Posts Tagged ‘Festival’

The celebration on the foothills of Mount Girnar takes place on Maha Shivratri every year and is entirely dedicated to Lord Shiva

VIBRANT GUJARAT is not just a coined term. It finds proofs in the people, activities, fairs, festivals and variances of the state. Gujarat comes alive with much enthusiasm and energy at the times of celebration. Its vibrancy is witnessed by the people, who without any differences come under one roof to rejoice at the fairs and festivals. One such charming fair, woven with culture, traditions, heritage and rituals is the mammoth Bhavnath Fair of Junagadh in Gujarat.

Bhavnath Fair is celebrated on the pious occasion of Maha Shivratri every year. It is a five-day extravaganza commencing from the Hindu calendar date of Magh Vad 11, during the months of February-March.


The much-famed Bhavnath Fair is celebrated on the foothills of Mount Girnar. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva; Bhavnath Mahadev Temple is the host for the fair. The temple is placed near Damodar Kund. It celebrates the vitality of the Shiva cult. During Shivratri – the marriage ceremony of Lord Shiva, according to the Hindu myth, a five day Bhavnath Fair, is held with great zeal.

The place buzzes and bustles with the presence of diehard worshippers of Lord Shiva. They believe that the Lord himself visits this place on Maha Shivratri. Mount Girnar is home to 9 immortal Nathas, and 84 Siddhas, all of whom are believed to visit the shrines in invisible spirits on the occasion!

Pilgrims take a 7 meters long Parikrama of the Holy Girnar before visiting the fair. About one lakh visitors throng the place for the auspicious celebrations, most of them from Gujarat and Marwad. The lively and colorful local communities of Ahir and Mer are the most attractive among them all.


A distinct attraction of the Bhavnath Fair is the participation of the Naga Sadhus aka Naga Bavas. These sages are the ones who actually commence the fair celebrations. They are practically nude. A strong belief among these sages is that the whole world is their home and the sky is their cover. They need no clothes to cover their bodies, as they are ‘sky dressed’. They have accepted nakedness as a part of life.


The Bhavnath Fair begins with rituals on the moonless night of Maha Shivratri. It is believed that Lord Shiva performed his dance of destruction ‘Tandava’ on this night and a Mahapuja was performed to honor this action of the Lord. The Naga Sadhus arrive seated on elephants. They are seen holding flags and are all decked up with ornaments. They lead a procession to the Bhavnath Temple that marks the commencement of the mystic celebration. This religious march on a dark night is one of the grand attractions of this fair.


The Naga Sadhus blow conch shells, tungis, turis and drums that create a religious and emotive atmosphere. This procession is then followed by an exhibition of the grand sword fights and other activities by the sages. The wrestling at the akhadas is a unique blend of dance and martial arts. The march reaches the Temple’s Mrigi Kund at 12 in the midnight.


A belief of the Puranic era has it that the Shiva Ling at the Bhavnath Temple has emerged out of its own divine intentions, without any human intervention. The Mrigi Kund is considered auspicious as while travelling over Mount Girnar, Shiva and Parvati’s divine garment fell over the place. Shiva worshippers strongly believe in this legend and even today, the Naga Sadhus are known to bathe in the holy Mrigi Kund before joining the Maha Shivratri procession.


Apart from the offerings to the deities and the decked up Shiva temples, there are performances of dance, music and traditional Bhavai theatre. The colorfully clad tribes with dazzling ornaments at the fair are a treat to the eyes.

Stalls are set up for copper and brass utensils, idols, rosaries and holy beads brought from Ayodhya and Mathura. Mouthwatering sweets at the food stalls and the free meals served by the organizers to the devotees are yet another motivation for a visit to the fair!


Bhavnath Fair is an example of the strong beliefs and rituals of the people of Gujarat. It is a place to lose oneself to the rhythmic experience and honor the 5000-year old Hindu traditions. It captures the senses of all humankind. The richness of our heritage is on display at the fair.

