Here is a detailed account of all the aspect of the culture of Gujarat. Read the following line to learn all about rich and motley Guajarati culture.
Culture Of Gujarat
Gujarat which derives its name from the term 'Gujjar Rashtra' constitutes a culture which is formed out of mingling of diverse ethnic folks. The flourishing state of Gujarat with its cultural diversity forms an integral part of the Indian culture and has long been harboring both, the indigenous and foreign traditions. The Gujarati culture is an amalgamation of a plethora of traditions, beliefs, customs, arts, values with a tinge modernization as well. Around one-fifth of the population of the state comprises of tribal and aboriginal communities. All these constituent tribes and communities form a confluence that renders an enriched and versatile Guajarati culture which is evident in the state's distinctive dance styles, festivals, lifestyle and its cuisine. Though Gujarat is one of the most industrialized states in India, yet it has quite efficiently preserved its rich cultural and traditional inheritances since distant past. Read on to acquaint yourself with all the aspects of multifaceted Guajarati culture.
Arts and Crafts
Gujarat arts and crafts are famous throughout the world. The wide array of crafts which Gujarat specializes include metalwork items, furniture, jewelry, colorful linen, beadwork, leatherwork, mirror work, embroidered garments, baked clay articles, etc. Gujarat is well known for furnishings as well. It produces some of the most elegant ethnic craft pieces including some of the most exquisite cushion covers, tablemats, quilts and bedcovers which are available both in simple colorful geometric designs and complex patterns. The arts and crafts of the state have quite proficiently preserved the legacy of its glorious past. The garment industry of Gujarat is one of the most prominent in India which offers a wide range to the buyers. Some of the popular dress items of the industry include kurtas, salwars, odhanis, ghaghras, cholis, skirts and jackets, each of which are made from authentic hand block-printed material. Some of the finest hand-woven sarees produced today are Patola silk of Gujarat which is also known as the 'queen of all silks'. The place associated with Patola is Patan where dainty patterns are woven on sarees with extraordinary precision. Gujarat is also the home of a thriving textile industry contributing immensely to the arts and crafts of India. The textiles industry offers a huge variety for the consumers to choose from. Quite evidently the art and craft of Gujarat exhibits the lifestyle, its rich cultural inheritance and above all, the spirit of the state.
Four of the most prominent traditional dances of Gujarat are Dandiya Raas, Garba, Garbi and Padhar.
- Dandiya Raas owes its root to the days of Lord Krishna who played raas on the bank of Yamuna River with his beloved Gopis. During Dandiya Raas a motley assemblage of both men and women can be seen dancing holding two bamboo sticks, called dandyas in two concentric circles - one moving clockwise, while the other anti-clockwise.
- The Garba is also a traditional Gujarati dance mainly performed by females in a circular formation. While performing garba both men and women wear colorful costumes. The girls and the women wear Chaniya choli, a three-piece dress with a choli, a chaniya, as the flared, skirt-like bottom, and dupatta. Apart from these, women also adorn themselves with jhumkas, bindi and necklaces. The men wear kafni pyjamas with a kediyu - a short round kurta - above the knees and pagadi on the head with bandhini dupatta, mojiris and kada. This particular dance is performed around a clay lantern with a light inside, known as Garbha Deep. This lantern symbolizes life, particularly the fetus in the womb. Thus the dance is performed in reverence of the the feminine form of divinity.
- Garbi was traditionally performed only by men. On their way back home from the battle field the victorious army used to dance to couplets and amorous songs sung by the Charanswar, or the narrators who used to go to the front during the battle to raise the spirit by singing songs of valour. Instruments such as Dandiya, Dhol, Nagarha and Manjira are the main musical instruments used in Garbi. Today, however, females also participate in the dance.
- Padhar is performed by a rural community who live around Nal Lake. This form of folk dance particularly simulates the rhythmic movements of roving mariners and the ruffling sea waves.
Gujarati folk music is extremely rich and versatile and is also known as sugam sangeet. The range of instruments in Gujarati folk music include wind instruments like turi, pava,bungal, string instruments like ravan hattho, ektaro, and jantar and percussion instruments like manjira and zanz pot drum. The songs include bhajans which are categorized by theme of poetry/lyrics and also by musical compositions such as katari, prabhati, dhol etc. One more popular form of the folk music tradition of Gujarat is the baardic tradition. The Deviputra/Chaaran/Ghadhvi community has upheld and enriched the folk tradition of story-telling with or even without music. Some of the traditions include form of doha, chhand, sorathaa, bellads etc.
Gujarat consists of a population belonging to various castes, religions and communities. Consequently there are a number of varied languages that are spoken across the state. The official language of the state is Gujarati which is an Indo-Aryan language derived from Sanskrit. Gujarati is the 26th most widely spoken language in the world. Gujarati has as many as eleven dialects, spoken in different parts of the state. As Gujarat also shares borders with some states such as Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan hence there is a small population which speaks the respective languages of the different states also, namely Marwari, Hindi, and Marathi along with Urdu and Sindhi which are also spoken Gujarat. The people belonging to the Kutch region speak in Kachchi, an important language of the region.
The cuisine of south Gujarat is somewhat similar to that of Maharashtra. While in South Gujarat, the diet principally comprises of jowar, in Saurashtra and North Gujarat, the diet consists mainly of bajra and Maize. However today, wheat forms an integral part of the Gujarati platter that is used in many distinctive ways. Some of the most popular and delicious Gujarati dishes which is savored all around India include dhokla, fafda, dhal dhokli and dal wada.
Gujarat is a religiously diverse state. Followers of all religions such as Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Buddhism, Christianity and Zoroastrianism reside side by side in Gujarat. Hinduism is major religion of the state, as many as 89.09% of the total population of the state is Hindu. Most of the Hindus follow either Swaminarayan Hinduism or Vaishnavism. Muslims form the biggest minority in the state. Outside Maharashtra and Rajasthan, Gujarat is inhabited by the highest population of the Jains. The Zoroastrians, also known in India as Parsi and Irani, are believed to have migrated to Gujarat to in distant past and have since been a part of the diverse Guajarati culture.
Fairs & Festivals
During various fairs and festivals thousands of tourists pour in each year from all across the globe to witness the rich and diverse cultural heritage of this part of India. Some of the major Gujarati festivals which are celebrated with great vigor and enthusiasm are Rathyatra, Navratri Mahotsav, International Kite festival, Holi and Deepawali. Some of the most important fairs held in Gujarat include Bhadra Purnima Fair, Shamlaji Melo and Mahadev Fair.
All of the above mentioned ingredients converge to form a versatile and diverse Guajarati culture which is prevalent in its lifestyle. Despite modernization and industrialization, Gujarat has somehow been able to preserve all the rich cultural and traditional legacies of dance and art which the land has been harbouring since time immemorial.