Gujarat’s popular folk dance, the Garba has been added to UNESCO's intangible cultural heritage list. It is the 15th ICH element from India to join this list.

It is a proud moment for the State of Gujarat which has come into the limelight as Garba has been added to the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) of Humanity by UNESCO. Under the provisions of the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage, this inclusion was made.

With this, 15 elements from various parts of India have been inscribed to UNESCO’s representative list of ICH. India’s age-old traditions and cultural marvels like Ram Lila, Kumbh Mela, and Durga Puja are already a part of the UNESCO list.

"Garba as a dance form is entrenched deeply in ritualistic and devotional roots, involving people from all walks of life and it continues to thrive as a vibrant living tradition bringing communities together," an official release said.

Widely popular in Gujarat, this dance is dedicated to the Goddess Durga and is performed during the nine-day Hindu festival of Navratri. The word Garba comes from the Sanskrit word for womb and so implies gestation or pregnancy — life. Traditionally, the dance is performed around a clay lantern with a light inside, called a Garbha Deep ("womb lamp"). This lantern represents life and the fetus in the womb in particular. The dancers thus honor Durga, the feminine form of divinity.

Dancers form concentric circles, moving gracefully to rhythmic beats and claps. Adorned in colourful attire, participants showcase intricate footwork and hand movements. Garba's lively energy, rich cultural symbolism, and joyful atmosphere make it a captivating expression of Gujarat's cultural heritage. One great way to experience the beauty of this vibrant performing art is to become a part of it.

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