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 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,
- They fast for Navratri’s nine days followed by prayer. Nine forms of Goddess Durga are worshiped, one for each day.
- 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.
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”:
- Goregaon Sports Club, Link Road, Malad (West) – Sankalp Dandiya Navratri Group
- MHADA Ground, Malvani, Malad West – Musa Paik Navratri Utsav
- Kora Kendra Ground, Borivali (West) – Kora Kendra Navratri Mahautsav
- Malpani Ground, Link Road, Borivali (West) – Meera Navratri Utsav
- Jasodha Rang Mandir, Vile Parle (West) – First Road Navratri Mahotsav
- Somaiya College Ground, Vidyavihar (East) – Ghatkopar Gujarati Samaj (Preity and Pinky)
- EsselWorld, Madh Island
- Bhavan’s College Ground, D N Nagar Road, Andheri (West)
- Police Hockey Ground, Near Eastern Express Highway, Ghatkopar (East) – Wadhwa Raas
- Tulip Star Hotel, Juhu Tara Road
- Kamgar Krida Mandal, Babasaheb Ambedkar Nagar, Dadar (West) – Broadscope
- Cricket Club Of India, Churchgate
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
- Falguni Pathak; her band is called “Tha Thaiyaa”
- Preeti and Pinky
- Manish Parekh and his band
- Devendra Joshi
- Bhumi Trivedi
- The Beaters, whose lead singer is Maneesha Savla
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).
Navratri Festival Dates and Dandiya Timing in Mumbai
- In 2013, Navratri festival starts on October 5, 2013 (Saturday) and ends on October 13, 2013 (Sunday).
- 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.
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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)