The most famous is the Dandia form in the Raas Garbha among today’s
generation especially during Navaratri. Navaratri is a nine-day festival
dedicated to Goddess Shakti. ‘Navratri’ in Sanskrit literally mean nine
nights. The Dandiya dance is the most popular among the youth for it holds a
special significance in the Navaratris. Dandiya Raas is performed in the
honor of Goddess Durga. It is the representation of a mock fight between the
Goddess and Mahishasura - the mighty demon-king. The sticks of the dance
symbolize the sword of Durga. Usually women perform the dance as they move
around the ‘mandvi’. According to the ritual, Dandia Raas is performed after
the Arti i.e. worshipping the deity. This dance, thus, has a special
relevance to Navaratris.
It fills the air with festivity while the dancers are dressed up in colorful, traditional attires. The women performers wear elaborated long skirts (ghagharas) and cholis, with their head covered with odhaani;while the men wears kediyum (shirt) and vajani (trouser) with a printed scarf on their head. The well-choreographed dance of Daandiya leaves the spectators mesmerized.
With changing modern times, these days, Dandia Raas is performed in clubs. While Dandia is played merrily among the young people during Navaratris, there are other kinds of Raas dances. For instance, the Gof variety of the raas is a meticulous dance art that involves dancers carrying colorful strings and making patterns while they dance.
Also, Mers of Saurashtra are called as Mer Raas, and the shepherds’ dance is known as Gheria Raas. Further, dances like Tippani, Dangi Nrita, Hudo, Hallisaka, Dholi Nritya etc. are community dances. These dances form an integral part of the Raas Garbha as they stand for communal peace and harmony.
Garbha makes Gujarat a tourist spot during the nine days of Navaratri. Though, Gujarat is not the only place where Garbha is played out. Rajasthan too links the tribal, rural and urban is interlinked. Also, Ahembdabad is another hotspot for Garbha. Also, Baroda, Poshina.