumbai’s most famous Dandiya and Garba musician. In 2016, Falguni Pathak, and her Dandiya group “Ta Thaiya”, will perform at Pushpanjali Gardens. Season ticket is Rs 3,999 and daily ticket range from Rs 600 to Rs 1,000. This Dandiya Raas is organized by Shriya Events. Pushpanjali Gardens Ground is a large venue where 30,000 people can indulge in Dandiya and Garba dance.
- Kutchi Ground (Near Aura Hotel, Borivali West): In 2016, sisters Preeti and Pinki will be performing at Kutchi Ground in Borivali West. Along with Preety and Pinki, Rafiq Shaikh and Vishal Kothari will be performing their Garba and Dandiya songs. Season ticket is Rs 800 and daily ticket is Rs 200. This Navratri Utsav is organized by Alive Kraft.
- Kora Kendra Grounds (Haridas Nagar, Borivali West): It is estimated that around 200,000 people attend Navrati Festival at the huge Kora Kendra Ground. In 2016, the Garba and Dandiya artist performing at Kora Kendra are Nilesh Thakkar, Jayesh Desai, Nirav Barot, Chaula Sodha and Nirupama Rege. These Dandia celebrations are organized by Naidu Club. Season tickets are Rs 3,060 and daily tickets range from Rs 360 to 810.
- Chitrakoot Ground (Shah Industrial Estate, Andheri West): Performers at this “Nav Raag” Navratri venue include Naitik Nagda and his band Rock On Beats, Manish Joshi, Arpita Thakkar, Pomal Shah, Ashita Dedhia and Umesh Barot. Musicians will play a mix of traditional and Bollywood Dandiya and Garba music. Season ticket is Rs 2,600 and daily ticket range from Rs 400 to 600.
- Sahara Star (Near Domestic Airport, Santacruz East): Manish Parekh and Drumbeats will entertain Dandiya Dancers at this air-conditioned 5 star hotel. Season ticket is Rs 6,000 and daily tickets range from Rs 700 to Rs 1,200. Known as Radiance Dandiya, this event is organized by Purple Blue Events.
- Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Statium, NSCI (Haji Ali): In 2016 Parthiv Gohil will headline Raas Garba celebrations at NSCI. This is an air-conditioned indoor venue where there is no limit on time. Dandiya and Garba dancers use colorful LED Dandiya sticks to add to the excitement of Navratri. Season pass is Rs 1,800 and daily pass is Rs 750.
- Police Parade Ground (Ghatkopar East): This is a popular venue for Garba and Dandiya Raas in mumbai. Navratri Mahotsav Raas Garba at this venue is organized by Ghatkopar Gujrati Samaj.
- Goregaon Sports Club (Link Road, Malad West): The popular Dandia and Garba Raas at this venue is organized by Sankalp Dandiya Navratri Group.
- Chandan Kunj (Malpani Ground, Borivali):
- Somaiya College Ground (Vidyavihar East):
- Kailas Ground (Mulund West):
- JVPD Ground (Juhu):
- MHADA Ground (Malvani, Malad West):
- Jasodha Rang Mandir (Vile Parle West):
- EsselWorld (Madh Island):
- Bhavan’s College Ground (D N Nagar Road, Andheri West):
- Ekta Ground (Borivali West):
- Tulip Star Hotel (Juhu Tara Road):
- Kamgar Krida Mandal (Babasaheb Ambedkar Nagar, Dadar West):
- Cricket Club Of India (Churchgate):
- Richardson and Cruddas Mill (Opposite R Mall, Mulund West): DJ Angel and DJ Chetas will headline this two day Neon Dandiya event. The two DJs will be performing on October 8 and 9, 2016. Ticket cost Rs 250 to Rs 999.
In addition to these venues, many housing societies in Mumbai organize Navratri celebrations in their buildings.
Famous Mumbai Navratri Dandiya Rass and Garba Singers, Performers
These are some of the most famous Dandiya and Garba Singers and Musicians who perform in Mumbai during Navratri.
- Falguni Pathak and her Dandiya band “Tha Thaiyaa”.
- Preeti and Pinky
- Manish Parekh and his band
- Devendra Joshi
- Bhumi Trivedi
- Tushar Sonigra and his Dandiya Band called “Beats 16”
- Parthiv Gohil
- Nilesh Thakkar
- Chetan Gadhavi
- The Beaterrz, whose lead singer is Maneesha Savla
- Umesh Barot
- Manish Joshi
- Drummer Naitik Nagda
- Viju Shah
- Kirtidan Gadhvi
- Jayesh Desai
Activities and Prayers During Navratri Festival
Navratri is celebrated with the traditional Gujarati dances of “Garba” and “Dandiya Raas”. During the festival, devotees perform the following activities:
- Worshipers invite Goddess Durga (known as “Maa Amba” to Gujaratis) to their house by performing “Devi Sthapna” puja,
- Devotees visit temples and fast for Navratri’s nine days. Nine forms of Goddess Durga are worshiped, one for each day. The nine forms of Goddess Durga are Shailputri, Brahmacharini, Chandraghanta, Kushmanda, Skandamata, Katyayani, Kalratri, Mahagauri, Siddhidatri.
