India | Gujarat

Garba Dance

Garba is a popular folk dance of Gujarat. This circular dance form is performed by women on Navratri, Sharad Poornima, Vasant Panchami, Holi and other festive occasions. The dance is mainly performed as a reverence of Goddess Ambaji, an incarnation of Shakti.

The word ‘Garba’ is derived from the word ‘Garbha Deep’ which means a lamp inside a perforated earthen pot. The light inside the pot symbolizes life. In this dance form, women place the pot with the lamp on their heads and dance in circles, clapping their palms or snapping their fingers, to the accompaniment of folk instruments.

Garba Dance usually starts at night. An image of the goddess or a lamp is kept in the centre and around it women form a circle. The dance begins with slow tempo and eventually reaches a fast tempo. A drummer who sits in the centre keeps the rhythm.

Sometimes the dancers carry a Mandavali, a small canopy made of bamboo chips covered with a red silk piece, on their head. Mandavali symbolizes the temple of the goddess. They dance with it and later place the Mandavali in the centre. Women are seen embellished in traditional Gujarati clothes.

Dhol (double-sided drum) and Nal are the major musical instruments which accompanies the dance.

Nowadays men also participate in Garba Dance.

Garbi Dance is a form of Garba Dance, widely performed by the men folk of Gujarat.

Updated on 7th June, 2005


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