Garba sans women at Bhadrakali Temple in Gujarat

November 14th, 2007 - 2:28 am ICT by admin  
Porbandar, Oct.18 (ANI): Garba dance is normally performed by women. But at Gujarat’s Bhadrakali Temple, this traditional form of dance is performed only by men. It is called Raas Garba here.

Women are neither allowed to participate in the Raas Garba nor attend the function. Though, the dance form is dedicated to Goddess Bhadrakali.

After praying at the Bhadrakali Temple, the males here perform a special Garba, known as Raas Garba. The participating males sport caps, especially designed for the occasion.

The Garba dancers have to perform barefoot.

“Males play Garba by wearing their caps and one has to play here with barefoot. Old musical instrumental are played here,” said Nilesh Rana, a singer.

“Only men play and sing in this Garba and no women are allowed to enter,” said Bavangiri Ramdatrai.

The tradition is believed to have started long ago and is still a favourite amongst the people. It is gradually becoming popular in various other states as well.

“Our ancestors started this form of Garba . The males play the Garba for the mother Goddess,” said Ramji Babhaniya, the organiser.

Dandiya Raas and Garba dances are said to have originated in Gujarat and Sindh (now in Pakistan). These traditional dances are performed during Navratri, which is the longest Hindu festival celebrated all over India for nine consecutive nights in praise of Lord Rama and Goddess Durga.

Garba is performed before Aarti (worshipping ritual) as devotional performances in the honour of the Goddess while Dandiya is performed after it, as a part of merriment. While Garba is performed exclusively by women, men and women join in for Raas Dandiya.

The dancers whirl and move their feet and arms in a choreographed manner to the tune of the music with lots of drum beats. The drum is used as well as complementary percussion instruments such as the Dholak, Tabla and others.

Originated as devotional Garba dances, which were performed in Durga’s honor, this dance form is actually the staging of a mock-fight between the Goddess and Mahishasura, the mighty demon-king, and is nicknamed “The Sword Dance”.

The sticks of the dance represent the sword of Durga.

The women wear traditional dresses such as colorful embroidered Choli, Ghagra and Bandhani Dupattas (traditional attire) dazzling with mirror work and heavy jewellery. Whereas men wear special turbans and Kedias (the short frock), but can range from area to area. (ANI)

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