It’s that time of the year again when skinny jeans and LBDs ( little black dresses) are replaced with chaniya cholis and ghagras, and city pubs are no longer the most happening spots as denizens flock to the various venues organising garba and dandiya nights. Navratri is no longer confined to the Gujarati or Marwari communities with Telugus, Punjabis, Sindhis and Bengalis here taking a keen interest in the festival and organisers of Navratri special events claiming that the budgets and the footfall have gone up by nearly 50 per cent in the past few years. Although the festival begins on Tuesday, the Navratri fever has already gripped the city with denizens enrolling themselves in dandiya and garba workshops and attending some special pre-Navratri events and contests.
Organised at a budget of around Rs 1.5 crore, some of the biggest dandiya events in the city have managed to rope in big ticket sponsors and are expecting at least 12,000 people to visit the venue daily. Out of the total budget nearly Rs 3 lakh is spent only on the massive sound equipment while the orchestra costs another Rs 1.5 lakh. With such huge crowds, the tight security measures including multiple bouncers, CCTV cameras and guards too take up at least Rs 50,000. Mukesh Ojha, one of the organisers of Nandu Bilal Navratri Dandiya Utsav held at Malla Reddy Gardens in Bowenpally said, “Previous year, on the last day of the event around 18,000 people turned up at the venue and we were forced to close the gates as the area was packed.
“This time we are expecting even more people to come forward. The number of non-Gujaratis and non-Marwaris attending these events too has increased multifold.” He added that this year, the venue is being decorated in the theme ‘Brindavan’ centered around the Radha Krishna dieties and popular singers from singing reality shows will be performing at the event. Organisers of other events like the Naamdhari dandiya festival organised at Imperial Gardens in Secunderabad and Garbarass Ni Rumjhut, a garba competition held recently in the city too noted a increase in interest towards the festival among the people belonging to other communities.
This is also reflected in the rising number of people enrolling for dandiya classes and garba workshops in the city. Ambika Jain, who has been organising a dandiya workshop in the city for the past 10 years said, “We got around 800 enquiries for the workshop and this is increasing by at least 20 per cent every year. The number of such classes and workshops too has increased from around two or three 10 years ago, to a minimum of 10 across the city now.” Owners of various stores in the city too reported a rise in sales during this period. Nimit Shah, proprietor of Kutch Kala Darshan, a traditional apparel store in the city said, “Sales increase by 50 per cent during Navratri and we get special stock of ghangras, chaniya cholis and kedias from Gujarat.
“For the past three to four years, we have more Telugus, Sindhis and Punjabis coming in to purchase the traditional dresses than Gujaratis.” Sandeep Agarwal, managing director of Ratnadeep stores too said that sales increase by at least 30 per cent during this time as this is considered an auspicious period to make any purchases, big or small. He added that at home, Navratri is celebrated by observing a fast for nine days, conducting puja at home and visiting temples.
News source: TimesofIndia