The city of Ahmedabad is hosting one of the grandest Navratri festivals in India. The inaugural day witnessed a myriad of events and performances which were enjoyed by many government and social figures besides visitors and tourists.
India’s western-most state hosted the Vibrant Gujarat Navratri Festival 2016, a ten-day long festival to celebrate the auspicious Navratri, a religious period observed in various parts of India. The inauguration of the festival was done on October 1 by the state’s chief minister, Vijay Rupani.
Dignitaries such as Nitin Patel, Deputy Chief Minister of Gujarat, Ganpatsinh Vasava, Minister of Tourism of the Government of Gujarat, Pradipsinh Jadeja, Minister of Law, Government of Gujarat and Kamleshbhai Patel, Chairman, Gujarat Tourism, were present at the event along with many other officials from the Gujarat government and ambassadors of various countries.
The much sought after Navratri festival is being celebrated on the GDMC ground in Ahmedabad. The inaugural event saw crowds in great numbers and the footfall is expected to grow over the days of the festival as compared to previous year.
“Last year, there were over 600,000 people who came to the event. This year we are expecting this number to go up. We are expecting over 800,000 people,out of which 300,000 will be foreigners,” said Vasava, while addressing the representatives from the Indian media.
Vasava also delivered the welcome address which was followed by speeches from various officials present at the event. CM Rupani lit the ‘lamp of humanity’, a giant, stainless-steel lamp which is a major attraction at the event; it has been claimed by the authorities to have entered the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s largest floor lamp. The lamp has been created by Dr Braj K. Shukla from the Institute of Plasma Research in Gandhinagar; it aims to deliver the message of humanity to the world.
The lighting of this lamp by a laser torch was followed by cultural performances. Dancers performed Garba and Dandiya, two traditional dance forms specific to the festival and the state. ‘Shakti Vandana’, an act depicting and explaining the mythology behind the Navratri festival, garnered huge applauses from the audience. The audio-visual act was put together by school children. The event is to see more dance recitals and festivities throughout.
The festival has a lot to offer to visitors and tourists. The massive GDMC ground is lined with stalls selling traditional Indian artefacts, jewellery, apparel and food items.Miniature model structures depicting major tourist destinations of the state are at display along with posters briefing about each of them. There are also sculptures on display conveying the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi’s message of ‘Swachh Bharat’ (Clean India).
Moreover, the Chief Minister unveiled the trophy of the Kabbadi World Cup 2016 and announced that it will be hosted by Ahmedabad from October 7 to October 22. Captains of six out of the twelve participating nations, namely Argentina, Bangladesh, Kenya , Iran , England and India were greeted by the CM and were presented with Dandia Sticks, or props used during the traditional dances, as souvenirs.