Gujarat prepares for festival season starting with Janmashtami

Ahmedabad, June 12 (IANS)
Gujaratis are elated as after two years of subdued festivities due to the Covid pandemic, Janmashtami and Navratri celebrations will be held with fervour this time. However, rise in the number of Covid cases is marring their spirits, leaving them worried.
On Janmashtami observed in August, several public fun fairs are organised, especially in the Saurashtra region. For five days, scores of people from nearby villages throng the fairs.
Such fairs are organised by the city administration in every district of Saurashtra.
During the 10-day Navratri festival, people from all over Gujarat gather in large numbers till late at night and play Garaba.
Many industries, traders and artisans are associated with these festivals. Artisans with various merry-go-rounds, rides and products from various cities are the major attractions in the fairs. The Rajkot fair is one of the most popular fairs in Saurashtra.
Navratri also has a great impact on the clothing and beverage industry.
Rajkot Additional District Magistrate K.D. Thacker said that the planning for the fair this year has got the approval of the collector and various committees have been formed for this purpose.
Notice for public auction of recreational elements, including various stalls and rides, will be issued in the newspapers shortly. The applicants will be selected by draw, he said.
“We have an action plan in place for the Covid situation so that the public can safely enjoy the fair. Police officers have been asked to take care of law and order, CCTV cameras, traffic, parking and emergency helpline numbers at the fair. The municipal corporation has been asked to monitor fire safety, health facilities and food quality checks,” he added.
According to an estimate, about one million people come to Rajkot during this fair. More than 150 stores, rides and other stalls are set up and the fair runs 24 hours a day for five days.
Keeping in mind the Navratri festival, the business of traditional clothing has started in earnest.
Navratri celebrations were marred for the past two years due to the pandemic, which affected the traders involved in the traditional clothing business.
However, with four months left for Navratri this year, orders for traditional clothes have already started pouring in, not only from Gujarat but also from other states and abroad.
According to the traders, traditional clothing is in high demand during the festival, and this year the artisans are being forced to work overtime in view of the demand for traditional clothing. About 100 to 150 sets are being prepared daily.
Even music bands and singers have started their bookings. The United Way of Baroda, the most popular Garba of Gujarat and the biggest Garba of Baroda, has got permission to use the ground that belongs to the royal family of Baroda.
Chirag Patel, who is known for making customised and professional ‘chania choli’, said, “In the past, after June-July, we used to stop taking orders and people used to pay up to Rs 70,000 for a dress. Corona cases have also been on the rise for the past few days and the Nupur Sharma controversy is affecting the mindset of the people. Now everyone is scared, so everyone wants us to make simple chania cholis. We are ready to work with orders as before, as no big orders were received in the last two years.”
The Navratri and Rakshabandhan festivals are likely to have an estimated market of Rs 10,000 crore in Gujarat. In 2021, the market was Rs 2000-3,000 crore.

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