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Dandiya Raas

The land of Gujarat is very rich in various dance forms and arts. The people here celebrate many festivals and in these festivals, one can clearly see some of the exclusive and amazing dance forms. These dance forms are full of joy and celebrations.

The history of these dance forms go back to the times of Krishna where the musical instrument ‘flute’ played an important role. The dances of Gujarat are not only popular in the state but are also known in the outside world as well. Dance forms like Garba, Garbi and Raas are famous throughout the world.

Dandiya Raas

One of the most famous dance forms of Gujarat is the Dandiya Raas. Here Dandiya is a name given to the wooden sticks which are used in this dance. The sticks represent the sword of Godess Durga. This dance form is performed from the times of Lord Krishna. He used to perform this form along with his gopis.

In this dance form men and women form concentric circles and these circles move in opposite directions. Here the amazing part along with the footsteps is the way the sticks are used. The sound of the sticks is very sweet and this sound becomes the Centre of musical rhythm played during the dance.

Men and Women participate in this dance form with colorful cloths and matching jewelry.  As this dance allows men and women to have eye contact this dance is very popular among the youth. Dandiya is performed with a lot of joy throughout the country and hence the government arranges for people to enjoy Dandiya.

Dandiya Raas is played during the festival of Navratri. The festivals of Navratri consists of nine days and during all these days’ men and women with colorful clothes and lot of energy play this amazing dance form. The festival is a tribute to the nine incarnations of the mother Durga and devotees pay their homage and respect to the goddess during this festival. Playing Dandiya is also a way to show the respect towards Goddess Durga. As the name suggests the most important aspect of this festival is the Dandiyas or the wooden sticks. As the dance occurs in moving circles the energy required to play Dandiya is enormous and to play it for a long time requires great stamina. The Kathiawari groups of dancers are very famous players of Dandiya .

This dance form of Dandiya Raas has given the state of Gujarat a worldwide recognition and people throughout the world play this dance form during Navratri. But the biggest and the most amazing celebrations of Navratri take place in Gujarat and this a matter of pride for all the Gujaratis.


‘Raas’ is a Sanskrit word and its use is very ancient. It is believed that Lord Krishna use to play ‘Raas Lila’ which means playful dance with the other women in the society which are known as ‘Gopis’.

Amongst Indian Diaspora

In the modern day the Raas is performed in a slightly different way where young people of Indian origin mix strong drum beats along with the music of Raas and perform the dance including some stunts. This kind of dance forms is not new in United States. Some believe that Raas reflects the beating of heart and the circle of life and thus it becomes very meaningful. Thus the Indians staying away from the country somehow manage to create the desi atmosphere abroad also.

Costumes and Music

As these dance forms represent joy and celebrations women and men participating in this dance form wear very heavy and colorful cloths. The traditional wear for women is long skirt with embroidery known as ghagra and blouse which is traditionally known as choli. Men wear turbans which are specially designed for this festival and are beautiful. The traditional dhoti is also very famous men. The jewelry is very heavy and the cloths are full with embroidery and mirror work.

The Music is loud and fast. Dhol is the primary instrument along with other instruments. The common step in this dance form is a whirl or a circle around the dancer himself. The movement of the feet is also very important in this dance form.

Difference Between Dandiya and Garba

The prime difference in that Dandiya is played with sticks while Garba involves body movements. Also the steps of Dandiya Raas are circular and thus are more complicated than that of Garba.

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