Like every year, the Gujarati community in the Capital celebrates Navratri by rejoicing the divine one with prayers in the form of garba (music and dance). And to keep its authenticity and tradition alive, the community distances itself from the commercialised dandiya nights being organised these days.
At Gujarat Samaj at Civil Lines -arguably the oldest organisation of the community in Delhi formed by the first Gujarati settlers over a 100 years back - the festivities started on Tuesday in a purely traditional way.
"It begun with a sthapna (installation of the Garba, a symbol of Mother Goddess) and will end with visarjan (immersion). More than 500 people, many in traditional attire, will come and be a part of the celebration every night. There is no disco dandiya system here, its pure religious," one of the organisers, Umesh Manek, said.
According to Jagdip Rana of the Gujarati Education Society, Lodhi Street, four organisations in the city organise similar garbas."Every day, the puja starts with lighting of diyas and an aarti. Men, women and children pray and celebrate the divine through dance. We don't use any film songs," Rana explained.
At Pitampura's Gujarat Apartments, on Ashtami (eighth day of Navratri), an aarti of the deity, which the organisers claim is made of 21kg pure silver, is conducted with 1,008 earthen lamps. "Bands and musicians are brought from Gujarat to give the revellers a taste of folk music from home," Sangam Shah of the Navratri Utsav Mandal, Gujarat Apartments, said.
Organisers at Gujarat Vihar, IP Extension, and Patel Samaj, Janakpuri, too, are focusing on devotion and celebration, staying away from giving a Bollywood colour to the festival.
Even non-Gujaratis are taking interest in this primarily Gujarati-only affair.
Bhavna Gupta, a 34-year-old boutique owner from Daryaganj, who has been attending a month-long garba workshop, organised primarily for the non-Gujaratis at Pandara Park, was brimming with excitement as she recounted her experience.
"They teach you all the moves with so much care. Even elderly people have been part of the workshop," Gupta recounted.
Professional trainers from the Rang Milan group in Ahmedabad came and taught 500-odd Delhiites, which included 400 non-Gujaratis.
"There is a lot of interest to learn Gujarati folk dance among people from outside the community. However, the songs we use are all devotional, no Sheila or Munni stuff," Abhishek Naga, one of the workshop organisers, said.