Dandia Raas, originally a Gujarati custom related to Durga Puja that gained popularity in Mumbai, has now conquered Braj, especially its youth. There were several places where this festival was celebrated in Braj on Vijaya Dashami.
The most exciting evening was staged by the Mathura Women’s Youth Development Committee at the Shri Group’s Radha Valley development. The program featured performers from Gujarat and Maharashtra, guest appearances by TV artists, and 150 Brajavasi children who had received 15 days of training in the dance. They danced to Gujarati songs and film songs until midnight.
It was an opportunity for Brijvasis to meet TV artists and to do the dandia dance. The Shri Group was the principal sponsor of the evening. Shri Group Chairman Pradip Agrawal and manager Pradip Mathur inaugurated the program with a lamp lighting ceremony. Alok Yadav of the Shri Group said that this was the first time that such a program had been arranged in Mathura.
Among the celebrities who participated in the evening were Puja Joshi, who plays Varsha on Star Plus’s popular series “Ye rishta kya kahalata hai ?”, Veebha Anand, who plays Sugana in Balika Vadhu (“Child Bride”), MTV Rock On singer Abhinanda Sarkar, and Mumbai band Ruckus.
Dandiya Raas is originally a Gujarati custom that has spread throughout north India and beyond. Sometimes called “India’s great social dance” it is a circle dance with both men and women participating in pairs, like the original Krishna Rasa Lila, but the dancers hold decorated bamboo sticks called dandias in their hands. At the end of these “dandias”, tiny bells or ghungroos are tied, which create a jingling sound when the sticks are struck with each other.
The dance is said to represent the fight between Goddess Durga and Mahishasura, the mighty demon-king, and the sticks held by the dancers represent the sword of Goddess Durga. It is thus also sometimes nicknamed ‘The Sword Dance.’
Choreographers from Mumbai had come to Mathura and Vrindavan to teach local children the steps over the past 15 days at Shriji Baba’s Ashram. 150 persons, many of them children from poor families, learned the dance and participated on Sunday.
Head of the Committee Asha Agrawal said that the training would help the children become better citizens. Getting them to participate in a creative event and charming cultural evening would be delight for everyone.