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Culture & Festivals
India | Gujarat | Nadiad

Festivals of Gujarat :

Festivals in Gujarat are characterized by color, gaiety, enthusiasm, prayers and rituals. Foreign travelers are struck by the scale and multiplicity of Indian festivals that have evolved in the society.

Navratri :
Navratri, meaning 'nine nights', is an ancient and colourful festival. It honours the one Divine Shakti or Force which supports the entire universe, and is personified as the Mother Goddess. She protects her worshippers, destroys evil and grants boons to her children. The Mother Goddess has seven well - known forms, depending upon the special powers she manifests. Throughout Gujarat, Navratri is celebrated with joy and religious fevour.

   

Janmashtmi :
Janmashtami, the birthday of Shri Krishna, is celebrated with great splendour. Rows of lights are lit everywhere, kirtans and bhajans are sung, sermons are delivered and Krishna is worshipped in his infant form. Thousands of people go to Dwarka to visit the temple and participate in the fair. After visiting the main temple, devotees go to Shankhoddhar Beyt. There are some other important temples, both old and new. Among these is the temple of Shank-Narayan, dedicated to the Matsyavatar, the incarnation of Vishnu as a fish. This was constructed over 200 years ago.

   

Uttarayan (Kite Flying) :
The International Kite Festival is always held at Ahmedabad on January 14, to coincide with the festival of Uttarayan or Makar Sankranti. It is a joyous day, with a bright sun, clear skies and breezes strong enough to lift innumerable kites aloft. It is in fact a celebration to mark the end of winter, when the heat of summer is still to come. Kites are flown all over Gujarat, and Ahmedabad and Baroda become cities of kite-flyers, when all other work is forgotten and cares are put aside for the morrow.

   

Kutch Mahotsav:
Like so many other regions of Gujarat. Kutch has its own distinctive character. It is, in fact, a peninsula, lying between the Sir river, the Sir Creek and the Great Rann of Kutch on the north-west, and the Gulf of Kutch on the east. The country is somewhat bare and wild, with some cultivated fields near the villages. It has a remarkably heterogenous population, who belong to 18 different tribes, each with its own language and culture. Yet Kutch, with its colourful people, historic towns, and remarkable handicrafts, has much of interest to offer visitors. 

   

The Sun Temple, Modhera Dance Festival:
The ruins of the 11th century Sun Temple at Modhera in North Gujarat, are an impressive sight. It stands on a knoll in the village of Modhera, eighteen miles south of Anhilvad, the former Hindu capital of Gujarat. Modhera was evidently a site of great importance at one time. The style in which the temple was built bears a strong resemblance to that of the Jain temples at Mount Abu. The outer walls of the temple are covered with sculptures in which figures of Lord Surya are naturally prominent. The idea that inspired the festival is to present classical dance forms in an atmosphere similar to that in which these were originally presented. So successful was the presentation, that a decision was taken to make it an annual event. The Dance Festival is scheduled to be held during the third week of January every year, after the festival of Uttarayan.

   

Tarnetar Fair:
There are many fairs in Gujarat where numerous tribal people gather on special occasions to participate in the various activities that take place at the fair, whether these are religious or secular, and to enjoy themselves thoroughly. The Trinetreshwer Mahadev Fair at Tarnetar, near the industrial town of Thangadh, Saurashtra, is one such fair. It is believed that the fair has been held on this ancient site since antiquity. The fair is linked with the story of Draupadi's swayamvar and it is said that it was at this place that the great archer Arjuna performed the difficult task that won him his bride. A pole was erected in the centre of the kund and a fish was kept rotating at the top of the pole, at top speed. 

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