Navratri is the world’s longest dance festival. Celebrated in dedication and worship of Durga, Navratri is celebrated with much pomp and joy in India. The literal meaning of Navratri is ‘Nine nights’ and like the name truly suggests the festival is celebrated for nine long nights. In these nine days, devotees worship nine different forms of Devi and the tenth day of this festival is called Dussera or Vijaydashami. One of the most prominent and significant festivals, Navratri is celebrated all across the country and also Nepal. There are a total of five different types of Navratri that is celebrated, but of all the other types the Sharada Navratri is the most popular and that is exactly what we are talking about here. Though there are many states and cities that celebrate this festival on a grand scale, if you want witness the best celebrations, Gujarat is where you should be. You can witness the celebrations and the vibrant dandiya night in Gujarat. Though Mumbai also puts up a pretty grand and fancy show of dance which is also called as garba or dandiya, Gujarat is where you will also get to see the many traditions associated to it. Gujarat gas many different dance forms put to display like garba and dandiya and many more. We have listed down some of the best places in Gujarat where you can witness and be a part of Navratri celebrations. So get ready with all your colorful outfits to groove to the Navratri beats in Gujarat.But before we take you through the best places in Gujarat for Navratri, let us give you the importance and significance of this beautiful festival.Also Read - New Zealand to Tour Pakistan After 18 Years, Will Play Limited Over Cricket

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Significance of Navratri

It is believed that early spring and also the beginning of autumn is considered to be very auspicious to worship Durga who is a Hindu deity. This time is considered auspicious since the beginning of both autumn and spring is when significant junction of solar and climatic influences happens. The dates of Navratri are usually determined based on lunar calendar. It is during Navratri that the practice of wearing a particular colored dress is followed. You must be well aware of the nine different colors that are followed on each day until the last day. And as per that, women dress up in that color. Also Read - IDBI Recruitment 2021: Simple Graduates Can Apply For 920 Executive Posts. Apply Today at idbibank.in

This practice is followed across the nation, even at work places. Navratri also greatly symbolizes celebration of Amba( The Goddess of Power). If the beliefs are anything to go by, it is said that before Pandavas and Kauravas waged war against each other, Krishna had prayed and worshiped Durga for power so that the Pandavas could win the war. The very first incarnarion of Shakti is said to have been found as Shailputri. And the other incarnations of this goddess are: Siddhidatri, Mahagauri, Kalaratri, Katyayani, Kushmanda, Chandraghanta and Brahmacharini. These nine different forms of goddess are worshipped as Nava Durga during Navratri. This is the significance of this beautiful and vibrant festival that goes on for nine long days and is nothing less than a fest.

History of Navratri

And there are also many fascinating stories about the history of this beautiful festival. And if the stories are anything to go by, it is said that Mahishasur who was a demon has been granted with a boon by Agni who is the fire god. As per the boon, Mahishasur couldn’t be destroyed by any kind of weapon that would have a masculine name. Taking disadvantage of this boon, the demon spread his terror and destruction all over. Immensely worried at the destruction being caused by this demon; the Gods sought help from Shiva. It was then that Shiva suggested the incantation of Shakti( Goddess of Power). The Gods together prayed with great dedication and devotion and as answers to their prayers, a shine emitted from the heart of Shiva and with the bodies of each god, Shakti was formed also known as Adhya Shakti. She fought with all her might for nine days to kill Mahishasur.

On the tenth day, finally, Shakti beheaded the demon and brought an end to this evil force. That is how the nine nights were known to be as Navratri and the tenth day as Vijaya Dashami. On the Tenth day, an effigy of the ten headed demon-Ravana is burned which greatly signifies the victory of good over evil and this day is celebrated as Dusshera. This is one story that is popular among people. It does make for an interesting story with a good message. The other story is this– It is also said that Uma who is another form of Sati, along with her four children- Kartik, Ganesh, Daraswati and also Laxmi visits her parent’s house during Navratri. Sati as per mythology had committed suicide by jumping into a yagna(fire) because she couldn’t tolerate the insults thrown at Shiva by her father King Daksha Prajapti.

The King loathed Shiva since Sati had married him against his wishes. However, Sati was reborn as Uma and she got back Shiva as her husband yet again. It is from this moment that she started visiting her home every year since peace had been restored. These are some of the many popular legends and stories that have been going around relating Navratri festival. And as a part of the celebrations, people dance in joy worshipping Durga and also Saraswati and Laxmi.

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Now that you know a little bit more than usual about the festival, its history and its significance also, here are the places that you must visit during Navratri. In Gujarat, the dance festival is also called as garba. Gujrati Garba is when people form a circle and dance in synchronized steps that usually involve a lot of clapping and twirling around. The dance happens on music and singing that is done live by many artists.

Dandiya is another form of dance that is done with sticks, again in a circular motion. These dance forms all over in Gujarat and among the entire places some of the best is Vadodara that is popularly called as the cultural capital of Gujarat. Many Bollywood celebrities visit garba events in Vadodara that are much more full of life and vibrant. Navratri attracts many tourists to Gujarat from all over the world. While it is known as Navratri in Gujarat, it is called Durga Puja in West Bengal and Dussehra in several other parts of the country. Call it whatever you like, the only thing that you must know right now is where to be to experience the best of Dandiya nights.

The United Way Garba, Vadodara

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One of the most well known dandiya event in Vadodara is the United Way Garba. Of the several good reasons, one of the top reason why it attracts so much crowd every year is the perfect combination of good and renowned singers and an excellent, full of live ambiance. It is said that United Way Garba sees at least 30,000 people every night. Isn’t it too much? You need to be here to know why this event is so popular and a favorite among so many people. The management of this event makes sure that the arrangements are to the nines and the security is in place. The beautiful fact about this event is that the event was started for a good cause  and continues to do so.

