Gujarat’s traditional dance form, “Garba,” has been added to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list, becoming the 15th cultural element from India to receive this recognition.


Garba is a vibrant and energetic folk dance form originating from the state of Gujarat in India. It’s traditionally performed during Navratri, a nine-night festival celebrating the Hindu goddess Durga.

Meaning and etymology:

  • The word “Garba” comes from the Sanskrit word “Garbha,” which means “womb” or “embryonic life.” This reflects the dance’s connection to creation, fertility, and the cycle of life.

Dance form:

  • Garba involves circular movements around a central focal point, typically a lit lamp or a representation of the deity.
  • The dance is characterized by rhythmic footwork, graceful hand gestures, and vibrant costumes.
  • Traditionally, it is performed by women, though men can also participate.

Music and instruments:

  • Garba music is lively and upbeat, featuring traditional instruments like the dhol (drum), shehnai (oboe), and tabla (pair of drums).
  • The songs often praise the goddess Durga and celebrate themes of devotion, joy, and community.

Cultural significance:

  • Garba is a deeply ingrained part of Gujarati culture and holds immense social significance.
  • It brings people together, fosters a sense of community, and provides an opportunity to celebrate faith and tradition.
  • Garba has also gained popularity outside of Gujarat and India, becoming a symbol of Indian culture and heritage globally.