- Devotees light a lamp in a “Garbo” or “Ghatasthapana” (decorated earthen pot) for 9 days. The “Garbo” has holes in it and it represents the human body.
- In the evening, all family members celebrate the victory of Goddess Ambaji/Durga over Mahisasura by dancing “Raas Garba” and “Dandiya Raas”.
- “Dusshera” is celebrated on the day after the 9th day of Navratri.
- Durga Idol Visarjan (Immersion) is done on the 10th day.
Traditional Navratri Dances of Dandiya Raas and Raas Garba
In “Garba” the dancer moves his/her hands and feet to four beats; whereas in “Dandiya Rass”, dancers dance with sticks.
- The easiest and most popular Raas Garba dances are the “Be Taali” (2 claps) and “Traan Taali” (3 claps). Please see the below video for simple instructions on these Garba steps.
- Other popular types of Garba Rass Dance are “Butterfly” (clapping and moving in a circle like a butterfly), “Trikonyu” (make a triangle movement), “Hudo” (raise hands and clap with a partner after 4 beats), “Popatiyu” (clap after 2 steps forward and 4 steps back), “Dodhiyu” (forward and backward movement to 8, 10, 12 beats), etc.
Dandiya Rass Dance
- Dandia Raas is played with 2 decorated sticks which are touched with a partner’s sticks in a choreographed pattern. Usually, dancers form an inner and outer circle; one moves in a clock-wise and the other in a counter clock-wise direction. The inner and outer circle dancers partner each other in playing Dandiya Rass.
- Different types of Dandiya Raas dance are “Five Steps” technique, “Seven Steps”, etc. “5 Step Dandiya Raas” is the most popular Dandia and the below video has easy instructions on how to play 5 Step Dandiya Raas.
The original folk dances of Garba Rass and Dandia Raas started as a depiction of the 9 day battle between Goddess Durga (“Ambaji”) and Mahisasura. With this in mind, the “Dandiya” (sticks) and the “Garba” style of dance make a lot of sense.
Mahisasura was an “Asura” (Demon) who defeated Indra, the Hindu God of the “Devas” (Gods). Mahisasur threw out the Gods from Heaven. Since Mahisasura could not be defeated by any man, the Gods created Durga an avatar of Godess Parvati or Shakti. Maa Durga defeated the “Asuras” (Demons) and fought a long 9 day battle with Mahisasura, finally killing him on the tenth day.
Famous Navrati Dandiya Raas and Garba Rass Songs
Popular Navratri Garba and Dandya Raas songs are “Dholi Taro”, “Aavo Ramva Raas”, “Nagar Nand ji Na Laal”, “Hu tau Gai ti Mele”, etc
Clothes Worn for Navratri, Garba Raas Dance and Dandia Raas
Young girls and ladies wear colourful ethnic Gujarati style “Chaniya Choli”, “Ghagra Choli”, “Lehenga Choli” and sarees. Metal jewellery is often worn and so are white bangles on the forearms and biceps.
On top, boys and men wear the traditional Gujarati Kurta, called “Zabbho” or “Kedia” (“Kediya”) and on the bottom a Pajama or Dhoti called “Dhotiyu” or “Lehanghas”. Men also wear a “Pagdee” (Turban).
Dandiya Raas and Garba Dance Schools in Mumbai
Just before Navratri, many of Mumbai’s Dance Schools/Academies/Trainers provide Dandiya and Garba Ras dance classes. This is a list of some of the Garba Raas and Dandiya dance training classes in Mumbai.
Rohit Poojary Dance Academy (Borivali)
Twins Dance Art Studios (Ghatkopar East)
Gurudev Natraj Studio (MG Road, Ghatkopar East)
Ball Balley Dance Group (Oshiwara)
Rangeela Ras Garba (D P Road, Kandivali)
S Art and Dance Academy (Parel)
Aliens Dance Club (Merwanji Road, Parel)
Verve Dance Academy (Bandra East)
Rockstar Dance Studios (SV Road, Malad West)
Shilpkar Fitness & Dance Classes (Kurar Village, Malad East)
Shree Natraj Institute of Performing Art Dance, Yoga & Fitness (Mahila Mandal Hall, Pantanagar, Ghatkopar East)
D Element (Girgaon)
Piyush Dance Academy (Kalyan)
Dee One Dance Academy (Sector 3, Sanpada, Navi Mumbai)
National Institute of Cine Excellence (Sector 30, Vashi)
Rhythm Riders Dance Academy (Dombivli East)
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- Image 1: Image by FrenchKheldar. Image licensed under Creative Commons license Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
- Image 2: Garba dancers perform in Ambaji temple premises. Image by Anurag Agnihotri. Image licensed under Creative Commons license Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)
- Image 3: Image by Restless mind. Image licensed under Creative Commons license Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)