Friday, November 9, 2012

Ahmedabad Trip: Garba Nights

I planned my trip to Ahmedabad at the time of the Navratri, so that I could enjoy world famous Gujarati dance, i.e. Garba and Dandiya. My friend's explanation was so elaborate, and enticing, that missing Garba, this year, was inevitable. So in the Navratri I was in Ahmadabad for three nights and each of the three nights was Garba night due to my friend's efforts.

Garba and Dandiya are Indian forms of dance these were originated in Gujarat, an Indian state. Many traditional Garbas were performed around a central lit lamp of different avatar of Shakti Maa, but now Garba has been changed drastically over the years. Now Garba has mixed with Dandiya and it has become more vibrant, and dynamic. Traditionally guys wear Kurta-Pajama and girls wear Chaniya-Choli-Dupatta. It is celebrated in the Navratri, 9 days celebration, just before Dussehra.

On day one (Seventh day of Garba), we reached to the party hall quite late, but the hall was lively, and completely packed. It was filled with vibrant colors, loud music, and enthusiastic Gujjus. Thousands of people, who were dressed in colorful and traditional Gujarati attires, were present in the hall and they were dancing with never lasting enthusiasm. Atmosphere at the hall was highly jubilant, and elated.

Though the hall was filled with few thousand people, but nobody, in the entire hall, was concerned about others. Everyone was enjoying so much that the existence of others was inconsequential.

After  Music was halted.
We started the Garba without losing any other moment. First I learned a few steps, and I joined the group. Though my confidence level was low and my feet were not dynamic, but still I tried my best to maintain the rhythm with others.

Due to the regulations in Ahmadabad, music stopped at 12AM, and all of us had to leave the party hall. As our night started couple of hours back, so after leaving the party hall, we went to the hotel for the dinner instead leaving to our homes. We had the special Gujarati dinner which was delicious, but it did not have any Gujarati dish. After having the delicious dinner, we all departed to our homes.

Next day we went to Chokhi Dhani. We were late again, and by the time we reached to the place, people had started leaving. Even after, so many people had already left, the hall was yet overpopulated, and the remaining bunch was not in any mood to stop. Music was loud and wild. Everyone was fully engrossed in the beats. Due to the yesterday's dancing experience, I was able to move my feet at the Garba beats. We formed a circle and danced around it. Lot of people joined our formation, and sometimes we joined other formations to keep the Garba alive.

Again, the Garba lasted for one hour only, but this hour was filled with fun and it was highly rejuvenating. People were gasping for more, but there was not any music for them.

Group at second day@Chokhi Dhani
Though the Garba was over, but the night was still young and refreshing. We had tea at a closed shop and later had the dinner on a road side restaurant. At the restaurant, we treated ourselves with the south Indian food which was cooked in the Gujarati style. Till now I was not able to find a decent Gujarati restaurant, so at-least one more day I had to wait for the Gujarati meal.

Earlier I had planned to leave the next day, but citing a holiday on Vijaydashami; I stayed there for one more day. As it was last, and the most important day of Navratra, so I planned to spend this auspicious day with my friends, instead spending this day in the train.

Third night was way too bigger than first two nights. We went to ONGC Ground, Ahmadabad. It was big stadium filled with thousands of people. This ground was divided in 2 different parts. One was a circle in the middle of ground where only girls were allowed whereas remaining people were allowed outside this circle. This time we reached to the ground around 11PM. Last night we all lacked a good group. People who accompanied us in last days were busy with some other friends. Due to this, we ended with the people who were more interested in sexy girls in the ground.

People performing garba@ONGC Ground
Time stops, but clock does not. After 2AM we all were forced to leave the ground. We returned to the society and it was still active, and alive. Most of the residents were out in the garden and they all were enjoying the Dandiya. So after playing it in a smaller group for some time, we joined all of them. After spending an hour in the Dandiya, we roamed in the streets which were still filled with people. Every street had one tent to play the Garba. Whether the street was a small, or a big street, or belonged to the paupers, or the riches, it had its own establishment of Maa Shakti.

Dandiya at the Society Garden.

I completely enjoyed the Navratra in Ahmadabad. It was not the dance, it was not the beats, it was not the time I spent but it was the energy of the people. In these days, you do not need friends, and you can mix with anyone and everyone. It is much more than Diwali in north India; it is much more than Teej in Rajasthan. It is as big as Chrismas, but it is more social than this. Every person irrespective of age, sex, and religion enjoys the festival of Navratri and beats of the Garba.

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