Aditi Panda

Bhubaneswar is ardently awaiting the Dandiya nights to add more excitement and joy to Navratri happiness

Today Navratri celebrations are imperfect without Dandiya Raas, the original customary dance from Gujarat, setting the festive mood .This trend is fast catching up in Odisha. Apart from Gujarati communities, big hotels and different puja pandals are organizing dandiya nights with the young and old making a beeline for these venues with the enthusiasm.
Traditionally, Dandiya is performed after the traditional Aarti to the goddess. The best part of this dance is the multicolored ethnic apparel worn by the dancers and the colorful sticks used adding colour to the festivity. The women wear bright embroidered ghagra-choli and bandhani dupattas dazzling with mirror work and matching chunky jewellery, while men dress up in their conventional colourful kedias.
In fact Dandiya is a mock representation of the fight between the Goddess and Mahishasura and the sticks represent the Trishul of Durga, depicting her strength. Women usually dance in graceful rhythmic manner in a circle as they turn around the ‘mandvi’. But nowadays it has become a little modern with a few actually using their aerobics steps.
“Once the music starts the mood changes and everybody on the floor start swaying to the beats in rhythm,” says Monika Parekh, an engineering student, who along with her friends visits every Dandiya in the city all the nine days of Navratri.
This year Dandiya nights are being organised at different hotels, BDA Nicco Park and Janata Maidan and normally start after seven every evening. The dandiya’s are available at a normal price at all the venues.The attire complements the groovy dance moves creating an aura of enjoyment and cheerfulness.
“Every Navratri night you spot people dancing away to glory on the beat of popular dandiya numbers and we have to give them something new every night to retain our customers. Every year we have a full booking and a big crowd at our hotel so we invite live bands for people to choose their own favorite numbers. Our add-on Bonanza is the different cuisine food stalls to satisfy the taste buds of our hungry and tired dancers to make the festival more energetic. We also have bangle corners, Mehndi artists, instant tattoo artists to satisfy our customers,” says Aniket Dasgupta, a Hotel manager.
Not only the Guajaratis’ staying in the state but the local populace and the youngsters revisit the dandiya venues to dance. Bhubaneswar is all set to welcome the dandiya fervor with glittering clothes and right moves to multiply the pleasure and joy.
(Aditi is a freelance writer and pursues interest in the area of social issues)