UNESCO Declares Garba as Intangible Heritage
UNESCO Declares Garba as Intangible Heritage

Ahmadabad: The traditional dance form of Gujarat, Garba, has been officially recognized as an Intangible Heritage by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). The announcement was made during the 18th session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, currently taking place in Kasane, Botswana.

Garba, a ritualistic and devotional dance, is performed during the Hindu festival of Navaratri. The dance revolves around a perforated earthenware pot lit with an oil lamp or an image of the mother goddess Amba. Dancers move in a counter-clockwise circle, using simple movements while singing and clapping in unison. The dance starts slowly and gradually builds up to a frenzied whirling.

UNESCO congratulated India on this inscription, acknowledging Garba's significance in cultural heritage. The practitioners and bearers of Garba include dancers, musicians, social groups, craftspeople, and religious figures involved in the festivities and preparations. The dance is transmitted across generations in both urban and rural areas through practice, performance, imitation, and observation.


Garba joins a list of other elements from India on UNESCO's Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, including the traditional brass and copper craft of utensil making of the Thatheras of Jandiala Guru in Punjab, the Nawrouz festival, the Kumbh Mela, the Durga Puja of Kolkata, Ramlila, and Vedic Chants.

In addition to Garba, other new inscriptions on UNESCO's Intangible Heritage List include the Rickshaws and rickshaw painting in Dhaka, Bangladesh; Jamu wellness culture of Indonesia, and Songkran in Thailand, the traditional Thai New Year festival. As of January 2022, a total of 14 Intangible Cultural Heritage elements are inscribed on UNESCO's list.

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