Shikha Dholakia

13 Years

53 Years

Anand Vidya Vihar School


Vadodara’s traditional Navratri Garba|Blog by Shikha, 13

Let’s head West – To Vadodara where 13 year old Shikha tells us all about Navratri – 9 days of the dancing festival called ‘Garba’ and why you don’t need to know dancing in order to enjoy it. Must read!

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Vadodara’s traditional Navratri Garba : Why it is the best
The clapping of hands, the hitting of dandiyas and the rhythmic beats to which girls and boys in their prettiest dresses dance, take us all back to one word, one event and one thing- NAVRATRI!
The 9 days of every year celebrating Navratri are considered to be one of the best and the most profound times and experiences in a person’s life. People from around the world come here to India just to experience these 9 days of dance that we call as Garba!
I have been in love with Navratri from as far as I remember! We used to be checking our calendars to make sure no event is planned for the days of Navratri and they all used to be worth it.
My mother used to dress me up as if I was a pro at Garba- beautiful chaniya choli, pretty makeup and the right jewellery would make me feel all set for Garba. The cheers, claps and shouts in the ground can get anyone motivated to dance. If you don’t know the dance, it doesn’t matter. Just get in the ground and let your feet show off their magic!  I was so into Garba that I took lessons on how to ace the steps. I along with my mom and my sister, went to dance classes for hours just to learn the steps, and try to win the Garba competitions. Over the past few years now things have changed. I have been going to Navratri with my friends and have just enjoyed my heart out. The funny part about Garbas are that there are no fixed steps, you can do anything you like on the beat and it would seem as if you are a trained professional. Navratri is all about celebrating, enjoying, forgetting the number of assignments you have due, and just enjoying your life to its fullest.
Navratri has been celebrated all over India, from Maharashtra to Gujarat, from Assam to Kashmir, Garba has left its mark everywhere you go. The celebration of Garba in the Sanskari Nagri of Gujarat- Vadodara hits different. Garba in Vadodara is something you wouldn’t wanna miss.
What makes Vadodara Garba truly unique is the tradition. Despite Bollywood songs taking over everywhere else, Vadodara is the only place that still dances to traditional garba songs. From years and years, this legacy of writing traditional songs, singing  them and dancing on them have continued. At the end of all Garbas we have an Aarti held to thank the goddess for everything she has given, be it knowledge, talent or a pure heart.
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We have over 20 Garba grounds, from Lukshmi Villas Palace which is the best Garba ground, to VNF (Vadodara Navratri Festival), From VNM to BCC, these grounds have tens and thousands of enthusiasts playing.
Luxmi Villas Palace ground has over 45,000 people playing and Navratri is considered to be one of the best festivals to bind the bond between- families, friends and neighbours. We met so many people who we haven’t even interacted with in ages! Garba is hence a festival everyone looks forward to.
When the beats go as, ‘Gori Radha ne Kano kaa, garbe ghume gori maa’, people and their feet go perfectly in beat and sync! The love the people show towards Navratri is just phenomenal.
People here are crazy in love with Navratri, this year’s Navratri in particular was simply the type I would have not wanted to miss. My sister’s friends came all the way from Mumbai just to play Garba, and I must say they loved it indeed, with no practice they played Garba gracefully for the whole of 3 and half
hours! Hats off to their energy and enthusiasm.
It’s now safe to say that Navratri needs no rules, needs no permission, it just needs compassion, dedication and that feeling of giving your best and enjoying your heart out.
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