UNESCO's Recognition of GARBA as an Indian Cultural Heritage

UNESCO's Recognition of GARBA as an Indian Cultural Heritage

Application: Prelims , GS-1

Garba - Gujarat's Folk Dance:

Recently Included in UNESCO's Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage.


  • Origin and Location: Garba is a traditional dance form originating from the state of Gujarat in India. It is deeply rooted in Gujarati culture and heritage.

  • Association with Navratri: Primarily associated with the Navratri festival, a nine-night festival celebrating the Hindu goddess Durga. Garba is performed extensively during this festival.

  • Religious Significance: The dance is a form of worship and devotion to the goddess. 'Garba' is derived from the Sanskrit term 'Garbha' meaning womb, symbolizing the notion of the goddess as the universal womb.

  • Dance Style: It is characterized by rhythmic steps, clapping, and circular movements. Dancers move in a circle around a central lit lamp or an image/statue of the goddess.

  • Music and Instruments: Accompanied by traditional Gujarati music, which often includes live instruments like dhol (drums), harmonium, and flute. Songs are typically in Gujarati language, praising the goddess and celebrating life.

  • Costumes and Accessories: Participants wear colorful, often mirror-work adorned traditional dresses. Women wear 'Chaniya Choli' (a three-piece outfit with a flared skirt, blouse, and a dupatta) and men wear 'Kediyu' (a type of kurta) and 'Dhoti' or 'Pajama'.

  • Jewelry: Dancers adorn themselves with vibrant jewelry, including bangles, necklaces, earrings, and often bindis on the forehead.

  • Popular Variants: There are several variants of Garba, such as 'Dodhiyu', 'Tran Taali', 'Heech', etc., each with unique steps and rhythms.

  • Social Aspect: It is a community dance, encouraging participation from all ages and genders. It fosters a sense of community and unity.

  • Global Presence: With the Gujarati diaspora, Garba has gained popularity worldwide, celebrated in many countries where Indian communities reside.

  • Modern Influence: Contemporary Garba incorporates elements from various dance forms and modern music, making it appealing to the younger generation.

  • Cultural Significance: Beyond a dance form, Garba is a cultural symbol representing the vibrancy, tradition, and spirit of the Gujarati community.

Other Recognized Elements from India :

1. Ramlila: Traditional enactment of the Ramayana .

2. Yoga: Ancient practice promoting physical and mental well-being .

3. Vedic Chanting: Preservation of ancient Vedic traditions through chanting .

4. Kutiyattam - Sanskrit Theatre of Kerala: Unique form of Sanskrit drama .

5. Ramman - Religious Festival of Garhwal Himalayas: Ritual theatre and festival celebration .

6. Mudiyettu - Ritual Theatre of Kerala: Blend of ritual theatre and dance drama .

7. Kalbelia - Folk Songs and Dances of Rajasthan: Traditional dance form reflecting Rajasthani culture .

8. Chhau Dance of Eastern India: Distinctive masked dance with martial, tribal, and folk roots .

9. Buddhist Chanting of Ladakh: Ritualistic chanting from the region's Buddhist traditions .

10. Sankirtana - Ritual Singing, Drumming, and Dancing of Manipur: Traditional performing art with religious significance .

11. Traditional Brass and Copper Craft of Utensil Making in Punjab: Artisanal craft showcasing Punjab's cultural heritage .

12. Nawrouz: Persian New Year celebration .

13. Kumbh Mela: Massive Hindu pilgrimage and festival .

14. Durga Puja in Kolkata: Grand celebration of Goddess Durga in Kolkata .

India's rich cultural tapestry recognized globally by UNESCO!

Advait IAS