The glitz and glitter of ‘Dasara’ or ‘Navaratri’ have soaked the city in festive euphoria. With every passing year, the celebrations have become brighter and the ecstasy has reached new heights. While last year the festivities were unusually mellowed down due to the uncertainties and agitations ahead of the state bifurcation, this year the city has turned on the shimmering festive spirit with added vigour heralding in changes and the beginning of the season of festivals.
This is the time to pick up the ghaghra cholis and get on the dance floor to swirl to the Dandiya Raas. Starting this weekend, a number of organisations are celebrating the spirit of ‘Navratri’ with dandiya events in north Indian style.
PRAG’s Cultural Society will be celebrating their dandiya festivities at The Gateway Hotel from September 30 to October 4 with the Mumbai-based orchestra group ‘Sankalp’. Garba, dandiya and Sanadio performances will mark the celebrations here. One of the oldest associations to take forward the Navaratri celebrations in traditional way, PRAG has seen the festive culture in the city grow, involving people from all communities and regions. “Today, there are not just the Marwaris and Gujaratis who take part in the dandiya celebrations, but every community looks forward to come together and be a part of the Dandiya Raas,” says Mahendra Tated, a member of PRAG.
Corroborating his view Rose Bennett, a Malayali resident of Vizag, says, “We see the festival as a natural way of celebrations, irrespective of religion or culture. In fact, my daughter Sheryl has been an enthusiastic participant of the dandiya programmes every year. This is one event that has still not lost its traditional flavour; therein lies its beauty.”
Sheryl, who is a student of class 10, had her dandiya attire finalised well ahead of the festivities. During her last trip of Rajasthan, she picked up a few ghaghra cholis to look her best for the festival this year.
The euphoria among people was evident in the dandiya workshops that were held for 10 days before the main event started.
“The dandiya craze has grown bigger over the years. Now people want to perfect the styles of dandiya and garba and present an immaculate performance during the main event days,” says Nilesh Jain of Gravity.
Gravity is back with its infectious spirit of dandiya. Being organised at Hotel Novotel, its ‘Dandiya Dhamaal Dobara’ celebrations will go on till September 28. The preparations started weeks before the festivity began.
Dance moves apart, dandiya nights are also an occasion to flaunt traditional fashion styles and decorative dandiya sticks. “Neon-coloured dandiya sticks are the flavour of the festive season. We have brought the dandiya sticks from Ahmedabad and also introduced UV lightings this time. The neons attain a character of their own under the UV lights,” says Nilesh.
Dandiya is also a fun way of keeping in shape and banishing stress. According to fitness experts, it is an excellent form of exercise that is emotionally, mentally and physically satisfying. No wonder that fitness studios in the city where abuzz with people of all ages religiously attending dance workshops to shed the extra kilos and flaunt their best body.
For the ones who are looking for a combination of the traditional and the modern, Round Table India’s Disco Dandiya Night on September 27 at Hotel Gateway may be the right platform. DJ Gangu will be playing a series of foot-tapping numbers on the dandiya beats. There is also a charitable side to the event. “The funds raised through the programme will be used to construct a school in Kothavalasa,” says Subhash Agarwal, a member of Round Table India.