Dance to the beat of "dhak" and "dhol".
It’s that time of the year when the unique beat of the ‘dhak’ and the ‘dhol’ reverberates everywhere. Dark thoughts are left behind as the city celebrates the grand nine days of unadulterated joy during Dasara or Durga Puja. The six-day annual fest starts with Panchami and ends with Vijaya Dasami and is considered to be the mother of all festivals. This year the Puja commences on September 23. Festivities revolve round mythological tales and in this case, the most accepted one is the slaying of the demon king, Mahishasura, by the Goddess. The tale goes like this: The demon king ,who with the help of a boon from Lord Brahma and Shiva that no living man or God would be able to kill him terrorised the three worlds. The Goddess being a woman, kills him on the Maha Ashtami Day. Though she is worshipped as the epitome of ‘Shakti’, the Bengali culture uniquely places her in their heart as a member of their family. They welcome the Goddess as their daughter who comes on an annual visit to her parents’ place for five days along with her children: Ganesha, Karthik, Saraswati and Lakshmi.
The young and the old do let their hair down and dance through the night, whirling and spinning to the beats of the Dandiya. The night glitters along with the enthusiastic crowd dressed in dazzling clothes exuding the festive spirit.
Young people and those young at heart dress up in multihued chania cholis, accessorised with jewellery to a very satisfying effect. The musical extravaganza begins with fusion of popular film numbers matched with the rhythmic beats of Dandiya music.
Clad in eye-catching costumes, the dancers start off with slow movements before the music turns pulsating. So intoxicating is the rhythm of the music and dance that even people who just come to see the show, are soon tempted to jump on to the floor.
The traditional dress for dandiya is the folk costume i.e. a small coat called kedia, with tight sleeves and pleated frills at the waist with embroidered borders, tight trousers and colourful cummerbunds.