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The money that is raised from this event is given to 140 charitable trusts and organizations all across the city. It takes place in Alembic Ground every year and you need to book your tickets well in advance. They have their very own Facebook page and also a website that you can contact for bookings. This event has proved to be a great success for them since the last 28 years. The most important highlights of the United Way Garba Festival are not just the dancers but also the decoration of the place that is done so beautifully for Navratri. 35,000 male and female dancers register online for this event and it also has 70 different cuisines being served at different stalls. Each day, the committee members distribute prizes for winners of the varied competitions that they hold all the nine days. In fact their website also reads a tagline- “Fundraising for improved quality of life of the poor and vulnerable.” Now, if not for the love of dance and this festival, you could be a part of this good cause at least and do your bit.

Vadodara Navaratri Festival

Another great place to witness dancers dancing away to glory is the Vadodara Navaratri Festival that is a new yet one of the best events. The event was first held in 2015 and this year too it has organized a special Dandiya event. The lead singer this year for the Vadodara Navratri festival is Gautam Dabir who will also be accompanied by other singers like Shyam Ghediya and also Seema Deepak who has been performing for garba events for almost 25 years now. She with her sisters is popularly known as the Chokshi sisters. The event will be held at Navlakhi Garba Ground in Rajmahal road.

Mirchi Rock N’ Dhol, Ahmedabad

The Mirchi Rock N’ Dhol is one of the most distinct garba and dandiya event in Ahmedabad. Not only is this event unique in its own way, but because of its vibrancy it also manages to attract 50,000 people who flock here to be a part of the merriment. And you might not believe us, but this event has an excellent line up of many artists that come from all over India to perform each day in this nine day long dance festival.The Mirchi Rock N’ Roll Dhol will be held at Aman Aakash Party Plot beside Trust Nagar Society, Shreyas Crossing Road and this year it starts from October 2 till October 10. You can book either a season pass or you could also get daily tickets that cost between Rs 300 to 350. For bookings, you can go to bookmyshow.com and get your tickets from there. Do not miss one for anything since it is one of the most popular in the city. Dress in your best and put on your dancing shoes for this event. The experience with Mirchi Rock N’ Dhol is going to last in your mind for quite some time.

Maa Shakti Garba, Vadodara

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Listed in the Limca Book of World records, the Maa Shakti Garba festival is another biggest event that happens in Vadodara. And Vadodara being the cultural capital of Gujarat, there are no doubts about how grand Navratri is celebrated there. In 2004, 40,000 dancers took part to be a part of this World record. And hence today it is the biggest garba event in the world. Now what better place than this to visit during Navratri, right? This year the event will take place the at Gujarat housing board ground in Samta Road and for tickets you can log onto their website.

Shankus Dandiya, Surat

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This year’s Shankus Dandiya is organized b the AMZ Navratri Group. This group is a pioneer in organizing such fun filled events and Navratri is one of their forte. AMZ is known to host many events like award function and weddings too. Being so popular and one of the best in India, there is no doubt that The Shankus Dandiya is going to be a truly memorable experience. The Shankus Dandiya in the previous years had seen many artists perform for them like Sharib and Toshi who have sung for many Bollywood movies. It will be held at the Surat Exhibition and Convention Centre and unlike other open air dandiya nights, this one is usually held inside an AC Dome. Staring from October 1st to 11th, the dance and festivities will begin each day from 7 pm.

If you are planning to be a part of this event, make sure you get your tickets booked from book my show well in advance. This year’s Shankus Dandiya will see artists like Chetan Rana who has been giving live performances like this for quite some time now. Apart from him, Rajesh Modi, Priya Patidaar , Zarna Kotecha and Sania Rawani are the other artists who will perform. These artists are live performers and have a good experience of performing at different festivals. The prices of the tickets range from Rs 500 to Rs 1000. It has been classified under Diamond, Gold and Silver and each the day the prices may vary. Keep your outfits ready for the 11 day long dance festival that expects to see at least 20,000 people.

Friends Garba, Ahmedabad

Unlike other garba and dandiya events that happen in the state, the Friends Garba in Ahmedabad is hosted only for two days. It hosts one of a kind dance party and you will absolutely love it if you love dancing, especially dandiya. Though it is hosted only for two days, it sees a huge crowd. People in large numbers flood to this place and in no time the whole area is swarming with people. But that in no way is an obstacle to your dancing fun. Friends Garba is awaited by people every year and why not. They are the perfect combination of tradition, culture, fun, music, dance and also spectacular décor. Organized in the Akash Aman Party plot, this year the festivities and celebration will happen on the last two days of Navratri that is on the 8th and 9th of October. You drop an email to friendsgarba@gmail.com for any enquiry on bookings. If not you could also call on +91 99-13-666333 & +91 8758-700999 to get your bookings done. Usually the ticket price for this event is Rs 1000 and the Friends Garba is in their twelfth year. Get your tickets at the earliest before they are all sold out.

Apart from this, since Ahmedabad and Vadodara are two of the most popular and biggest cities of the state, the other well known garba and dandiya events are hosted by the Gujarat Tourism at the GMDC ground. They not only have garba, but also have handicrafts and other fun activities to keep the kids entertained. They also host a state level garba competition that sees many skilled dancers from all over participating. So you now know where to go in Gujarat to have the time of your life experiencing both traditional and modern ways of Navratri celebrations.

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