The Bhavnath Fair is a look into the roots of our culture and traditions. It is a real beauty, equally passionate, intense and mystical.

Do not miss on the magnificence of the event and get enthralled from head to toe – The hustle-bustle begins on 3rd March 2011.

Read original article at:

Gujarat is not all about Garba – Modhera Dance Festival proves this fact. Classical dancers from all parts of the country take part in this grand occasion and enthrall the audience. Professional artistes as well as emerging talents perform at this annual festival. A signature celebration of the Gujarat Tourism Department, the festival aims at providing prominence to Indian Classical and Folk Dance and to present these dance forms in an atmosphere they were originally presented in.
The beautiful Sun Temple at Modhera acts as the venue for the Dance Festival. The architectural style of the temple is superb and lots of efforts have been made in the past on its adornment. The walls contain the sculptural carvings that speak of the rich cultural heritage of Gujarat. Though the temple of the 11th century is in ruins, it is considered as one of the best examples of Indian art and architecture of the bygone era.The temple is dedicated to Lord Surya (the Sun God) and its outer walls are covered with prominent figures of the Lord. The style in which the temple was built bears a strong resemblance to that of the Jain temples at Mount Abu.Modhera is located in North Gujarat and is 25 km away from the town of Mehsana. The temple was built during the reign of the Solanki king Bhimdev I. The most fascinating feature of the temple is that its construction is such that sun’s first rays illuminate the main deity in the innermost chamber of the shrine, through the main doors.


This festival of dance is also called Uttarardh Mahotsav. This name is derived from the placement of the Sun. The festival is held after Uttrayan, the time when the sun starts his voyage towards Uttar or North indicating the end of winter and the beginning of longer days with a pleasant breeze. During Uttrayan, the Sun transmigrates from one planet to the other; it travels from Dhanu or Sagittarius to Makar that is Capricorn. Halfway through this voyage, the time when ‘ardh’ or half of ‘uttar’ or Northward journey is over, the period is known as Uttarardh.


The delight is to watch the performers blend in the ambience and bring life to the sandstone figurines of the temple, singing and narrating legends of history.

The main highlight of the Modhera Dance Festival is the typical Garba performance that depicts the glorious culture of Gujarat. People attired in colorful costumes perform the Garba dance. The whole atmosphere is so breathtaking that it leaves the audience totally spellbound. Dance troupes and performers from all regions of the nation bring along a panorama of varied dance forms and styles, interlaced with the essence of their origins. It is during this time that Modhera witnesses large number of crowds, who come here to witness this fabulous occasion and take pleasure in watching the varied art forms.


The festival is attended by art and dance connoisseurs from all across the world. Classical and folk dancers and musicians from different states of the country exhibit their talent while culture enthusiasts witness this splendid event. Inhabitants and natives from nearby villages also are an indigenous part of the occasion.

Some of the people who grace the marvelous Dance Festival are Vaijyanti – a Kuchipudi dancer, Kathak dancer – Padmashree Kumidini Lakhia and Parul Shah – Bharat Natyam Dancer. The festival has gained popularity as it showcases the participation of the leading enthusiasts such as Padma Vibhushan Sonal Mansingh and her group as well as Bharat Natyam dancer Ilakshiben Thakore.

The tourists thoroughly enjoy this Dance Festival, as they get a chance to see the dance forms of ancient as well as contemporary India simultaneously.


The festival takes place every year in the month of January. The schedule for this year is 21-23rd January. The festival has too much to offer – an experience of the living heritage of Indian dance and music while traversing back in time sitting in the lap of golden history.

