Women In Rajkot’s Ranjit Vilas Palace Play Garba With Swords; Here’s More About This ‘Talwar-Ras’

by Vaishalee Kalvankar
Women In Rajkot’s Ranjit Vilas Palace Play Garba With Swords; Here’s More About This ‘Talwar-Ras’

Navratri brings in a different zeal and happiness in the atmosphere with garba being played every evening. Each part of India has a very different way of celebrating each and every festival. Just like that, even Navratri is celebrated in different ways in different parts of this country. In Rajkot, women play garba with swords in their hands. Yes, you read that right! It’s an age-old tradition and here is more about it!

Women In Rajkot Play Garba With Swords

On the nine nights of Navaratri, girls typically play garba in the traditional manner. However, in Rajkot, people travel from far away to watch the girls play garba while brandishing swords.

It is a long-standing custom in which girls dress traditionally and dance to the sounds of garba. It’s different in Rajkot, though, where young females play raas garba inside the old Ranjit Vilas Palace while using swords.

Tuesday marked the third day of the Navratri celebration in Rajkot, Gujarat, and ladies there showed incredible energy as they performed “Garba” at Rajvi Palace on two-wheelers while brandishing swords.

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Art Of Swordplay

These Kshatriya females learn the skill of swordplay from the Kshatriya Mahila Mandal and Bhagini Seva Trust Foundation, and they perform it during Navratri. The Rajput girls represent conflict and sacrifice made by Rajputs in the past as they perform the garba raas while holding swords in both hands. 

For the past eight years, the girls have been playing the garba raas with swords in an attempt to bring back the steadily disappearing art of swordplay. Swords are used by the girls to worship Goddess Durga, representing bravery.

Although Rajkot has long hosted traditional garbas, the swordplay raas garba at Ranjit Vilas Palace is something special. (As per Connect Gujarat)

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All About Sword-Weilding Or Talwar Ras

Devotees honor Goddess Chandraghanta, the wedded form of Goddess Mahagauri, on the third day of Navratri. Her name, “Chandra-Ghanta,” means a half-moon with a bell-like shape. In Gujarat, ladies dressed in traditional “Rajputana” costumes participate in a unique Garba ceremony called “Talwar Ras,” or “sword-wielding,” as a way of honoring Goddess Durga.

Talwar Ras, according to Gujarati folklore experts, was developed as a tribute to Rajput warriors who lost their lives in the famous battle of Bhuchar Mori (July 18, 1591). In Gujarat, there are more forms of Ras. Several communities, including the Muslim Maldhari community, the warrior community, the agrarian community, and the seafaring community, conduct about six different forms of Ras.

Many Puranic texts, including the Bhagavad Purana, the Vishnu Purana, and the Harivamsa Purana, also describe Raas. Usually, 16–20 musicians and dancers perform within a predetermined framework. (As per India.com)

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Cover Image Courtesy: Rep Image: Gujarat Tourism

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