Dandiya and garbha workshops mark Navrati celebrations in Visakhapatnam

The festivities include colourful decor, fusion wear and elaborate satvik food spreads

October 03, 2022 12:40 pm | Updated 01:49 pm IST

People participating at a dandiya workshop by fitness instructor Faiz Begum for Navratri

People participating at a dandiya workshop by fitness instructor Faiz Begum for Navratri | Photo Credit: KR Deepak

“It’s a celebration of life. This Navratri is special as festivities are back after two pandemic-hit years,” says dance and fitness instructor Faiz Begum, who runs a fitness studio at Narasimhanagar in Visakhapatnam. Faiz has just concluded her fourth dandiya and garbha workshop and says the response has been overwhelming. “People from all age groups turned up, many were first timers. The zeal to get together and be part of the celebrations is at an all-time high this year,” she says. Decked up in bright decor, Faiz’s studio exudes the cheer and energy the festival symbolises.  

With the start of festivities, Visakhapatnam is seeing many such festive congregations. Several dandiya and garbha workshops have come up, bringing together people from across communities.  Madhu Singh, who runs a fitness studio at Shivajipalem, has just concluded a month-long dandiya and garba workshop. She says: “The workshop culminated with an event last weekend which saw over 200 people participate. This time, I choreographed sequences on 20 songs.” Dressed in colourful attire, participants strike the wooden sticks to the rhythmic beats of garba music, going clockwise and anticlockwise. “Garba and dandiya are a lot about repetitive steps. When we add Bollywood style to them, it becomes energetic and breaks the rhythmic pattern,” adds Madhu. Faiz has introduced salsa dandiya in her workshops this year. “It is like a partner workout. The fusion is slow and flowy and can be paced up depending on the music. We did a two-day workshop on this style in which 90 people participated,” says Faiz, who has been conducting dandiya workshops in the city for over a decade. 

Women dance at the garba and dandiya event organised in Vijayawada

Women dance at the garba and dandiya event organised in Vijayawada | Photo Credit: KVS Giri

Navratri traditionally involves dancing all night during the nine-day festivities to celebrate the victory of good over evil. At Radisson Blu hotel, members of Rotary Club of Visakhapatnam will dance till midnight at the dandiya event to be held on September 30. Two DJs from Hyderabad have been flown in for the celebration that will kick-start in the evening. “We have got dandiya sticks painted for every guest. There are surprise gifts too in store for participants,” says Mushthri Althaf of Rotary Club of Visakhapatnam. As part of the event, there will be a few Gujarati dishes and a Satvik spread (no garlic and onion vegetarian dishes) for guests to relish on.  While traditional ghagras are the usual favourites, this time people are experimenting with fusion wear as well. “I prefer to fuse styles from my wardrobe for dandiya workshops and events. It can be a personal style statement and is also comfortable and can be reused later. This time I combined a short kurti and dhoti pants,” she says.  

A pot of rosogolla

A pot of rosogolla | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Navratri is also about fasting, but there are special spreads at city hotels and restaurants for those who want to indulge in a special meal. Radissa, a restaurant at Waltair Uplands, has curated a menu corresponding to the nine colours of Navratri. “Our platter includes four vegetarian dishes prepared without garlic and onion. The colours are from vegetables. For instance, on day two which symbolises the colour red, we used beetroot for that dash of red,” says Radhika Satish of Radisa.  Hotel Radisson Blu has dished out two different festive menus at its restaurants Ethnic and 365. A Satvik thali with a combination of Gujarati and Andhra dishes is part of the menu at Ethnic, while an a-la-carte Bengali feast is being offered at 365. “For the Bengali and Gujarati community of the city, the feast will be a way to go back to their roots and savour popular dishes of the regions,” says Sujit Chakraborty, the chef at Radisson Blu. 

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