Navratri is celebrated India-wide, but Gujarat has made it its own. This nine-night long festival celebrates the feminine divinity in the forms of the goddesses Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati – particularly Durga’s slaying of the demon Mahishasura. Celebrations centre on special shrines at junctions, marketplaces and, increasingly, large venues that can accommodate thousands.
People dress up in sparkling finery to whirl the night away in entrancing garba or dandiya rasa circle dances till the early hours. Celebrated in every town and village in Gujarat, Navratri is a festival where you may well find yourself joining in.
The night after Navratri is Dussehra, which celebrates the victory of Rama over Ravana, with more nocturnal dancing and fireworks, plus the burning of giant effigies of the defeated demon king.