Navratri festival is considered to be the biggest celebration of the year especially in Gujarat where it involves vibrant dance performances too. The festival is celebrated as a great cultural extravaganza in Gujrat. Devotional songs and dances like the ‘Dandiya Raas’ and ‘Garba Raas’ are main attractions of the festival. People carry out sacred gatherings and organise ‘jaagrans’ in which they stay awake throughout the night to please the Goddess. Dandiya and Garba dance are the folk dances in Gujarat in which both men and women dress up traditionally and dance enthusiastically all through the night.
The celebration of Navratri festival in Gujarat starts with the Ghatasthapana. Like any North Indian State, in Gujarat also, the first three sacred days are devoted to Goddess Durga ’the Goddess of victory’, the next three to Goddess Lakshmi ‘who blessed with wealth and prosperity’ and the last three days to Goddess Saraswati ‘the Goddess of wisdom and art’. On the fifth day of Navratri, Lalitha Panchami ritual is held that is dedicated to Goddess Saraswati. During nine days of Navratri, Gujrati people get more spiritual and also keep fasting till nine days.
Navratri celebration in Gujarat is organized on a big scale. Huge Pandals are created in a vast ground and many small pandals are also created in many localities for the celebration of Navratri. The clay of Goddess Jagdamba idol is placed for worshipping in these pandals and dances are also performed throughout the night. There is so much crowd in these huge pandals that all the devotees who want to play garba raas, have to take identity paases to enter in pandals. The old stories of Lord Krishna and the Gopis relations, love and their engaging emotions, also make their way into the garba raas music. Year by year, Navratri festival celebrations bring innovation in traditional music and dance, choreography and people’s costumes. People of Ahmedabad celebrate Navratri festival, by playing dandiya raas with great pomp, devotion and passion. Rajkot, Vadodara and Surat are other famous cities to witness the Navratri celebrations in Gujarat.
One of the most important and biggest fair Dangs Darbar is also held annually in Ahwa, Gujarat. It is also known as Janambadi Darbar. Thousands of people from many cities of Gujarat and other states also join this fair for enjoyment. Dangs Darbar fair attracts many merchants from Ahmedabad, Nasik, Surat and from other cities too. Viewers can feel and see a close look of Gujrati culture and traditions through the performance of Garba raas, dramas and songs. These performances are the most important attractions of the fair.
Gujarat government organizes the Navratri celebrations for the people of Gujarat and also for increasing tourism in Gujarat. From the last two years, Gujarat government had organized religious festival Navratri beneath the banner of 'Vibrant Gujarat'. People from all over the world come to Gujarat to feel and enjoy the traditional dance and celebrate religious festival Navratri. Definitely there are many magical and truly unforgettable memories that one can collect during Navratri in Gujarat.