Legendary Jaykar Bhojak takes to the stage in Melbourne
Jaykar Bhojak’s Dandiya night, held recently at the Westside Indoor Sports Centre in Altona, was a riot of colour and fun. It was a special occasion as the audience gathered to hear a king of dandiya, and legendary singer, Jaykar Bhojak and his troupe.
The huge crowd dressed in colorful costumes and traditional outfits. The women looked gorgeous in their chaniya cholis while the men looked handsome in their kurta. It was as though a mini India had descended on the suburbs of Melbourne.
The event began with traditional prayer of Maa Durga, the ‘Durga Aarti’, asking for protection and blessings from the Goddess.
“Sarva Mangala Maangalye Shive Sarvartha Saadhike
Sharannye Triyambake Gauri Naraayani Namostute”
Jaykar bhai’s voice touched the hearts of all those present, and we felt transported to the streets of Ahmadabad. A mesmerising number “Mor Bani thangat kare” followed. This folksong set the stage on fire. It is now immensely popular – even with the non-Gujarati crowd – after it was used in the Bollywood blockbuster Ram Leela.
Jaykar Bhojak’s voice brought the warmth and affection alive with ‘Sanedo Sanedo’. This is a song that is most popular in the community from Navratri to weddings. It has always tugged at the hearts of both young and old, and this rendition ensured no one left the dance floor.
The crowd also enjoyed a variety of Indian vegetarian snacks and street food like pav bhaji, samosa, vada pav, dhokla, khichu, bhel and the special strong Gujarati masala tea to regain their energy and continue to dance the night away.
Around this time each year, many Indians celebrate Dussehra or Vijayadashami, one of the biggest Hindu festivals, to commemorate the victory of Lord Rama over Ravana and the slaying of demon Mahishasura by the Goddess Durga in order to protect her devotees.
The northern part of India celebrates Dussehra with the famous Ram Leela while the southern part follows the traditional Kolu or Golu. Eastern India brings on the festivities with Durga Puja while the western parts of India, begins the festivities with Navratri (nine nights of celebration).
Navratri is the biggest festival in the state of Gujarat and people celebrate it with great pomp and fervor. Devotees pray to the Goddess Durga for protection and prosperity and perform Dandiya and Garba – dancing in a cyclical fashion moving in spirals or circles.
The term Garba originates from the Sanskrit word ‘Garbha’, meaning ‘womb’. It signifies the ‘deep’ or the lamp. The rings of dancers symbolise the life cycle of the human body from birth to death and rebirth.
Another interpretation of this cyclic movement is the unison of the soul with the divine within the human body. People also believe that God resides within the soul and thus this dance form honors the unison of the human mind with the divine power of God.