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Shree Jalaram Mandir hosts colorful Raas-Garba

By Suresh & Usha Bodiwala

Chicago IL (Oct 14, 2014): On Friday, October 10th 2014 Shree Jalaram Mandir hosted colorful Raas Garba Ramzat with International artist Mayuri Patel and group which were attended by over 1000 people. This annual event is celebrated during the festival of Navaratri honoring Goddess Durga. The event was held at Harper College’s gymnasium from 8 PM till about 1 AM.

The college gymnasium was transformed in a huge dance floor to accommodate hundreds of enthusiastic dancers who came in large numbers to participate. Ranging from young children to teens, adults and seniors were seen dressed in colorful Indian clothes apt for the occasion. Navaratri season is never complete without the energetic Garba and Dandiya performances in Chicago which attract large turnouts. This year was no exception, as people thronged the Harper College gymnasium with family and friends to enjoy an evening of dancing and fun.

The evening commenced with a short prayer to Goddess Durga which was rendered by the priest before dancing started. Mayuri and her group began singing traditional garba songs which brought the crowd to the dance floor. People began dancing in a large circle around the picture of Goddess Durga which symbolizes that God is the center of our lives. The circle formation also has additional significance. The circle formed by dancers represents the cycle of life and its never-ending nature, tenets of the Hindu belief of reincarnation. The dancers moved with fluidity, grace, flexibility, and synchronized clapping of their hands to the music being performed.  
Navratri not only symbolises the victory of good over evil (Goddess Durga's victory over Mahishasur) but it also celebrates the spirit of Indian culture and togetherness. Garba or Dandiya, are dance forms which were earlier performed only in Gujarat, but now they are popular all over the world. The organizers have hosted this event every year to bring people of all cultures together to celebrate this happy festive season with friends and family.

Board of Trustees, executive committee members and volunteers must be commended for careful planning and execution of this event which brought great joy and excitement to the audience. Sponsors and vendors participated by displaying their banners and holding booths to promote their business. Snacks were available for sale and were managed by temple volunteers.

Events like this encourage people from all walks of life to come together and participate in a festive atmosphere, develop lasting friendships and promote Indian culture and traditional dance forms. It helps to pass on our rituals and customs to the younger generation of children growing up in America. For this purpose, the organizers deserve immense recognition and appreciation.