Category Archives: Culture and dance heritage

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Do you know enough about Chaitra Navratri & Ramnavmi?

It certainly feels like winter has outstayed its visit. Take for instance our first ever crisp Holi or #Snoli…which, the GHS Preston celebrated grandly despite the icy floor. Thank you, to GHS Preston management committee for organising #Snoli2018! A Big thank you to the Hari-Bhakto/devotees, for embracing the chilly winds of the east and attending #PrestonSnoli.

 

But rest assured, the colorful fanfares and ringing bells have now commenced…..NavaDurga (Durga in nine forms) is here!

 

For Hinduism, the crisp spring welcomes celebration of Godess Durga for Chaitra Navratri (March-April).

 

As you know, the word “Navratri” is a conjunction of two words “nava” (meaning “nine”) and “ratri” (meaning “night”)..….but hang on a second…isn’t it abit early to get our Bangles, dangles and shimmery dresses out?

No! It certainly is not! Amongst the copious amounts of Easter eggs and the Easter bunnies we are also celebrating one of the most sacred festivals in Hinduism. Chaitra Navrati worships Goddess Durga or Shakti, which represents the feminine energy of the universe, in her 9 beautiful forms with great reverence.

 

That’s right, the main festival of Navratri occurs not once but twice every year!

 

The well-liked Ashwina Navratri falls in the month of Ashwina, (September – October). This one, is the most common and most popularly celebrated by the Hindus.

The other is named as Chaitra Navratri, observed in the month of Chaitra (March – April) not known to many.

 

Both Navratris occur during the interval of seasonal changes and the astronomical equinox. Throughout this period, our Durga Maa, (beautiful Mother-Nature), assumes a major change, shifting from one set of colours to another.

 

During both these Navratris, the length of the daytime is roughly equal to the length of the night-time, making it the perfect setting to embrace the festivities.

 

Chaitra Navratri is a lot quieter. Here, we crawl out of our winter cocoons and rejoice in the beauty of Spring, its fruits and colours.

 

In the UK, whilst the usual Navrati ‘dhoom-dham’ is not present at this time of year, being the quieter festival of the two, it gives us time to refresh, dust our minds and focus inward. A sort of spring-cleaning of the mind, ready for the festive season which will continue to roll forwards consecutively until the end of the year.

 

At the temple, there have been daily readings of the Ram-Charit Manas from 7pm – 9pm for the duration of the 9 days, which will conclude on Sunday with the epic birth of Shree Ram, Vishnus 7th Avatar, on Ramnavmi.

Ram + Charit (deeds or character) + Manas (Lake) =

  The Lake of Deeds of Ram

 

It is said by mentally visiting this auspicious ‘Manas’ ‘Lake’ rids one of sins and inspires good deeds to be taken by the reader. At the time of writing this blog, we are at the grand wedding of Princess Sita and Ram, Prince of Ayodhya.

 

Quietly, celebrating this epic wedding, whilst the stream of ancient words flow into the devotees ears, is a complete contrast to the celebrations that occur during Ashwina Navrati.

 

According to the Hindu Puranas and scriptures, Chaitra Navratri was the most important Navratri in which Goddess Shakti was worshipped, until Lord Rama worshipped Goddess Durga in the ‘Ashwin’ month during the Ramayana war.

 

Ashwin Navrati celebrates the homecoming of our Lord from exile…

 

But….

 

Chaitra Navarati celebrates the birth and appearance of our Dear Shree Ram.

 

On this holy occasion of Chaitra Navratri and Rama Navami, GHS Preston wishes the Blessings of Maa Durga and Shree Ram be with your and your family. May your heart and home be filled with happiness, peace and prosperity.

 

Jai Shree Ram

#Ramnavmi #ChaitraNavratri #GHSPreston #Preston

#BackpackAndChampals

 

Guest Author- Jagrutee Patel


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India’s Republic Day Celebration at Gujarat Hindu Society

On Friday 26th January about 50 people gathered in our main hall to salute the Indian Flag and sing some popular songs related to the flag and its colors. This is 43rd year we have raised the Indian Flag since we bought the center in 1975.

GHS has always been proud of its heritage and to celebrate, we had organized a Variety Cultural Show on Saturday 27th January 2018. We had invited the Mayor of Preston Cllr. Brian Rollo, MP Sir Mark Hendrick, and Chief Inspector Jonathan Clegg from Preston Police and Mrs. Linda Tompkins from UClan. The show was put together by our Manager Abhinandana and co-ordinated by our Activity Officer Shreya. The show was hosted by very able Jagruti & Dipesh Patel.

The evening started with prayers and lighting of lamps by the dignitaries. Ishwerbhai the President addressed the audience and asked the Mayor of Preston and other dignitaries to say a few words.

We started the evening with Shoka recitation by PurnaVidya group. Classical Dancing followed by a variety of different dances including a Ballet and Tap Dance by Sparkle Dance School.

Abhinandana Dance Academy presented a number of dances fusion between Classical and Bollywood, not forgetting Kuchipudi.

Our Balkunj team did us proud by getting youngsters to dance to My India song. They were so lively and so young and looked really cute. Karishma Parekh performed 2 super dances one classical Bharatnatyam and a Ghoomer Dance on popular Bollywood song.

Rakesh Ghodke And Jay Acharya gave tribute to soldiers by singing ‘Sandese aate hai’. Radhika Agarwal performed a Violin solo. Father and Son duo Mukund and Harshal Gosai did an instrumental item on Harmonium and synthesizer. GHS is very proud of all its members who put so much effort into bringing the show together.

The comments received from all the dignitaries were it was a mind-blowing show. On behalf of GHS management, I would like to express my sincere thank you to all the participants, trainers and our Manager Abhi & Shreya for once again putting on an excellent show. God bless you all and please continue to develop our young children. Well done everyone. Jai Hind. Bharat Mata ki Jai.


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Nritya Sangam : an Ode to Indian Dances

India is a land of traditions and cultures. She has preserved established traditions while absorbing new customs. Indian classical dance forms are one such element of her culture.
Natraj

Indian dance has diverse folk and classical dance forms. Bharatanatyam from Tamil Nadu, Kathak from Northern India, Kathakali & Mohiniyattam from Kerala, Kuchipudi from Andhra Pradesh, Odissi from Odisha, Sattriya from Assam, Manipuri, from Manipur, are some of the better known classical dance forms. These showcase mythological & local narrative forms.

 

On Sunday 16 July 2017, GHS in association with Abhinanadana Dance Academy celebrated the rich tradition of Indian Classical Dance forms.

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The graceful dance of North India ‘Kathak’ was performed by BBC Yonge Dancer finalist Ms. Vidya Patel.

Vidya comes from Birmingham, where she participated in classical Indian dance styles from an early age with the support of her parents and two older sisters Kathak is one of the most charismatic dance forms of India.

Her Kathak performances revolve around stories of Lord Krishna. She mesmerised the audience with her spectacular footwork and amazing spins.

Vidya

 

Another treat to the eyes was Kuchipudi Dance performance by Ms. Abhinandana Kodaanda. Kuchipudi Dance form is a long-established dance-drama style.

Abhinandana has played a major role in developing young people in Classical Dancing through her dance academy in Preston.

She performed a story of Lord Krishna’s childhood, as well as her ever popular Thali Dance. (Dancing on a metal plate). Her students also showcased their talent on the stage.

Abhi

 

The show was very well received and enjoyed by people of Preston, It was an overwhelming experience for the parents of young dancers to see their daughters flourish.

 

 

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This show was a testimony to GHS’ commitment to preserve traditions and introduce them to a global audience.