Read original article at:

Walking in white salty Rann of Kutch in the full moon night, visit to India-Pakistan International Border, newly declared protected wetland Chhari Dhand, India’s western most point Lakhpat fort, Handicraft villages, ethnic culture, Kutchi music, Gujarat’s oldest museum at Bhuj, watching Rann of Kutch from the top of Kutch’s tallest mountain: Kalo Dungar, Foxes being offered food by saints, visit to Mandvi’s traditional ship making industry, Mandvi beach, visit to palaces… Ah, these can the best annual bash this year-end. These and many more are the celebrations lined up for the Rann Utsav 2010.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Also called the Kutch Utsav, the tourism authorities of Gujarat organize events in Kutch to showcase the rich culture of this district, one of the largest in India. It is a three to four days of cultural extravaganza organized at different locations within Kutch. The fair is like a mirror to the traditional art forms and culture of Gujarat. There is a perfect blend of enthusiasm, creativity and spirit of celebration that glorifies the magnanimous aura of Rann Utsav.

Celebrating Rann Utsav year after year and adhering to the high standards that it has set for itself is no mean feat, but the people of Kutch have managed to do it admirably for years together and the present year is not going to be an exception either. The 2010 version of the Rann Utsav will be the longest till date, with the event slated to last one whole month this time. The celebration is being organized by the State Government and the Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Ltd.

The Rann Utsav will be held from December 19, 2010 to January 18, 2011 while the main event will be organized between December 19 and 22. The village of Dhordo, where the permanent tents are set up, is expected to see an influx of tourists during the Rann Utsav 2010 which is expected to be an elaborate affair.

Kutch is a unique manifestation of nature’s blessings along with the talents gifted to the people. Also, the people of Kutch are known for their hospitality and warmth of conduct. And the spirit of these Kutchi people comes alive in this festive environment of the Kutch Rann Utsav. The people of Kutch are defined through the creative ingenuity of the artisans and craftspeople, assorted array of folk music and performances, mixed representation of culture and communities and a vast diversity in ecology.
Apart from the local residents, the festival is visited and enjoyed by more than 8000 tourists from all over the world. This is the only time when natives of the region and travelers along with Government administrative officers come together to celebrate the mystical magic of Kutch and its diversity.

The celebratory festival begins in the Bhuj city and goes around the district with a grand finale again being held at the preliminary destination. It is an unparalleled showcase of the ethnic, widely different yet hugely diffused spectrum of Gujarat’s traditional art forms. The grasslands of Banni, a semi arid area also showcases the wide range of arts and crafts of the region, a feat that the people are justifiably proud of. The most enchanting experience in the festival is the presentation of different art forms, dances and music during the shade of Full Moon and in an aura of chilling winters. The spirit of the Kutch region is depicted with style at the festival with the aid of dances, music and pageantry which is colorful to say the least. Generally coinciding with Shivratri, colorful fairs are also held near the beach or the banks of a lake.

New Year celebrations will also be a high point of the Rann Utsav, 2010 with water sporting events being organized at the Mandvi Beach and a photograph gallery being set up at Kutch. Ten food stalls will also be engaged in serving authentic Kutchi delicacies which will undoubtedly make celebrating Rann Utsav a memorable event compelling the visitors to come back for more every year.

Other attractions are palaces, museum and royal cenotaphs of Bhuj, the beaches and palaces of Mandvi, the holy lake of Narayan Sarovar, the craft villages of Banni, bird rich marshes, rural lifestyles and beautiful handicrafts, it is a potential paradise for the tourist. Plenty of colorful dancing, music concerts, ‘Sindhi bhajan’ performances, ‘Langa’ desert music, folk arts and craft demonstrations, ballads and other ethnic shows are some of the many highlights of this festival. Stalls sell embroideries, jewellery, woodcarvings and other regional handicrafts.

Rann Utsav is an ideal occasion to be part of the region and experience the zeal and uniqueness of the people through a celebration of life! It is an ultimate combination of fair-trade, relationship and sharing of life & ideas among people from different places. Kutch has got some of the unseen places to visit which you may cherish all your life! If you have missed it until now, don’t regret, start packing your bags. The D-days are at a stone’s throw.

Read original article at:,%20CULTURAL%20ETHOS_342