As Navratri celebrations commence, spaces across Kolkata are gearing up for the annual revellers. While some venues groove to dandiya beats all nine nights, most places have dedicated dance nights on the last three days of Durga Puja. My Kolkata brings to you the best spots in town to show off your dance moves…
One of the oldest Navratri celebrations in Kolkata, the parking space of this office building on Rabindra Sarani transforms into a garba ground. Entering its 60th year, Madan Mansion is a favourite among purists, and hosts traditional garba and dandiya dances on all nine nights of Navratri — the only place in the city to do so. It is also the only place where people play garba around the aarti mandap, a practice that was kept alive even during the pandemic. A prominent attraction is the lighting of 108 diyas on one of the days.
This year the festivities will be on from September 26-October 5, from 10pm onwards.
If Madan is the traditional, the garba and dandiya night at JW Marriott, Kolkata, on the EM Bypass, represents the modern, attracting youngsters since its inception. JW arguably hosts the most popular Navratri celebration in the city, with competitions across categories (under-17, 17 to 35, and above 35). The dance floor and puja mandap are kept separate, with everyone gathering to play after the aarti. While the general garba-dandiya rounds wrap up by 1 am, competitions continue till 5 am on most days. People have even been known to keep dancing till 8 am on Navami. Make sure you partake in their sanedo round!
The dates for this year are October 2-4. The events begin at 7pm each evening, single day passes are for Rs 500 and season passes for Rs 1,500 (food coupon worth Rs 300 included).
The Spring Club
Much like JW Marriott, The Spring Club is known for hosting prestigious garba-dandiya competitions. They have a plethora of rounds including the prop round (people are judged on how they incorporate props like ghungrus and umbrellas into their dance), teen taali round and thaali decoration round. While the playing area is small, it sees an overwhelming response due to the elaborate spread.
This year's dates to be announced.
Lakshmi Narayan Temple
Being a temple, this is less about the dance and more about devotion. Free and open to all, Gujaratis assemble at this Ballygunge temple in traditional ghagras, offer their prayers to Goddess Ambe, and partake in ceremonial garba and dandiya.
Held on all nine nights from 4pm-6pm.
Shree Calcutta Gujarati Samaj
Another space that focuses on more traditional garba, Shree Calcutta Gujarati Samaj is more popular with senior citizens and older Gujaratis. While they also have competitions, the dance here generally wraps up by 11pm.
The events will go on from September 26-30, 8.30pm to midnight, entry Rs 500 for five days.
Netaji Indoor Stadium
One of the largest spaces in the city, the celebrations here are more popular with the masses, with DJ and disco-dandiya rounds welcoming both garba-dandiya experts and novices. The parties have been known to go on till almost 4am.
This year, the 13th edition of Taaza Dandiya at the stadium will be held from October 2-4 8.30pm onwards every evening, The line-up features Keyur-Nayan Mehta and their troupe, as well as DJ Akash Rohra. Passes from Rs 700 per day.