Garba dance gaining foothold in Nagpur

Nagpur: The traditional Garba dance has gained much popularity over a period of time in the second capital of Maharashtra here, which has a sizeable mix of Hindi, Marathi and Gujarati population.

Come Navaratri and the city based cultural organisations and NGOs start preparing themselves for the annual event.

Some organisations like Sankalp run by Gujarati Jain community members have developed the event in a big way and have successfully roped in newspaper organisations as event partners besides sponsors.

The Gujarati community is mostly spread in eastern part of city and localities like Queta Colony, Wardhman Nagar, Bagadganj and Lakadganj, which have been conducting Garba dances since long.

The Patel community mostly organises Garba dances in Patidar Samaj and keep away from media glare.

Due to stiff competition, big newspaper groups have joined the members of the community in becoming partners of the event. Some of them invite readers and subscribers to join the dance and even hold dance classes for 8-10 days to give them a festive feel.

Some five star hotels coming up here, too have joined the Navaratri celebrations and are offering their spacious lawn for holding dances during the festival, which witnesses a large number of Marathis.

A prominent city businessman Harish Vora who runs a travel agency and an luxury inn said that if non-Gujarati speaking people are taking interest in the festivities, it helps tourism indirectly.

People from the city are making bookings to visit Gujarat and see for themselves actual festivity colours in places like Ahmedabad, Vadodara and others, he said.

As for celebrations, some play garba to earn the blessings of the goddess. A good number among the elderly people here, however, take it as a part of relaxation, pleasure and an opportunity to connect with the new generation.

Just to match the speed and steps of youngsters, Bhawna Ben said that every year she attends a practice session of one week.

"Playing garba gives me positive energy. In these nine days, except yoga I don't have to do my regular exercises. The dance itself relaxes me completely," said another participant attending the class.

Many are awaiting vibrant performances by noted festival singers like Phalguni Pathak.

Last year during such a show some revellers climbed the stage and starting dancing with her, recalls Chandrakant Wasnik, a resident from the city.