September 27, 2021 3:50:46 pm
In India, the latter half of the year is peppered with many festivities and cultural events that keep the country buzzing. While festivals such as Krishna Janmashtami and Ganesh Chaturthi are over, people have already started planning for Durga Puja and Navratri, both of which are elaborate celebrations that go on for many nights, and honour Goddess Durga or Shakti, the feminine force that Hindus believe keeps the balance of the universe.
In Navratri, the Gujarati community participates in Garba and Dandiya celebrations, which are essentially dance forms dedicated to the Goddess.
Indian Express photographer Nirmal Harindran recently clicked some dancers during a practice session on the eastern side of Sabarmati river near Jamalpur, Gujarat. Take a look at the photos.
For the uninitiated, the Garba dance form is associated with heavy, opulent and colourful outfits, with matching head-gear and other such paraphernalia. It is a cheery dance form with reverential roots, done in circular movements with a singular focus on the deity Amba, another name for Durga.
Navratri celebrations begin around September-October time, but the preparations start months prior. These dancers seem professional, going by their attire, on which they must have spent months of creative energy.
As you can see in the photos, a dancer’s head-gear/turban featured actor Sonu Sood and PM Narendra Modi. The actor became something of a national hero in the pandemic, owing to the way he helped people during the migration stages and in the severe second wave, which claimed many lives earlier this year. The PM’s vaccination drive, on the other hand, is believed to have benefited many in the country.
It is, therefore, ideal that people celebrate the contributions of those who have made a difference, while safely participating in festivities in the pandemic that continues to rage.
In Garba, hand-clapping and finger-snapping is done, along with taking intermittent rounds in keeping with the music. Once it begins, people fall into a hypnotic sync, and it makes for a brilliant cultural extravaganza.
Women, especially, look deific in colourful ghagra-choli, nose ring, maang-tikka, bangles, earrings, anklets, and such.